What is an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment
An Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment is a process which may or may not lead to the issuing of an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.
An EHC needs assessment is a coordinated comprehensive assessment carried out by the local authority (LA) to find out exactly what a child or young person’s special educational needs are and the special help he or she requires to ensure their needs are met.
All of Portsmouth City Council's assessment procedures follow the SEN Code of Practice 0-25 years
Who can ask for an EHC needs assessment?
The following people have a right to request:
- the child's parent
- a young person over the age of 16 and under the age of 25
- a person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution (this should ideally be with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person)
- or anyone who thinks an EHC needs assessment may be necessary such as foster carers, health and social care professionals, early years practitioners, youth offending teams or probation services, those responsible for education in custody, school or college staff or a family friend.
A written request for an EHC needs assessment should be sent to:
Ms Alison Jeffery,
Director of Children’s Services,
3rd Floor, Civic Offices,
Portsmouth, PO1 2AL
Telephone number: 023 9284 1201
Portsmouth City Council Inclusion Service,
2nd Floor, Civic Offices, Guildhall Square,
Portsmouth, PO1 2EA
Telephone number: 023 9284 1238
A model letter can be found at: requesting an EHC needs assessment
Information sheets on all stages of the Education, Health and Care Plan assessment process: Information Sheets
Considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary.
Following a request, the LA must determine whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary. Portsmouth LA will make a decision and communicate this to the child’s parent or young person within 4 weeks of receiving the request.
The majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met through SEN support. An EHC needs assessment may be necessary if the child or young person may need a level of support which is over and above that which can be provided through SEN support.
The LA must also notify the child’s parent or the young person that it is considering the request as soon as practicable following the request so they have sufficient time to provide their views.
LA’s should pay particular attention to the views, wishes and feelings of the child and his or her parent or the young person (this is referred to as person centred planning). At an early stage, the LA should establish how the child and his or her parent or the young person can be kept best informed and supported to participate as fully as possible in all aspects of decision making.
The LA must arrange for the child and his or her parent of young person to be provided with impartial advice and information relevant to the child or young person’s SEN to allow them to take part effectively in the assessment and planning process.
Who must be notified when considering an EHC needs assessment?
- the child’s parent or the young person
- the health service (the relevant CCG or whoever has responsibility for the child or young person)
- LA officers responsible for social care for children and young people with SEN
- where a child attends an early years setting, the manager of that setting
- where a child or young person is registered at a school, the head teacher
- where a young person attends a post-16 institution, the principal
What evidence should the LA take into account when deciding whether to make an EHC needs assessment?
The LA are looking for evidence that despite ‘relevant and purposeful’ action being taken to identify, assess and meet the needs of the child or young person, they have not made expected progress. They should pay attention to:
- evidence of the child or young person’s academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress
- information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person’s SEN
- evidence of the action already being taken
- evidence that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided
- evidence of the child or young person’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs, drawing on relevant evidence from professionals
- where a young person is ages over 18, the LA must consider whether they require additional time to complete their education and training
What happens if the LA decide not to carry out an EHC needs assessment?
You will receive a letter which should clearly outline the reasons for the decision. It will also include an explanation of your right to appeal and the time limit for doing so. Should you wish to appeal, there is a requirement on you to consider mediation and the availability of further support services. The LA should also provide feedback collected during the process from professionals.
What happens if the LA decide to proceed with an EHC needs assessment?
If the LA decide to conduct an EHC needs assessment, it must ensure the child’s parent or the young person is fully included from the start and made aware of the opportunities to offer views and information. Portsmouth SEN Assessment team has a form which parents and young people are encouraged to complete (see our page on parents contribution).
The LA must then gather a range of information from relevant professionals about the child or young person’s education, health and care needs. This should include any desired outcomes and special educational, health and care provision to ensure the child or young person will meet their full potential.
Advice and information must be sought as follows:
- Advice and information from the child’s parent or the young person. The LA must take into account his or her views, wishes and feelings as it is now a ‘person centred’ approach.
- Educational advice from the manager, head teacher or principal of the setting the child or young person attends
- If the child or young person is either vision or hearing impaired, or both, a person qualified to teach pupils or students with these impairments must be consulted
- Medical advice and information from health care professionals
- Psychological advice and information from an educational psychologist
- Social care advice and information
- From Year 9 onwards, advice and information related to preparation for adulthood
- Advice and information from any other person requested by the child’s parent or young person, where the LA considers it reasonable. This could be a GP or other health care professional
Advice should be clear and accessible and has to be provided within 6 weeks.
The Assessment Coordinator then writes the 1st draft of the EHC Plan. A Coproduction meeting is held, usually at the educational setting to which the young person, their parents and all the professionals who have contributed to the assessment are invited. The Assessment Coordinator will circulate the 1st draft of the EHC Plan at the meeting. Everyone at the meeting will discuss the outcomes and these will then be reflected in the draft EHC Plan. Parents and child/ young person will be asked to contribute their views and aspirations.
The Assessment Coordinator completes the draft EHC Plan and it is checked by a senior member of the SEN team. The SEN team will present the child / young person's case to the Inclusion Support Panel for their recommendation regarding issuing an EHC Plan.
What happens if the LA decide to issue an EHC plan?
The LA will decide, given the advice and evidence what special educational provision is required, then an EHC plan will be prepared. The LA must notify the parent or young person and give the opportunity for the preferred school placement to be named. (See the Choosing a school page). A draft plan will then be prepared and a finalised plan must be issued within the 20 week overall time limit.
What happens if the LA decide not to issue an EHC plan?
If an LA decide and EHC plan is not necessary, it must notify the child’s parents or young person, the school and the health service and give the reasons for its decision. This must be done by 16 weeks from the initial request. The LA must also give details of the right of appeal and the time limit for doing so and avenues of information, advice and support. The Portsmouth SEND IASS can help with this.
The LA should ensure that the child’s parents and or young person are aware of the resources available to meet SEN within mainstream provision and other support which is set out in the Local Offer
This can be found here:Ordinarily Available Provision
The LA should provide written feedback collected during the EHC needs assessment process, which the child’s parent or young person should understand and may find useful. This should include evidence from professionals.
Portsmouth SEND IASS can support families through this process.
Tel: 0300 303 2000
The Code of Practice is available online:SEN Code of Practice 0-25 years
The Department for Education have also written the following guide for parents and carers:Guide for Parents