EHCPs – Education Health Care Needs Assessment

What is it?

Local Authorities have a legal duty to assess a child or young person’s education, health and care needs where they may have special educational needs (SEN) and they may need special educational provision to be made for them at a level or of a kind which requires an assessment of a child or young person’s education, health and care needs.

Under the ‘old’ legal system of Statements, this was known as a ‘statutory assessment’.

You can only ask for an EHC Needs Assessment if the child or young person has or may have educational needs. It does not apply where the child/young person has health and/or care needs only, no matter how severe those may be.

What’s the point of an EHC Needs Assessment?

Once a Local Authority agrees to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment they must seek advice from a number of professionals. Based on the evidence they have gathered it will then decide whether to issue an EHCP for that child or young person. You can’t secure an EHCP for a child/ young person without an EHC Needs Assessment having occurred.

When should I ask for an EHC Needs Assessment?

Typically, it would be appropriate to consider requesting an EHC Needs Assessment when:

  • a child or young person has a learning difficulty or a disability which is impacting on their progress at school or college
  • and the parents of the child or the young person, or the young person themselves, believe that the school or college is not able to provide the help and support which is needed

How do I get an EHC Needs Assessment?

A request can be made at any time. It needs to be made in writing and sent to the Local Authority.

For children under 16 the parents or the education setting can make the request. This includes children from 0 to 5.

For young people (over 16 and up to 25) they can make the request themselves if they understand what they are doing sufficiently well, otherwise the parent can make the request on a young person’s behalf.


If a written request is made to the Local Authority to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment, the Local Authority must respond to the request in writing within 6 weeks stating whether or not it will carry out the assessment.

If the Local Authority refuses, the parent/young person has the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal.

EHC Needs Assessment process – what will happen?

An EHC Needs Assessment is not limited to just an educational assessment. It is an assessment of the education, health care and social care needs of the child or young person.

As a minimum, a Local Authority must seek advice on a child or young person’s needs, the provision to meet those needs and outcomes expected to be achieved from:

  • the child’s parent or the young person
  • educational advice – if the child or young person s visually impaired then the advice must come from a suitably qualified professional
  • a health care professional
  • an educational psychologist
  • social care
  • any other person the local authority thinks is appropriate
  • where the child or young person is in or beyond year 9, advice in relation to provision to assist the child or young person in preparation for adulthood and independent living
  • advice from any person the child’s parent or young person reasonably requests that the local authority seek advice from.


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