What happens during an education, health and care needs assessment
The education health and care (EHC) needs assessment process can take up to 20 weeks.
An assessment does not always lead to an EHC plan but it will provide more information about your child or young person's needs and the support needed to meet their needs.
If you are moving into Kent with an EHC plan follow this guidance.
Who can request an EHC needs assessment
As we require evidence to support the EHC needs assessment, we ask that your education setting completes the request.
However, parents, young people aged over 16 and any other health professional can request an assessment if they choose to.
The EHC needs assessment process
The EHC needs assessment process is split into 3 time periods within 16 weeks of the request.
Please read the following information carefully to understand the process before requesting an EHC needs assessment.
Or download a summarised version of the process (PDF, 94.3 KB).
During the first 6 weeks we'll contact you to tell you the name of your assessment officer. We will also:
- ask you to complete a form with your views about your child's needs, including:
- what is working and what isn't
- your hopes and aspirations for them.
- inform you whether or not we believe an EHC Needs Assessment is necessary and set out the next steps.
The decision process
We must make a decision whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, and will make contact within 6 weeks to confirm our decision as outlined in the SEND code of practice 2015 (page 154 - section 9).
We will notify:
- you (the parent) or the young person
- the health and social service
- your child or young person's education setting.
During this time, we will take into account a wide range of evidence.
The decision outcome
If we agree to start the process of an EHC needs assessment, this will be approximately 6 weeks after you made your request. Within a week of our decision to start the process, a Health Co-ordinator (HCO) may contact you directly.
A HCO will contact you if the applying child or young person:
- has an immediate relative serving, or has previously served, in the armed forces
- is assigned under the Community Healthcare team (CHC)
- is open to Portage
- is receiving specialist input from London Hospitals (such as Evelina)
- is educated at home
- is a Looked After Child (LAC)
- is 19 to 25 years old.
If you do not agree with our decision you have the right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
We will ask for advice and information about your child or young person's needs, the support required to meet their needs and the outcomes they should be working towards. We will get this from:
- you (the parent) or young person (aged 16 to 25)
- the education setting
- health care professionals working or supporting the child or young person
- an educational psychologist
- social care
- youth offending team if a young person is detained
- any person requested by you 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 within 6 weeks of us requesting it and more quickly wherever possible.
A Health Co-ordinator may contact you to discuss your child's health history. This discussion helps us to seek advice from the relevant health professionals that understand your child's needs.
If we decide to issue an EHC plan, we will notify you and young person and other parties, who were notified of our decision to consider whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary.
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 you, 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.
Throughout the stages, you will be contacted by a number of our teams and partners to make sure we have as much information about your child or young person as possible.
Find out who will be in contact with you and what they do.
Information needed for an EHC needs assessment
To request an EHC needs assessment, you or your education setting will need to gather detailed information about your child or young person. Please keep in mind the request form is quite long and can take over 1 hour to complete.
Please read the following information carefully.
We will need:
- your name, address and contact details
- your child or young person's information (name, address, date of birth, education setting name)
- your reason for requesting an EHC needs assessment
- information about family life and living situations
- information about your child or young person's behaviour and emotions
- information about what your child or young person's likes and dislikes.
The views and opinions of children, young people and their families are important to us, as outlined in our transition charter and co-production charter. We want your voices to be heard.
Evidence of any:
- actions taken to meet your child or young person's special educational needs. This will include evidence of involvement from an outside agency professionals, including educational psychologists and specialist teachers
- circumstances where the education setting has not been able to follow the graduated approach cycles of ‘assess, plan, do, review’
- meetings they have had with you
- physical, emotional, health and social impacts on your child or young person's education and learning
- reasonable adjustments put in place to enable your child or young person to access the curriculum and the physical environment
- strategies and/or interventions that have been implemented, and given time to work and be evaluated.
Reports of your child or young person's:
- progress in reading, writing, communication and numeracy, as a result of the additional support
- learning difficulties when using their home language, if English is not their first or main language.
We may need additional information about:
- any social care support your child or young person is receiving
- evidence of actions already taken to meet your child or young person’s special educational needs. This will include evidence of involvement from an outside agency professionals, including:
- speech and language therapists
- occupational therapists
- medical professionals
- names of doctors who diagnosed any conditions and the year of diagnosis.
When taking into consideration whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, we will look at the evidence provided in the request.
We will also consider whether the education setting has provided enough evidence that they have:
- been given clear information about how the SEN budget will be used to support your child or young person's needs
- confirmed if your child or young person's needs are greater than the funding delegated to them
- despite the delegated funding and support given, your child or young person has not made adequate progress
- reviewed your child or young person's progress over time
- sought advice from external professionals and responded by developing support maps.
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.
The four criteria questions we use, for whether to assess, follow the criteria from paragraph 9.14 of the SEND Code of Practice 2015.
Criteria question 1
Is the child or young person’s academic performance (or developmental milestones) below the expected range when looked at against peers born in the same school term as them?
Criteria question 2
Has the child or young person either:
- not made the expected progress, or
- only made the expected progress as a result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which can usually be provided outside of an education, health and care (EHC) plan?
Criteria question 3
Are we (the local authority) of the opinion that the child or young person has or may have special educational needs which may require the support of an EHC plan?
Criteria question 4
Has the education setting taken relevant action to identify, assess and meet the child or young person’s special educational needs, including making full use of its set funds and additional spending above this level?
If the answer to all four questions is yes, we will assess your child or young person's EHC needs assessment.
If any of the above criteria are not met, we will ask whether there is evidence of other circumstances which mean the child or young person should be assessed?
We would usually only assess if there are special circumstances that justify this.
The criteria questions we use, for whether to issue an education, health and care (EHC) plan, clearly follow the criteria from paragraph 9.54 to 9.56 of the SEND Code of Practice 2015:
Criteria question 1
Has the EHC needs assessment confirmed the information available on the nature and extent of the child or young person’s special educational needs before the EHCNA and was the special educational provision made before the EHC needs assessment well matched to these needs?
If the answer is "yes", we move on to criteria question 2.
If the answer is "no", we then ask:
Are there circumstances which mean the education setting could not have been expected to have done this, for example:
- the circumstances have changed significantly or,
- the child or young person has only recently been placed in the setting or,
- their special educational needs were only identified shortly before the EHC needs assessment.
If the answer is "yes", we move on to criteria question 2.
If the answer is "no", the education setting should take relevant action to identify, assess and meet the child or young person’s special educational needs. This includes making full use of its set funds and additional spending above this level.
Until this happens it will not be possible to judge whether an EHC plan may be required. A request for a future EHC needs assessment will not be considered for at least 6 months, except in exceptional circumstances.
Criteria question 2
Is the provision required to meet the child or young person’s special educational needs 'over and above' what can reasonably be provided from within the resources normally available to mainstream early years providers, schools and post-16 settings?
If the answer is "yes" to question 2, we will issue an EHC plan.
If the answer is "no" to question 2, we will not issue an EHC plan.
Unless there are exceptional circumstances which would require us to make special educational provision in accordance with an EHC plan.
Where the criteria are met and we intend to proceed with an assessment or issuing an EHC plan these decisions will generally be checked an approved by an Assessment Team Manager.
Where the criteria are not met the decision will be made within a panel. These panels are made up of a range of professionals to ensure that the criteria have been properly applied and that any special circumstances for the child have been taken into account.
Request an EHC needs assessment
To request an EHC needs assessment, you must create an account (unless you already have one). This will allow you to save your form and come back to it later if you need to. To set up your account you must:
- provide an email address
- create a password
- verify your account by clicking a link sent to your inbox.
If you need support completing your request contact:
- the SENCO at your child's education
- Information, Advice and Support Kent (IASK) who can offer you telephone advice.
Request an EHC needs assessment
EHC needs reassessment
A review of your child or young person’s EHC plan every year is a good way to check their progress but sometimes that will not be enough. If your child or young person’s educational or health needs, or situation, change a lot they may need to have a statutory reassessment of their needs. This means having a new EHC needs assessment.
We may carry out a reassessment if you, your young person aged 16 to 25, or their education setting ask for one, as long as:
- it has been more than 6 months since the last EHC needs assessment was done
- we decide or agree a further EHC needs assessment is needed.
We may also carry out a reassessment at any other time if we think it is necessary.
When you ask us for a reassessment, we must tell you if we will reassess or not within 15 calendar days. If we decide not to reassess, you have the right to appeal that decision and to go to mediation or tribunal.
The process for a reassessment is the same as for an EHC needs assessment. The law says that a reassessment must take no more than 14 weeks from when the decision is made to reassess, to when a final EHC plan is issued.