Requesting an EHC Needs Assessment?
Local authorities (LAs) in the UK have a duty to at least consider performing an assessment on a child’s educational, health and social care needs upon request, regardless of whether that child’s SENs have been predetermined or not.
The formal name for such assessment is an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Assessment. You may also see or hear it referred to as a “statutory assessment” in accordance with the Children and Families Act of 2014.
This assessment may or may not grant that child additional support in the form of an Education, Health and Care Plan.
[Note. In some cases, a request for assessment may be turned down by the LA; for a further explanation or the reasons for rejections and guidelines on the process of appealing assessment rejections, please refer to SenExpert’s “Appeals” section.]
Who can apply for an EHC Needs Assessment?
A school, parent, guardian or social worker can apply for an EHC Needs Assessment on behalf of a child or young person who potentially requires further SEN support and assistance. In addition, a young person can also apply on their own behalf.
That said, it is worth noting that most children with SEN do not actually require EHC Needs Assessments because most schools and colleges in England and across the UK already provide a sufficient level of SEN support through mainstream education, such as specialised teachers, facilities and classes.
Assessments are generally performed for those students with difficult-to-manage educational needs, particularly in cases where parents are worried about their child’s progress and performance at school.
What are the timescales involved in the EHC Needs Assessment process?
- From the date on which an EHC Needs Assessment request is submitted to a local authority, a decision as to whether the assessment will be performed should be provided within six weeks.
- If the LA agrees to undertake an EHC Needs Assessment, a decision about whether or not to issue an EHCP must be made within 16 weeks of receiving the original request.
- In total the entire assessment process can take up to 20 weeks to be completed.