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Requesting an Education Health Care (EHC) Plan / needs assessment - Parent or young person

A parent or young person between the ages of 16 and 25 years can ask for an Education Health Care needs assessment by completing the parental or young person request form  or by writing to the SEND Team.

A person acting on behalf of the early years setting, school or post-16 establishment can also make a request for a statutory assessment. This should be done with the agreement of the parent or young person. The guidance criteria  must be considered before making a request by completing the parental or young person request form.

Anyone else (such as a GP or health visitor) can also tell the Local Authority if they think an assessment is needed, but they cannot request an assessment.

Requests should be submitted with supporting information to:

Special Educational Needs & Disability Team, St Martins Place, 51, Bath Road, Slough. SL1 3UF. Tel: 01753 787676. Email:  sendteam@slough.gov.uk

Deciding whether to conduct an EHC Needs assessment

Once the request for assessment has been received, the Local Authority must decide whether an assessment is necessary. They must make this decision within six weeks.

A multi-agency SEND Advisory Panel meets every week to consider requests and uses the guidance criteria published in the SEND Code of Practice  (section 9.14) as the basis for its recommendations

The EHC assessment

Once a request for assessment has been received, there are certain steps that the local authority must follow. The whole process from receiving a request to issuing a final plan should take no longer than 20 weeks. The SEND Code of Practice 9.14 explains what the assessment process must include.

The Local Authority has 6 weeks in which to decide whether to carry out an assessment. During that time, they will ask the family and professionals who work with the child or young person for information to help them make the decision. The information will be taken to the SEND Advisory Panel; they will use the guidance criteria to decide whether or not to start the assessment.

If it is decided not to start the assessment, parents will be notified within 6 weeks of the request.

Carrying out an EHC needs assessment

If the Panel decides that an assessment is needed, a SEND Officer will be appointed to lead the assessment process. 

The assessment process will include talking to the child or young person and the parents about what support is needed and what the child’s aspirations are for the future. It also includes asking for information and views of people who work with the child. This might include class teachers, health professionals or an educational psychologist.

It is important that young people and parents understand this process and are properly involved in the decisions that are being made. Independent support is available to help parents and young people through the assessment process, this can be either from Slough’s SEND Information Advice & Support Service 

Once the assessment has been carried out, the SEND Advisory Panel will review the assessment and decide if an Education Health & Care (EHC) Plan is needed. A template of the EHC Plan is available in the Downloads section. 

If it is decided to proceed with an EHC Plan, the plan will be drafted and sent to the parents. Parents have 15 days to give their views on the plan and to make a request for a place at the school they would like their child to attend. This could be a mainstream school or a special school   

If the panel decides that an EHC Plan does not need to be issued then the Local Authority will inform parents of this by letter within 16 weeks of the request. 

A summary of the EHC assessment process

Week 1: The SEN Team receives a request for a statutory EHC needs assessment. This could be a request from a parent, young person or school

Week 4: The request for an assessment is taken to the SEND Advisory Panel and discussed. If the panel decides that an assessment should be carried out then parents and professionals are notified and they will contribute to an assessment. The decision may be that the assessment will not go ahead and more information about this is contained below in ‘What to do if you disagree with decisions’.

Week 10: after the assessment is done all reports are sent back to the SEND team. They will gather the reports to put together a proposed draft Education, Health and Care Plan. Following this a draft planning meeting should be held at the school with the parents and professionals to consider the outcomes for the proposed draft plan. This does not mean that a draft Education, Health and Care Plan will be issued. 

Week 14: The proposed draft will be presented to the SEND Advisory Panel who will recommend if an EHC Plan should be issued. If the decision is that the child/young person’s needs can be met through SEN Support then advice to the school and professionals would be issued. If the decision is that they require more support than can be provided at SEN Support then the formal draft Education, Health and Care Plan will be issued giving you the opportunity to tell the SEND team which schools they would like their child to attend and to request any amendments to the EHC Plan. If the child is under five years old this would be an early years setting. If the young person is over 16 they can request which college or other institution they would like to attend. 

Week 15: the SEN team will consult with the education providers to determine whether the child or young person’s needs can be met at the setting. The draft EHC Plan is taken to EHC Panel with the name or type of preferred placement and to consider changes if amendments are requested.

Week 18: The draft EHC Plan is taken to EHC Panel with the name or type of preferred placement and to consider changes if amendments are requested.

Week 20: The EHC Plan will be finalised.

A flow chart of the EHCP process is available here

Reviewing an EHC Plan

EHC Plans must be reviewed at least every 12 months (more often if the child is under the age of 5). The review will focus on the progress the child or young person has made towards meeting the outcomes in the Plan and will also consider whether these outcomes and targets are still appropriate.

The review process should: 

  • Gather and assess information so that it can be used by the education provider to support the child or young person’s progress.
  • Review the provision made for the child to ensure it is effective in ensuring good progress.
  • Consider whether the EHC Plan is still appropriate based on the child or young person’s progress during the previous year: this could lead to changed targets and outcomes or changed provision or the plan being discontinued.

EHC plans must be reviewed before a child moves from nursery to primary, primary to secondary or secondary to post-16 education. It must be done in enough time to allow the new setting to plan the support needed.  

What to do if you disagree with decisions

There are points within the EHC assessment process when the Local authority’s decisions can be challenged, these are:

  • Not proceeding with an EHC needs assessment
  • Not producing an EHC Plan
  • The SEN support that is detailed in the plan

See the section on Disagreement resolution, mediation and appeals. Young people and parents can get support with disagreeing or challenging from the Slough SEND Information Advice & Support Service