Requesting an EHC needs assessment
Most children and young people with special educational needs will have these met through extra support provided by the education setting. This is known as SEN Support and can include a wide range of provision and interventions.
Read more about SEN Support
However, if the educational setting has exhausted all the possible support options and your child or young person is still not making expected progress, or where the setting is not sure how to support your child, it might be appropriate to request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment (the first stage in getting an EHC plan).
Talk to the SENCO in school (or to student/learning support for a college or the keyworker in nursery) about the support in place, your child/young person’s rate of progress and what their plan for next steps might be.
When considering a request, the local authority will expect to see evidence of any progress that has been made, and that the setting have done everything they can to help your child or young person.
If your child is not yet attending or finding it difficult to attend nursery, school or college due to their special educational needs, requesting an EHC needs assessment could be an appropriate option to plan next steps.
The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:
“In considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, the local authority should consider whether there is evidence that despite the early years provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress.” (9.14)
To begin the Education, Health and Care Plan process, a request for assessment has to be made to the local authority.
Usually this request will be made by the setting, though as a parent/carer you have the right to make a request directly with the local authority.
We would recommend you let the setting know if you decide to make a direct request, as they will be contacted by the local authority to provide some information.
Watch our short video above.
How to contact the local authority to make a parental request
Family Services Team contact details:
The Lowestoft & Waveney team can be contacted 01502 674721 or by email to SENTeamNorth@suffolk.gcsx.gov.uk
The Ipswich team can be contacted on these numbers:
- Suffolk Coastal - 01473 265158
- Ipswich North & East - 01473 265158
- Ipswich South & West - 01473 263974
- South Suffolk - 01473 265199
Or by emailing: SENTeamSouth@suffolk.gcsx.gov.uk
The Bury team can be contacted on these numbers:
- West Suffolk - 01284 758431
- Bury St Edmunds and Central Suffolk - 01284 758809
Or by emailing: SENTeamWest@suffolk.gcsx.gov.uk
An Independent Supporter can help you to make a request for an EHC needs assessment, and will also support with filling in the relevant forms.
Once the local authority receives a request they will send to you a ‘Views Form’ for you to complete and return, including your child's views, within 15 calendar days.
The team will also be requesting information from your child's educational setting. You will be asked to sign the paperwork before the educational setting sends this to the local authority. You can take the paperwork away with you, to give you time to read through prior to signing.
The local authority must decide whether to proceed with an assessment and let you know within six weeks. They will always contact you as a parent or young person – even where the request was made by the school or college.