Last updated:

18th July 2023

How to apply for an EHC assessment

In order to get an EHCP the local authority will carry out a detailed assessment of your child’s needs to decide whether a plan is needed.

The local authority must carry out a needs assessment if they believe that your child has or may have special educational needs and they may need special educational support to be provided through an EHCP. 

An EHC Needs Assessment will not always lead to an EHCP. 

Who can apply?

  • A child’s parent
  • A young person over 16 but under 25
  • A child becomes a young person on the last Friday of June in year 11 (so when they are no longer statutory school age). If the young person does not have the capacity to make decisions about the support they might need then a parent can make the application on their behalf
  • A person acting on behalf of an early years provider, school or post 16 institution

If the school or college applies they should do so with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person.

Anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEND to the attention of the Local Authority, particularly if they think an EHC Needs Assessment may be necessary (eg  health professionals, social care, foster carers, early years practitioners, youth offending services). This should be done with the child or young person’s or parent’s knowledge. 

If you would like to make an application yourself then it is worth speaking to your child’s school first about your concerns and let them know that you want to apply. They may share your concerns and be willing to make the application for you. Or they may have other solutions they wish to try first. They will also be able to give you up to date information to send with your application. It is always beneficial to work with school on any application if you can. 

How to apply 

There are 2 ways to apply for an EHC Needs Assessment: 

  1. Write a letter giving details of why you believe your child has SEN and why you believe they might need special educational provision to be made through an EHCP. Download our template letter (PDF document).
  2. Complete the Assessment Profile for Education Health and Care Needs Assessment. Please note that there are different forms for unders 5s

It is likely that SEN will ask you to complete their assessment profile even if you have chosen to write a letter. This is so that they have all the information they need to make a decision about whether to assess.  You can use our Guide to the EHC Needs Assessment Profile (PDF Document) to help you.

Keep a copy of any letters or forms that you send to SEN. 

Whichever method you use to apply the local authority now has 6 weeks to gather any additional information to help it to decide whether or not to carry out an assessment.

Information to include:

  • What support is currently in place and what has already been tried.
  • Explain why that support is not enough, or has not had any impact.
  • Who has been involved.
  • The impact of schooling on home life.
  • Any exclusions or details of part time timetables.    

What else should I send?

  • Diagnosis letters
  • Reports or assessments from other professionals (eg SLT, OT, EP)
  • Reports from school, IEPs or provision plans

Send copies of these, rather than the originals, as they may not be returned to you.

If you have several letters or reports from the same professional then you just need to send the most recent, plus any that have details of any diagnoses or assessments that have been completed.