Assessment for an education, health and care plan

On this page you can find out about education, health and care (EHC) plans, how to ask for an assessment for a plan and what happens during an assessment. ​

What is an education, health and care (EHC) plan?

The majority of children and young people with SEN or Disabilities will have their needs met within their local mainstream early years setting, school or college.

A small number of children and young people (aged 0-25 years) with complex needs where even with a wide range of services available in nurseries, schools and colleges is not enough to help them achieve their full potential.

If your child or the young person is not making progress, even with support from school, you or the education setting can ask us to assess him or her for an education, health and care (EHC) plan. Young people 16 years and over (who have left year 11) can ask directly.

The Support in school for children with SEN page has more information on the type of support available for children and young people without an EHC plan who continue to attend mainstream nurseries, schools and colleges in Newham.

An EHC plan is a legal document which describes your child/young person’s special educational needs, aspirations, outcomes and the provision/support they need to make progress and achieve the desired outcomes. It sets out the health and care needs and provision that are related to their special educational needs and the name and type of educational setting that would best suit them.
 
Your child/ you could have a plan from birth to 25 years of age as long as you continue in education and training. The EHC Plan will be reviewed annually (6 monthly for children under 5) and will change and develop as your child gets older.

What an EHC plan will mean for your child

The plan brings together in one place all the information we need to help us support your child. There can be a lot of organisation needed and the plan is a single clear guide to providing services to meet your child’s individual needs.

The purpose of an EHC plan, as set out in the SEND Code of Practice in chapter 9.2 is to:

  • secure the special educational provision assessed as being necessary to meet the SEN of the child or young person;
  • secure the best possible outcomes for them across education, health and social care;
  • support preparation for adulthood;
  • establish outcomes across education, health and social care based on the child or young person’s needs and aspirations;
  • specify the provision required and how education, health and care services will work together to meet the child or young person’s needs and support the achievement of the agreed outcomes.

Asking for an assessment for an EHC plan

Who can ask for an assessment

You can ask us for an EHC needs assessment under Section 36 of the Children and Families Act 2014, if you think your child or you as the young person over 16 might need support through an EHC Plan.

Your child’s nursery, school or college can also ask for an EHC needs assessment if it has tried all other options for support through SEN Support with your permission.

Others who can ask for an assessment include:

  • young people aged 16 to 25, getting support after a learning difficulties assessment and still in education
  • a professional acting on behalf of a child or parent with the agreement of the parent or the young person if they are over 16 years of age with their agreement.

You can ask for an EHC needs assessment by writing to:

  • SEN Section,  0 – 25 SEND Service Commissioning Education and Skills, London Borough of Newham, Newham Dockside, 1000 Dockside Road, London E16 2QU.
  • Or email it to sen@newham.gov.uk  with 'EHC assessment request' as the subject.

What happens next

When you ask us for an EHC needs assessment, the local authority will need to decide whether or not your child/ you need an assessment. We will ask you and everyone involved in supporting your child/you to provide us with information and reports which will help the local authority in making their decision.
 
In Newham we have a Multi-agency Panel that helps the local authority to make their decision, panel members come from:

  • school
  • education setting
  • health
  • Education Psychology Service
  • Specialist Teaching Service.

We will also invite social care service as appropriate.

The local authority makes its decision based on:

  • how complex your child/your needs are and its impact on their learning using the information provided by professionals supporting your child/you.
  • the level of support your child/you have already received, this is usually from the Nursery/school/college they attend.
  • Evidence of progress made and attainments achieved.

The local authority has statutory 6 weeks from the date they receive the EHC needs request to make and tell you of the decision.
 
If based on the EHC needs assessment request information, we think an assessment is not  required for you child/young person we will write to parents/young person and explain why. We will offer a meeting and provide parents/young person with information on their rights to formal mediation and appeal.
 
We will also tell his or her nursery/school/college so that they can work with you to develop a support plan or improve your child’s/your current plan. You can find out more about support plans on our page on support plans. We will also offer to meet with you.

If we decide that your child/you need an EHC assessment, we will write to you and an Officer from the SEN team will be allocated to your child/you to co-ordinate the assessment.

Specific interventions to support SEN

The Local Authority does not advocate any specific approaches when providing support for children or young people with SEN. 

Nurseries, Schools and Colleges:

  • use a range of interventions/provision depending on the specific special educational needs of the child or young person
  • will make decisions about the support and interventions they use under the guidance of the Education Psychology Service and other specialist services
  • provision iis ultimately quality assured by Ofsted.

EHC needs assessment

What happens during the assessment?

An allocated Officer in the SEN team will co-ordinate the assessment, he/she will write to education including the educational psychology service, health and care services asking their professionals to provide the local authority of their views/advice reports. We will share the EHC needs request information with professionals we write to.

You can also tell us who we should seek views from, however the services will make a decision on the level of their involvement. In order to provide us with information on your child/young person, these services may invite you to attend specific appointments and these services have 6 weeks from us writing to them to provide us with their views/advice. We will also ask your, your child’s/young persons views using the “All About Me” form.

During the EHC needs assessment, you can expect that:

  • you and your child will be fully involved
  • we will collect all information efficiently so that we do not have to ask you for it  twice
  • you can get impartial information, advice and support to help you make the right choices for you and your child/young person through Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, Information, Advice and Support Services (SENDIASS).
  • if you are over 16 years of age, you now have specific right to make your own decisions, your family can support you or you can get information, advice and support from SENDIASS.

What happens next

Following the 6 weeks assessment period the SEN Officer coordinating the assessment will prepare all the views/advice received to make a decision whether the child/young person requires support through an EHC needs assessment.

Using the assessment information received the local authority will decide whether your child/young person needs support through an EHC Plan or not, the Multi-agency Panel members support the local authority to make this decision.

In some cases, the evidence collected during the assessment process will lead to the judgement that the child/ young person does not need an EHC plan and that needs can be met from the resources that are available in the education setting. The information gathered during the assessment may indicate ways in which the school, college or other provider can meet the child or young person's needs without an EHC plan, we will share this with you.

We must write and tell you within 16 weeks from the date the request is received if the local authority does not agree to issue an EHC Plan. We will also tell you how you can appeal against the local authority decision not to issue a plan and you can seek support through SENDIASS. We will also offer to meet with you.

If you need help with the EHC needs assessment process

If you would like help with any part of the EHC Plan assessment or process, you can contact the allocated SEN Officer or contact:

Newham SEND Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) who support Newham young people and their parents or carers. You can contact them on 020 3373 8385 or by e-mail to sendiass@newham.gov.uk. They have an understanding of both the statutory regulations and the local context and will be pleased to discuss your case with you and advise you of your rights and possible ways forward.

What happens if your child needs an EHC plan

Your allocated SEN Officer supporting the coordination of the assessment will:

  • Put together a draft EHC plan, using the information collected during the assessment.
  • Share the draft EHC plan with you for your views.
  • Offer you a meeting, you can tell us if you would like to meet with us.
  • Share the draft EHC Plan with everyone that has provided the advice.

You and everyone that has provided the advice will have 15 days to give your views on the draft EHC Plan.

You can also tell us the nursery, school, college you wish to name in section I of the EHC Plan. The final plan issued will name the education setting your child/young person should attend.

Personal budgets

At this point you can also decide whether, you want to talk to us about a personal budget. Personal budgets provides more choice and control over the support your child/young person receives.  A personal budget can work in different ways depending on the services. It is important to know that any request for an education Personal Budget must be linked to a specific outcome in the EHC Plan and have permission from the Headteacher/Principal of the education setting your child/young person attends.

What happens if your child does not need an EHC plan

We must write and tell you within 16 weeks of the EHC request received by the local authority if the decision is that your child/young person does not require support through an EHC Plan. We will explain why we think your child/young person does not need support through an EHC plan.

We will also tell you about your right to appeal this decision and the time limit for doing so. We will give you information about mediation and the other services that you need to consider before you make an appeal, along with other information, advice and support available.

We will also give you and your child/young person’s nursery, school or college the information we collected during the assessment. You and the education setting can use this to help build or change a support plan. Your child/young person’s teacher and professionals from other Services will be involved in this. For more information on support plans, go to our Support plans page.

What to do if you are not happy with our decisions

If you are unhappy with any part of the process or our decisions, go to our Appeals and complaints page.

If you would like help with any part of the EHC Plan assessment or process, you can contact the allocated SEN Officer or contact:

    • Newham SEND Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) who support Newham young people and their parents or carers. You can contact them on 020 3373 8385 or by e-mail to sendiass@newham.gov.uk. They have an understanding of both the statutory regulations and the local context and will be pleased to discuss your case with you and advise you of your rights and possible ways forward.

    • You can access disagreement resolution services or independent mediation through Kids, London SEN Mediation Service, 7-9 Elliott’s Place, London N1 8HX, telephone number 020 7359 3635, www.londonsenmediation.org.uk. You can ask for a Mediation meeting about the education, health and care aspects within 2 months of the decision.

  • The SEND Tribunal contact details are as follows: First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability): 1st Floor Darlington Magistrates Court, Parkgate, Darlington DL1 1RU. Telephone 01325 289350; Email: Sendistqueries@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk