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How to apply for an EHCP assessment

How to apply for an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)? 

Educational settings are responsible for providing support for children with SEND, if the educational setting has gradually increased the amount of support being put in place and carrying out regular reviews to see if progress is being made and can demonstrate that further support is needed – this is called the graduated approach (See page about Support in Schools) then they, the parent/carer or the young person if over 16 can apply for an EHCP. 

The parent/carer or young person’s application form can be found at the bottom of this page. 

A request for an EHC (Education, Health and Care) assessment needs to show that the educational setting has identified your child’s needs and then provided support which is relevant to their needs and which has a clear outcome, they also need to demonstrate that despite this support the young person has not made expected progress

The request needs to include things like a reviewed My Support Planlearning levels, what progress has been, other professionals reports and any other information which is about your child’s additional or special needs.  The following flow chart may help explain the process in an easier way. 

The request for assessment needs to be sent to the special needs department in the council which is called SENDACT (Special needs & disabilities assessment & commissioning team). As soon as the application is received, a letter will be sent to you to say they have received the request.

The request will then be looked at by a Decision to Assess group (see below) who will make a decision to carry out an EHC assessment or not, this decision will be made and we will inform whomever applied for the assessment within 6 weeks of SENDACT first receiving your request for assessment.

The application form for parents, carers or young people to apply can be downloaded here (this will download a Word document size 50kb)

The Decision to Assess group is made up of a range of professionals from schools, educational psychology, health, social care and SENDACT.  They look at the information that has been submitted for a child or young person and decide whether an EHC assessment needs to be carried out or whether the school should continue to provide support through the graduated approach. 

When deciding whether or not to carry out an EHC assessment, the Decision to Assess group will consider two things (this is called the Legal Test): 

  1. Whether the information provided shows that the child or young person has or may have special educational needs 
  2. Whether the information provided shows that it may be necessary for additional support to be provided for the child or young person above what would be normally available in school.   

They will also consider the following: 

  • Has the educational setting identified the young person’s needs and then provided support which is relevant to these needs and which has a clear outcome? 
  • Have learning levels and rates of progress been provided? 
  • Have they included relevant reports from other professionals? 

If they agree that carry out an EHC assessment they will say which professionals need to carry out an assessment of the child or young person, this is usually an Educational Psychologist but can also include Speech and Language Therapists (SALT) or other health colleagues.  They can also ask Social Care to carry out an assessment if it is thought that they need to. 

This assessment will look at all of the young persons additional needs and what support they need in order to make progress, these assessments can sometimes identify specific learning needs if these have not been identified yet. 

If it is agreed to carry out an EHC needs assessment, this does not guarantee that an EHCP will be issued.  In some cases, an EHC assessment is agreed but the assessment shows that the child or young person does not need the additional support (and funding) that an EHCP brings.  It may be that the assessment shows that the child or young person can be supported by a school or setting without additional funding.

This is an agreement to assess the child or young person and if this reveals that they do need additional support from and EHCP, then a plan will be issued.

If they feel that an assessment is not to be carried out at this time then they will clearly state the reasons why in a letter they will send to you. 

SENDACT will let you know what their decision is within 6 weeks of the application being sent in. 

How do I get to know the outcome of Decision to Assess group? 

Everything that is discussed at the Decision to Assess group is written down (called minutes) and the individual decisions are sent out around a week after the group has taken place stating whether the Decision to Assess group has agreed to the request for an EHC assessment or not.  The decision will always be sent out in writing to you however we are always happy to discuss the decision with you over the phone. 

How long does the whole process take? 

The process for getting an EHCP takes 20 weeks, the process and all the steps involved in a request for assessment are highlighted in the image below - you can click on the image to open a clearer PDF version in a new window.

When a decision not to carry out an EHC assessment has been made, we will always write to you with the reasons why.  This may include some feedback around the information in the request and what to include if another application for an EHC assessment is made.   

If you or the educational setting send in further information that SENDACT require within eight weeks of the letter being sent, then they will reconsider the original request alongside the new information. 

Another option is that we can go through a process called Mediation which is a conversation with parents, the council and other professionals to discuss the disagreement and try to solve it.  This is run by another professional called a mediator who helps to keep the conversation on track.    The council will not agree to carry out an assessment during mediation, but if following mediation they feel that an EHC assessment should be carried out, the request will go back to the Decision to Assess group, along with a recommendation to carry assessment from the council representative as well as any new information that has been gathered.  The Decision to Assess group will consider this and make a decision. 

If mediation does not help, then an appeal can be made to the tribunal.  This is more formal process where the case is presented to a tribunal judge to make a decision, however the council will work hard to reach an agreement before it gets to the point of needing the judge to make a decision. 

Details of how to appeal a decision will be in the letter that the Local Authority send to you informing you of the Decision to Assess groups decision.

Last updated: 29/09/2020