What is an EHC Needs Assessment?

You, the school (or college) can ask the local authority (LA) for a Needs Assessment
if you believe that:

  • Your child has or may have special educational needs (SEN) and:
  • They may need special educational provision made through an Education,

Health and Care plan (EHCP)

You do not need to prove that they have SEN and that they will need to have an
EHCP, only show that it may be possible this might be the case.

An assessment should look holistically at your child’s needs, across education,
health and care, and take into account your views, wishes and feelings.

A LA must conduct an assessment when it considers that it may be necessary for
special educational provision to be made for the child or young person through an
Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) (1).

The LA has six weeks to decide if it will conduct the assessment after it has received
your (or the school’s) request. If you are making the request, you do not need to fill
in any forms, you can just send an email to the LA (an email shows that you have
made the request, letters and email messages could be lost). You can, of course,
use the LA’s form which is on the Norfolk Local Offer website.

Although you do not need to ‘prove’ your child has SEN and may need an EHCP,
do give the LA as much evidence as you can, as it can save a lot of time. If your
child has been on SEN Support, the records from this will help. A child does not need
to have been on SEN Support before a Needs Assessment can be carried out. For
example, a child with a condition known to require special educational provision,
such as Down’s Syndrome, a Needs Assessment can be requested any time after
birth (an EHCP can run from 0-25)

An EHC Needs Assessment will not always lead to an EHC plan. The information
gathered during an EHC needs assessment may indicate ways in which your child’s
need can be met can meet without an EHC plan (2).

If it is decided that your child need to have special educational provision which is
above what is generally expected for a school to provide, an EHCP must be made,
detailing all of your child’s needs, provision to meet those needs, and the outcomes
that the provision should make.


1 SEND Code of Practice, s9.3
2 SEND Code of Practice, s9.6

SENsational Families is registered in England and Wales under charity number 1173051.
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