The needs of the majority of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities are met by the local mainstream school, school or college. However, for those with complex needs that cannot be met through the support of their school or college, an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment may be required.
Information on how the system for supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities is changing and what the new EHC assessment process and plan looks like can be found atCode of Conduct for Special Educational Needs and Disabilitiesand theSEND Guide for Parents and Carers.
There are alsoGuide for young peoplepublished by the Council for Disabled Children.EHCP Journeys - Parent Stories and Feedback
Who can request an assessment?
Parents/carers, young people over the age of 16, early childhood settings, schools, colleges and any professional working with a child or young person can request an EHC needs assessment.
How long does the assessment take?
Statutory deadlines apply to all municipalities. The process from requesting an assessment to issuance of an EHC plan can take up to 20 weeks.
How are requests considered?
All assessment requests are processed by the Statutory Assessment Team (SAT).
Once a request for an assessment is received by the Statutory Assessment Team, the following people will be notified that the local authority is considering conducting the assessment. The local authority will request the submission of additional information:
- parents or caregivers
- Adolescents aged 16 and over
- EY recruitment manager
- The school head (or equivalent head) of the educational institution or the director of the FE college/institution
- SEND service (0-25 years)
- The Health Service
- Social care team responsible for services for C/YP with disabilities
By week 6, a decision will be made as to whether an EHC needs assessment should be performed. This decision is made by the local authority after discussion with the EHC Needs Assessment Board, which acts as an advisory body.
If an assessment is agreed
The Statutory Assessment Team will notify the parents or young people and other professionals involved, asking for advice and further information.
If an assessment is not agreed
The statutory assessment team will notify the parent or young person and tell them the reason for the local authority's decision. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal to the arbitral tribunal or contact SENDIASS within two months from the date of the LA decision or one month after receipt of a certificate of arbitration, whichever is later . You must contact the mediator advisor within 2 months of the LA decision.
Independent support for EHCP assessments
Commissioning of independent specialists
Parent carers are free to engage independent specialists to assist in an assessment. This is consistent with the SEND Code of Conduct. We accept and consider the advice of any qualified professional assisting in the holistic and comprehensive assessment or review of the SEND requirement for an EHCP.
Parent carers pay the full cost of independent professionals. We will not fund any independent reports or assessments unless we have given written consent to do so before work begins.
If an assessment is not agreed
The statutory assessment team will notify the parent or young person and tell them the reason for the local authority's decision.
If an assessment is agreed
The statutory assessment team notifies the parents or young people and other professionals involved. Your case will be assigned to a Legal Assessment Officer who will assist you and your child through the assessment process. You will also be asked for more information and your opinion on your child's needs. The Statutory Assessment Team (SAT) also collects views, information and advice from your child's school or college and from people who have worked with and supported them, including an educational psychologist. The local authority allows a period of 6 weeks to receive this advice.
Once the additional advice is receivedA post-assessment meeting may be held. This is led by the Legal Assessment Officer and usually takes place at the school or institution the child attends, together with counselors and parents/carers. At this meeting, the completed assessments, your and your child's opinions, your child's Special Educational Needs (SEN), the desired outcomes, and the actions needed to meet the identified needs will be considered.
Until week 16The local authority reviews the information gathered as part of the assessment process and makes a decision as to whether or not an EHC plan is required. When the local authority approves an EHC plan, a proposed plan is presented to the parents/carers and the school/institution.
An EHC needs assessment does not always result in an EHC plan. In some cases, the evidence gathered during the process leads to the conclusion that the child/young person does not need an EHC plan and that his/her needs can be met with the resources available and identified at school and locally a local offer from the authority and therefore does not require that the provision be made according to an EHC plan. The information gathered during the assessment should be used to identify ways the school, college or other provider can meet the needs of the child or young person without an EHC plan.
The Education, Health and Care Plan
Once the proposed EHC plan has been submitted to the parents/carers and school/institution, you have 15 days to send any requested changes or questions regarding the EHC plan to the statutory assessment caseworker. Parents/carers and young people are also asked to indicate their preference for an educational institution and also have the opportunity to request a personal budget.
The proposed EHC plan and any parent's views or requests will be considered by the local authority. At this point, the local authority will also consider the resources needed to deliver the deployment outlined in the EHC plan.
By week 20, the EHC plan will be finalized and distributed to parents/carers/youth and school/institution. In the final EHCP, the educational environment/type of education and the agreed resources are named.
Throughout the process, the Legal Evaluation Officer will keep the parents/carers updated on the progress of the EHC plan and any exceptional circumstances that may cause delays.
Provision and verification of EHCPs
Provision and verification of EHCPs
Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans must be reviewed at least annually (every 12 months). The deadlines for the review depend on the circumstances of each individual child/young person. However, each child's EHC plan must be reviewed at least annually, beginning within 12 months of completion of the EHC plan and then within 12 months of a previous review.
The APDR (Assessment, Plan, Do, Review) approach should be continued even after an EHCP is created to ensure your child continues to make progress.
Your child's or young person's facility or school should invite you to a meeting three times a year to review your child's or young person's progress. One of these meetings will be the annual review.
year in review
For children and adolescents 5 years and older, EHCPs must be reviewed at least annually (every 12 months), beginning within 12 months of completion of the EHC plan and then within 12 months of a previous review.
For children under 5 years of age, their EHCPs must be reviewed at least every 6 months - starting within 6 months of completing the EHC plan and then within 6 months of a previous review (up to age 5).
The above requirements are minimum requirements. More regular review may be required depending on the circumstances. for example, when their special educational needs change significantly or there are concerns about placement and/or delivery.
Typically, annual reviews are organized by your child's educational institution. Parents and the child/adolescent as well as professionals who know the child/adolescent are always invited to the meeting. The invitee must be informed of the date of the meeting at least two weeks in advance and be given all the information that will be discussed at the meeting(There are situations when the meeting needs to be called urgently and it may not be possible.)
You and your child are encouraged to participate in the review and encouraged to talk about how you think the year went by. Your child will be asked to attend the meeting in person, but they may choose not to. They should then be assisted by a member of staff prior to the meeting to ensure their views are obtained and remain the focus of discussions.
The review focuses on:
- The progress your child is making toward the outcomes set out in their EHC plan, as well as their interests and desires, including whether new needs or outcomes have emerged.
- Review the provisions outlined in the EHC plan to ensure they are still appropriate and support your child in working towards achieving their outcomes
- Consider whether changes are needed to the EHC plan, including outcomes, delivery and educational framework, in light of progress and/or changes in circumstances over the past year. This could also include a discussion of the continued need for an EHC plan.
- Intermediate goals for the coming year should also be agreed at the meeting.
After the meeting, the chair (usually the SENCo) prepares a report of the discussions and distributes it to all participants or those who provided information. This will be submitted to the local authority within 2 weeks. The local authority reviews the report along with your child's EHC plan. The local authority must notify you of its decision within four weeks of the meeting.
The decision can be:
- Keep the EHCP as is (no changes)
- change the EHC plan
- Discontinue the EHC plan when it appears that its implementation is no longer necessary
In some cases, further consideration may be required by the Board of Local Authorities before a decision can be made on whether to maintain, amend or discontinue the EHCP in its current form.
In the meantime, if you are unhappy with a decision, you can discuss it with your SEN manager. You can also seek independent and impartial adviceCambridgeshire's SEND information, advice and support service.
- SEND Information, Advice and Assistance Service (SENDIASS)
- Conflict resolution and mediation
- Education (5-16 years)
- Education and training (16-25 years)
- Home Education Elective
- early childhood education and child care
- preparation for adult life