Deciding whether to proceed with assessment


The local authority will look at the information provided by you and the setting, and consider whether to carry out an EHC needs assessment.

In deciding whether to assess, the local authority may develop their own criteria to help them decide however, they must take into account a wide range of evidence outlined in the SEND Code of Practice (9.14) including:

  • academic attainment and rate of progress 
  • the nature and extent of SEN
  • the action already being taken by the setting
  • that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of intervention and support over and above what is usually provided
  • physical, emotional and social development and health needs, and what has been done to meet these
  • where a young person is aged over 18, the local authority must consider whether the young person requires additional time, in comparison to the majority of others of the same age who do not have special educational needs, to complete their education or training. 

Within 6 weeks of the initial request, the local authority must let you know their decision. 


The Children & Families Act 2014 says:

"The local authority must secure an EHC needs assessment for the child or young person if, after having regard to any views expressed and evidence submitted under subsection (7), the authority is of the opinion that:

(a) the child or young person has or may have special educational needs, and

(b) it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan." (36.8)


Refusal to assess

Where they have decided an EHC needs assessment is not necessary, they must tell you why and include the following information :

  • your right of appeal
  • independent disagreement resolution and mediation
  • how to get further information, advice or support

As this can be a difficult time for you as a parent concerned about the progress and support for your child, it's important to fully understand why the local authority reached this decision.

Read our information leaflet 'Refusal to assess', which has some useful tips and advice to guide you.


The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:

"The local authority must give its reasons for this decision where it decides not to proceed." (9.17)

Decision to carry out an EHC needs assessment

Where the local authority decides to carry out an assessment, they will let you know in writing. Click the button to see what happens next...

Go to next step in the EHC processs