What happens during a needs assessment

Once you have requested a education health and care (EHC) needs assessment the process can take up to 20 weeks.  An assessment does not always lead to an EHC plan but will provide more information about your child’s needs and the support needed to meet their needs.

If you require assistance throughout the EHC needs assessment, you can contact Information, Advice and Support Kent who offer confidential and impartial information, advice and support to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and their parents.

Stages of the assessment process

The request for an EHC needs assessment can be made by:

  • a school or education setting
  • by a parent
  • by a young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25.

In addition, anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN to the attention of the local authority, particularly where they think an EHC needs assessment may be necessary.

Within 6 weeks of the request

We will tell you the name of your assessment and placement officer and ask you to complete a form with your views about your child’s needs, what is working well for them and what needs to be better. We will ask you about your hopes and aspirations for your child as they get older.

Following a request for an EHC needs assessment, we must decide whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary. We must make a decision and communicate this to the child’s parent or to the young person within 6 weeks of receiving the request.

When we are considering whether an EHC needs assessment is needed we will notify:

  • the child’s parent or the young person
  • the health service
  • social care
  • the child or young person's early years setting, school or post 16 provider.

We should consider whether the education provider has taken appropriate action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, and whether they have not made expected progress. We will need to take into account a wide range of evidence including:

  • evidence of the child or young person’s academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress
  • information about the child's SEN
  • evidence of action already taken by your child's education setting
  • evidence that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided
  • evidence of the child or young person’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs
  • where a young person is aged over 18, we 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. Whether they can complete their education training, if it will help them to achieve their education training outcomes, building on what they have learnt before and preparing them for adulthood.

We will use this information to decide if we will carry out an EHC needs assessment and tell you our decision within 6 weeks of receiving the request. For more information read the SEND code of practice 2015 (page 154 - section 9)

If you don’t agree with our decision you have the right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

If we decide to carry out a needs assessment, we will move onto the next stages.

Within 16 weeks of the request

We will ask for advice and information about your child’s needs, the provision required to meet their needs and the outcomes they should be working towards. We will get this from:

  • the parent or young person (aged 16 to 25)
  • the education setting
  • health care professionals working or supporting the child or young person
  • educational psychologist
  • social care
  • youth offending team if a young person is attained
  • any person requested by the parent or young person where we agree that it is reasonable to do so
  • any other advice and information that we may consider appropriate.

This advice and information must be provided to us within 6 weeks of us requesting it and more quickly wherever possible.

By 16 weeks of the request

If we decide to issue an EHC plan, we will notify the child's parent and young person giving the reason for our decision. We will allow enough time to prepare the draft plan and issue the final plan within the 20 week time limit.

If we decide not to issue an EHC plan, we will notify the child's parent, the young person, the education setting they attend and the health service giving the reason for our decision.

If you disagree with our decision you have the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.