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Requests for an Education, Health and Care Plan Needs Assessment

What is an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment? 

An EHC needs assessment is sometimes called a statutory SEN assessment. It is a detailed assessment to assess what a child or young person’s special educational needs are. It will explain the support they may need in order to learn, progress and achieve. 

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The Local Authority would expect to carry out a statutory Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessment for children and young people who: 

  • have special educational needs (SEN) that are long term, severe and complex
  • have not responded to sustained measures from their setting
  • need SEN provision outside of a setting's capacity

What is a Special Educational Need (SEN)? 

A child or young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability that requires provision. For definitions and more information on SEN, visit Cornwall SEND Local Offer's 'What is SEND? webpage

An EHC needs assessment is an opportunity for multiple agencies to define an individual's needs and, if required, draw up an Education Health and Care plan (EHC plan). When it does not, the information gathered can be used to inform SEN support provided by the educational setting.

An EHC needs assessment is sometimes called a statutory SEN assessment. It is a detailed assessment to assess what a child or young person’s special educational needs are. It will explain the support they may need in order to learn, progress and achieve. 

We expect to carry out a statutory (EHC) assessment for children and young people who: 

  • have special educational needs (SEN) that are long term, severe and complex 
  • have not responded to sustained measures from their setting
  • need SEN provision outside of a setting's capacity

What is an EHC plan?

An EHC plan is a legal document for children and young people in education, training or an apprenticeship. These children need more support than is available through SEN Support.

The aspirations, needs and outcomes for a child/young person are central to an EHC plan. 

Cornwall Local Authority consults with the child or young person and their parents. You are at the heart of these processes and inform the decision making (see SEND Code of Practice, p.147).

The purpose of an EHC plan is to: 

  • Record the views, interests and aspirations of the child or young person. And their parents.
  • Specify the child's or young person's special educational needs. 
  • Outline the child's or young person’s health and social care needs. These relate to their SEN and necessary provision to meet their needs 

Describe the outcomes sought for the child or young person. These should focus on education and training, health and care outcomes. The outcomes enable the child or young person to progress in their learning. As they get older, to be well prepared for adulthood. 

Detail the SEN provision required to meet the outcomes sought for the child or young person. 

Who can make an EHC Needs Assessment request? 

Requests for assessments are usually made by the educational setting. This happens when the family and all professionals involved agree that extra support is necessary.

Professionals or parents can make a request, or the young person in their own right once they are 16 years old.

What to expect when making an EHC Needs Assessment request

How long will the EHC Needs Assessment process take? 

The 20 week process starts when the Statutory SEN service receive a request. Read more on our SEND Forms and Guidance webpage.

Who decides whether an EHC needs assessment takes place? 

The decision to start an EHC needs assessment is made by the Statutory SEN panel. This is a professional panel.

The Statutory SEN Casework officer informs the young person and/or their parents/carers of the panel’s decision. This is within 6 weeks. If the decision is not to go ahead with an EHC needs assessment, the Statutory SEN Casework officer will explain why. You will also receive a letter. This information is also sent to the child or young person’s main educational setting.

Educational settings

Educational settings can request an EHC statutory assessment. This is in partnership with the young person and/or their parents/carers. They complete a ‘Request for an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment’ form. We also need relevant up to date evidence.

Download the 'Request for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment' Form

The young person, their parent/carers and other people who know the child or young person

When a young person and/or their parent/carers want to request an assessment, they do so in partnership with an educational setting. e.g. through discussion with the setting's Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).

You can do it without a setting, in some cases. You don't have to complete the form. To make a request, email the Statutory SEN Service. This is statutorysen@cornwall.gov.uk. You will need to give reasons why they think am EHC Needs Assessment is necessary.

Guidance for requesting a statutory assessment 

Visit our SEN Forms and Guidance page for

  • A range of useful guidance about the EHC needs assessment process
  • Details of how parents children and young people can contribute to the assessment
  • Guidance and forms for requesting an EHC needs assessment 

Visit our Access, Plan, Do, Review cycle page for information about how to evidence individual's progress at SEN Support.