An EHC assessment involves a process of gathering information from the relevant people, including the views, interests and aspirations of the parents and child and will help the Council to decide whether they need to make special educational provision through an EHC plan. An EHC assessment will not always lead to an EHC plan, and where it doesn't, it may clarify how the education setting can meet the child's special educational needs from within the education resources normally available.

The purpose of an EHC Plan

The purpose of an EHC Plan is to make special educational provision to meet the special educational needs of children and young people (between the ages of 0 to 25 years) to secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care and as they get older, prepare them for adulthood.

Who can get an EHC Plan

Most children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) will have their needs met by support that is usually available in local mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges. Schools, settings and colleges will be able to ask for help from services across education, health and social care to help them to meet SEN. All education settings should use their best endeavours to meet the needs of children and young people with SEN.

However, a small number of children and young people may not make expected progress even when the 'relevant and purposeful action' to identify, assess and meet their SEN has been taken by their education setting.

These children and young people may need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment to help the council to decide whether they need to make special educational provision through an EHC plan.

Education, Health and Care Plans

If it is decided that an EHC plan is needed to make special educational provision for a child or young person, the information gathered for the Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment will help to put together an EHC plan. An EHC plan will include the following information:

  • the views and aspirations of the parents and child or young person
  • the child or young person's strengths and special educational needs (SEN)
  • outcomes across education, health and social care
  • the special education provision needed and how it will be provided
  • health and/or social care needs and provision which are related to the child or young person's SEN
  • the name and type of education setting
  • personal budget information
Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments

An EHC needs assessment involves a process of gathering information from the relevant people, including the views and aspirations of child or young person and their parents.

An EHC needs assessment will help the council to decide whether they need to make special educational provision through an EHC plan. When deciding whether an EHC Plan is needed the council will take into account whether the special educational needs of the child or young person can reasonably be met from resources normally available to mainstream early years settings, schools and colleges.

How to request an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment

The following people have a specific right to ask the council to do an EHC needs assessment for a child or young person aged between 0 and 25:

  • the child's parent
  • a young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25

Please contact the SEN Assessment & Commissioning Team (SENACT)

SENACT will ask the parent or the young person to complete a form giving information about their child's/their special educational needs. If the child/young person is in an educational setting, SENACT will also ask the educational setting for more information about the child/young person's special educational needs.

  • a person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution, ideally with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where possible

By submitting a completed 'Request for EHC needs assessment form' and accompanying evidence to the SEN Assessment & Commissioning Team (SENACT).

In addition, anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN to the attention of the local authority. This could include foster carers, health and social care professionals, early years practitioners etc.

How the Council decides whether an assessment is necessary

When deciding whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, the council will look at a range of information which tells them about the child or young person's attainments and rate of progress, the nature and extent of their special educational needs (SEN) and what action has been taken already to meet their SEN.

If a child or young person has not made the expected progress, even when the school, early years setting or college has taken relevant and purposeful action to meet their SEN, then the council may decide to do an EHC needs assessment.

How long the Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment takes

The whole EHC needs assessment process from when a request is made to when a final EHC plan is issued is 20 weeks. Within the 20 weeks the following timescales must be met:

  • EHC needs assessment requests must be responded to within 6 weeks; When information is requested by the council as part of the EHC needs assessment, it must be provided to the council within 6 weeks of the request for that information
  • if the council decides not to issue an EHC plan it must tell the family within 16 weeks of the original request for EHC needs assessment
  • the child's parent or young person must be given 15 calendar days to consider and provide views on the draft EHC plan and ask for a school or institution to be named on it
How the family is included/consulted during the assessment

Independent support and advice is offered to the parents or the young person from Kirklees Information, Advice and Support Service (KIAS)

The SEN Assessment & Commissioning Team is the council department responsible for coordinating EHC needs assessments. When the council is formally asked to do an EHC needs assessment then the parents or the young person will be contacted by the team to explain what will happen next. If an EHC needs assessment is agreed then an Assessment Coordinator from the team will coordinate the EHC needs assessment.

The educational setting and/or another key professional will work with the parents and the child or the young person to gather their views and aspirations. This will normally happen before the educational setting asks the council for an EHC needs assessment.

If an EHC needs assessment is agreed by the council then the Assessment Coordinator (SENACT) will ask the family again if there is any further information they would like to be included in the EHC needs assessment. The views and aspirations of the parent and the child or the young person will form Section A of an EHC Plan.

An EHC needs assessment means that information and advice is gathered from the relevant people. Once this information is gathered then all those involved in the EHC needs assessment are invited by the Assessment Coordinator (SENACT) to attend a meeting with the parents and child or the young person to work together to develop the draft EHC plan. This is called a support planning meeting.

After the support planning meeting the draft EHC Plan is sent by the Assessment Coordinator (SENACT) to the parent and/or the young person to consider and provide views on it and ask for a school or institution to be named on it. Further meetings can be arranged if needed.

If an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment is not agreed

If the council decides not to do an EHC needs assessment then the Assessment Coordinator (SENACT) will write to the parents or young person giving the reasons why.

If the parents or young person are concerned that the council has decided not to do an EHC needs assessment then they will be able to talk to their Assessment Coordinator (SENACT) who will help them to understand the reasons why.

Independent advice and support is offered from Kirklees Information, Advice and Support Service (KIAS)

If the parents or young person are unable to reach agreement with the council then they have a right to mediation and appeal

If an assessment takes place but doesn't lead to an EHC plan

An EHC needs assessment will not always lead to an EHC plan. The information gathered through an EHC needs assessment may help to decide how the education setting can meet the child or young person's special educational needs without an EHC Plan. If this is the case then the council may use the information gathered through the EHC needs assessment to draw up a My Support Plan to help the educational setting to plan the appropriate coordinated support.

If parents or the young person are concerned that the council has decided not to issue an EHC plan they will be able to talk to their Assessment Coordinator (SENACT) who will help them to understand the reasons why.

Independent advice and support is offered from Kirklees Information, Advice and Support Service (KIAS)

If the parents or young person are unable to reach agreement with the council then they have a right to mediation and appeal.

How long an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan last

An EHC plan can remain in place for as long as it is necessary to make provision through it (between the ages of 0-25).

The council may decide that an EHC plan is no longer needed if:

  • the child or young person no longer needs the special educational provision specified in the EHC plan.

For young people aged 19-25 the council may decide that an EHC plan is no longer needed when:

  • the education and training outcomes in the plan have been achieved.

In these circumstances the council may cease to maintain the EHC plan and will notify the parent or young person of their intention to do so.

The council is no longer responsible for a child or young person where any of the following conditions apply:

  • a young person aged 16 or over leaves education to take up paid employment (including employment with training but excluding apprenticeships)
  • the young person enters higher education
  • a young person aged 18 or over leaves education and no longer wishes to engage in further learning
  • the child or young person has moved to another local authority area
When an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan is reviewed

EHC plans should be used to monitor children and young people's progress towards their outcomes and longer term aspirations. They must be reviewed at least every 12 months.

Reviews must focus on the child or young person's progress towards achieving the outcomes in the EHC plan. The review must also consider whether the outcomes and supporting targets are still appropriate. It should also consider whether the special educational provision and health and social care provision in the EHC plan is ensuring good progress.

If a child or young person is in an educational setting then a review meeting will normally be arranged and held at that setting. The educational setting will invite the relevant people, including the parents, child and/or young person to attend.

The educational setting will prepare a report of the meeting within two weeks of the meeting.

Within four weeks of the meeting the council will decide whether it will either keep the EHC Plan as it is, amend the plan or cease the plan and will let the parent or young person and the educational setting know.

Moving schools with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan

A child/young person will normally move between schools when they change phase ie. from primary to secondary school. Conversations about their move will normally start at their EHC Plan review the academic year before they are due to move and will be very carefully planned with the parents and the child.

An EHC Plan will be amended to name a child's new school by the 15th February in the year they are due to transfer.

What to do if you are unhappy with the decisions made during an assessment

If parents or the young person are unhappy with a decision made by the local authority during the EHC needs assessment they will be given the opportunity to meet with their Assessment Coordinator (SENACT). The council will always want to work with the parents or the young person to resolve any concerns they may have.

Independent advice or support is offered from Kirklees Information, Advice and Support Service (KIAS)

Disagreement Resolution Service

KIAS can also put the parents or young person in touch with the Disagreement Resolution Service at any time and this does not affect their right of appeal to SEN Tribunal.

Mediation & SEN Tribunal

If the parents or young person decide to register an appeal to SEN Tribunal they can do so only after contacting an independent mediation adviser to discuss whether mediation might be a suitable way of resolving the disagreement. The independent mediation adviser will issue a certificate as follows:

    a) if after discussion with the independent mediation adviser the parents or young person feel mediation is not required; or

    b) no agreement is reached following mediation. Entering into mediation does not affect the parents or young person's right of appeal to SEN Tribunal. Once they receive their certificate they will be able to lodge an appeal to SEN Tribunal within 2 months of receiving the formal decision letter or within 1 month of receiving the certificate, whichever is later.

The mediation service is currently provided by Community Accord

SEND Tribunal Single Route of Redress National Trial

In line with Schedule 2 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 all local areas in England are required to publish details in their local offers for ‘notifying parents and young people of their right to appeal a decision of the local authority to the Tribunal’ and this includes their extended rights as part of the single route of redress national trial.

The Government are extending the powers of the First-tier Tribunal (SEND), sometimes referred to as the ‘SEND Tribunal’, to make non-binding recommendations about the health and social care aspects of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans as part of a two-year trial. The trial will apply to decisions made or EHC plans issued/amended from 3 April 2018.

To date, parents/carers have only been able to appeal the educational aspects of EHC plans. The trial gives parents/carers new rights to request recommendations about the health and social care needs and provision specified in EHC plans, in addition to the educational aspects, when making a SEND appeal. This gives parents/carers the opportunity to raise all your concerns about an EHC plan in one place.

Download the Single Route of Redress - National Trial for further information.

Contact SEN Assessment and Commissioning Team