Requesting an EHC needs assessment
Should I speak to the school or college first?
Yes, definitely. Speak to your child's teacher, SENCO and/or the headteacher, or to the SEN lead and/or principal of the College about your worries before contacting the local authority. This often helps families to understand the level of support already in place and what other steps can be taken prior to requesting an EHC needs assessment. To support you, we have an EHC guidance and checklist form that you should use to aid this discussion; this is available via Nottinghamshire's Local Offer www.nottinghamshire.sendlocaloffer.org.uk. We would be asking the education setting to upload this completed checklist if you make a request for an EHC needs assessment.
What if the school or college offers to make the request on my behalf?
Anyone acting on behalf of an education setting is able to request an EHC needs assessment. They are often best placed to make the request as they will need to provide the local authority with specific information.
When should I request an EHC needs assessment?
Whenever a child or young person has a learning difficulty or a disability which is holding them back at school or college they should have access to support. If the parents of the child or the young person (or the young person themselves) believe that the school or college is not able to provide the necessary help at SEN Support, they can consider asking for an EHC needs assessment.
SEN Support (i.e. an EHCP is not necessary) includes:
- Sharing of expertise within the education setting, led by the SENCO or SEN lead
- Training for staff
- Funding for schools, place funding (up to £6000), 'Additional Family Needs' or 'High Level Needs' funding
- Funding for colleges, Element 1 (up to £5000), Element 2 or Element 3 (High Needs) funding
- Access to advice and support/intervention from specialist teachers or Educational Psychologists
- Asking for advice from health or social care professionals who are involved
For children under 16, the parent makes the request. This includes children from 0 to 5 where parents should make a request in preparation for attending school, if they believe they need help beyond SEN Support.
In the case of a young person (over 16 and up to 25) they can make the request themselves if they have the ability to understand what they are requesting. Otherwise, the parent can make the request on a young person's behalf in their best interests.
It is important to understand that an EHC needs assessment is only needed if the child/young person has or may have special educational needs that requires special educational provision over and above that not ordinarily available at SEN Support. It does not apply where there are only health and/or care needs, no matter how severe.
When should I hear back?
The LA must reply within six weeks and give their decision. They will always reply to you as a parent or young person – even where the request was made by the school or college.