What happens in an EHC Needs Assessment?
If the local authority (LA) decides to carry out a Needs Assessment, it has specific timescales to stick to, and must seek a range of advices covering education, health and social care.
Timescale: there is a maximum of ten weeks from agreeing to assess to stating whether an EHC plan will be issued or not.
Assessment (1): the local authority must seek advice and information about the needs of the child (or young person), the provision to meet those needs and the outcomes the provision is intended to achieve, from the following:
a) You (or the young person)
b) Education (nursery/school/college, or person with experience in teaching children with SEN if home-educated)
c) Medical advice (from a healthcare professional identified by the Clinical Commissioning Group CCG))
d) Educational Psychologist
e) Social Care
f) Any person the LA considers appropriate
g) Transition advice if the child is year 9 or above
h) Advice and information from any person you reasonably request that the LA seeks advice from
- If a child appears to have a sensory impairment, advice and information from a suitably qualified teacher
If there are existing reports, the LA must not seek further advice if the report writer, LA and yourself, are all satisfied that it is sufficient. If the existing reports do not state needs, provision and outcomes, they will not be sufficient.
You can ask under (h) for specific information, e.g. speech and language, if it looks like your child has difficulties in this area. ‘Not known to this service’ or similar is unlikely to meet the legal requirements of the Needs Assessment. Those asked must respond within 6 weeks of the request.
The LA must consult with you and consider your views, wishes and feelings. They must consider any information (eg private reports) that you give them, along with all the information they have gathered for those listed above. The LA must engage with you and minimise any disruption for your family (2).
1 The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014, Reg 6
2 The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014, Reg 7