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Process to apply for an education health and care plan needs assessment

If your child, or you as a young person (aged 16 plus), has been identified as needing additional support it is important to talk to the people who work with you or your child. You should ask about the provision that has been made as part of a 'graduated response'.

Settings and schools will be expected to provide information about the additional help and support made available as part of the 'graduated response'.

You can find information about the role of schools and settings in supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in the early years and education sections of the Local Offer.

There are five steps from requesting an EHC needs assessment to an EHC plan being issued, if you or your child need a plan. This process takes up to 20 weeks.

Step one (four weeks)

Request an EHC needs assessment: a team of professionals from different backgrounds will look at what support has already been given and how funding is being used. A decision will be made at this point whether an EHC assessment needs to be carried out. If the team decides that an EHC assessment is not necessary, you will be given reasons why not and information on how to get any extra help that you may need.

Information from you, your child, the educational setting and any agencies or services involved can provide information to help the decision to be made. There should be evidence of the graduated response which has been put into place, and information about the impact of the support which should already have been provided

Step two (six weeks)

Co-ordinated assessment: When an EHC needs assessment has been agreed, a named EHC needs assessment SEND officer will discuss the process with you. The SEND officer is impartial and is there to help you understand the process, coordinate the process and make sure the young person's views and the family's views are heard. This person will work with the family and professionals to coordinate the draft of the EHC plan. There will be a meeting to discuss the EHC plan, unless you decide you don't need one. Comments will be sought on the draft plan from parents and professionals.

Step three (two weeks)

Planning: Following receipt of the comments on the draft plan a panel of representatives from education, health and social care will consider the type of resources and support that the child will need. These will be allocated and listed in the plan. These resources will be included in the proposed EHC plan.

Step four (three weeks)

Proposed EHC plan is sent out: The proposed plan is sent to parents/carers for final consultation and to seek agreement.

Step five (five weeks)

Final EHC plan: Once agreed by the parents or carers, a school or education setting is included in the EHC plan. The plan is then agreed by us. The final EHC plan is then a legally binding document. The description of the child's SEN, the provision to meet those needs and the school or education setting named can be appealed up to a two-month period from date of issue.

EHC needs assessment documents

If a parent or young person over 16 wishes to request an EHC needs assessment they need to write to the SEN Team. It is helpful if they could also complete and send forms EHC 1 parts 4, 5 and 6 to us along with any supporting information or reports they think would be helpful.

If schools, colleges or other settings wish to request an EHC needs assessment they must complete and return forms EHC 1 parts 1, 2 and 3 and must also ensure that the parental information in EHC 1 parts 4, 5 and 6 is also completed and sent to us with their referral.