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Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

The Education Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment

The Education Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment process must be carried out in a timely manner and there are maximum time limits for each part of the process. It takes a maximum of 20 weeks from the date they receive a request for assessment to the issue of a final plan (if a plan is issued).

See our Education Health and Care Assessment flowchart (PDF document).

SEN will gather together the information from your application, from school and from other professionals that have worked with your child. This information will be presented to the SEN panel who will decide whether an assessment is needed.


They will consider:

  • The information about your child’s special educational needs and what support has already been given.
  • The child’s academic progress, or developmental progress if they are very young.
  • Evidence that where they have made progress, it is only because of a great deal of support and intervention over and above that which is normally provided.
  • Evidence of their physical, emotional and social development and health needs.

Further guidance is in paragraph 9.14 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years (PDF document.)

Read the Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment page of the local offer for guidance on what SEN expect that schools will be able to provide without the need for a plan.

Decision to assess

The Local Authority will write to you within 6 weeks to inform you of their decision. If they have agreed to assess the needs assessment will go ahead. If they don’t agree, they will write to you giving their reasons. You have the right to appeal this decision if you disagree.

What the law says

The local authority must secure an EHC (Education, Health and Care) needs assessment for the child or young person if, after having regard to any views expressed and evidence submitted under subsection (7), the authority is of the opinion that:

(a) the child or young person has or may have special educational needs, and

(b) it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan

Section 36(8) Children and Families Act 2014


During the assessment information will be gathered from the following people:

  • You or your child will be asked to give your views if you haven’t already
  • Current nursery, school or college
  • If the child has a hearing or vision impairment, educational advice from a person qualified to teach children and young people with these impairments
  • Educational psychologist
  • Health care professionals
  • Social care
  • From year 9 onwards, someone giving advice on preparing for adulthood and independent living
  • Any other person requested by the child’s parent or the young person
  • Any other advice the LA considers appropriate e.g. youth offending team,  designated teacher for looked after children

Sometimes new assessments will be needed, but if assessments or reports have already been done, you won’t need to repeat them as long as you, the local authority and the person who provided the report all agree that it is still accurate. Professionals have 6 weeks to provide a report.

The educational psychologist will complete an assessment of your child as part of the EHC (Education, Health and Care) Needs Assessment. During the assessment they will talk to your child or young person to ask them their views. Once they have completed their assessment they will meet with you (and possibly school and other professionals) to agree what would be the correct outcomes to aim for.

The local authority will gather all the information from the assessment and present it to panel once again. They should now have a very clear picture of your child’s difficulties and the support they will need. Panel will look at all the information and decide whether these needs can be met by the school from their own resources or whether your child needs an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan.)

If a plan is not going to be issued they will write to you giving reasons for their decision. If you disagree you can appeal.

If the plan is going to be issued they will issue you with a draft plan to check through. The draft should include all the appendices which contain any information gathered during the assessment. You will be given 15 days to respond with any corrections or to request any amendments. You can ask us for help if you are not sure how to check your plan.


You can ask for a meeting with SEN to discuss the draft if you feel this is necessary.


They will also ask you if you have a preference for a particular school. The law about when they must agree with your request see the page Choosing a School.

Once you return your amendments and preference for schools SEN will consult your chosen school, sending them a copy of the draft plan. The school will respond, stating whether they feel able to meet your child’s needs. 

Once a school place has been agreed, the final plan will be issued and arrangements can be made for your child to start at their new school (if necessary).


If you are unhappy with your final plan or disagree with the school named, you can appeal the decision.

Download our EHC Needs Assessments leaflet (PDF document.)