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Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment

Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment

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Children and young people aged up to 25 who have special educational needs which affect their ability to learn might be able to get an Educational, Health and Care Plan. This is often referred to as an EHC plan or EHCP.

Special educational needs that affect a child or young person's ability to learn are:

  • Behaviour or ability to socialise, eg not being able to make friends
  • Reading and writing, e.g. they have dyslexia
  • Ability to understand things
  • Concentration levels, e.g. they have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Physical needs or impairments

An Education, Health and Social Care plan is a legal document written by the local authority. It identify educational, health and social needs and set out the additional support to meet those needs.

An EHC (Educational, Health and Care) Plan will include:

  • The views, interests and aspirations of the children and young people and their parent/carer
  • The child or young person’s special educational need  
  • Planned outcomes covering education, health and social care
  • The special educational provision needed to support the child or young person
  • The name and type of education setting
  • Personal budget information if applicable
  • Copies of advice and information gathered as part of the EHC needs assessment
  • Help a young person prepare for adulthood and independent living (this will be included from Year 9 onwards)

Watch the Department of Education video on what is an Education, Health and Care Plan and who can have one.

Most children and young people with special educational needs will have help given to them without the need for an EHCP (Educational, Health and Care Plan.)

A child or young person can also be supported by a school based plan, often referred to as a SEN (Special Educational Needs) plan.

School based plans are there to help understand the child’s or young person’s needs and the support required to help them make good progress.

The plan sets out targets for a child or young person and the help they will get to achieve them.  Plans will be regularly reviewed and updated and gives parents, teachers and other professionals a chance to talk about how the support is helping.

In some cases if the review shows the child is not making expected progress, further support from an Educational Psychologist or the Learning Support Service maybe required.

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

If a child or young person needs more support than is in the school based plan, then the parents, nursery or the school can ask us to carry out an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.

Young people between the ages of 16 and 25 years can ask us to carry out an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.

Request an assessment

To request an assessment we'd ask you to complete our request form:

If your child is under 5 years of age we would ask you to complete our early years request form:  

The information on the form help us make a decision about whether to carry out an assessment. We need information from the nursery or school and up to date reports from any professionals who have worked with your child. 

Help to complete the request form 

To help you complete the form see the guide to when to request Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (PDF document).

Return forms to

You can return your completed form to our special educational needs service by: 

Email: sen@wokingham.gov.uk

We then have 6 weeks to decide whether or not to carry out an assessment. It would be helpful if you could provide any information from your child's school or any medical reports that are available to be sent along with the completed form. This will help us make a decision quicker. If no information is provided, we will seek information from services that are involved with your child.

If we decide not to go ahead with an assessment we'll tell you the reasons and including information on possible next steps. The Local Offer directory also provides information on local services who offer support to children and young people with additional needs and their families. 

The assessment

During the assessment we'll collect information from:

  • The child or young person
  • The parent or carer
  • The education setting
  • An educational psychologist
  • Other health and care professionals that are appropriate

Your views are very important, we'll ask how you think your child could be helped. 

If you're a young person, we will speak to you throughout the assessment and make sure your views are heard and listen to. 

We use all this information to find out what your child's needs are and make a decision about what kind of support is needed. This will be by week 16. We will write to you with the decision as to whether an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is needed or not. 

If we decide not to go ahead with an EHCP, we’ll tell you the reasons and provide you with a Summary of Assessment which will include the needs of your child, and the suggested strategies in order to support your child in education.

A Summary of Assessment is is not a ’ statutory’ plan as all the provision can be made from the resources which are normally available to school or college. The summary will contain information directly drawn from the advice that the professionals who assessed your child provided.

If we decide to go ahead, a final Education, Health and Care Plan will be issued within 20 weeks of the request for an assessment.

For an overview of the timescales involved for an assessment see the Education, Health and Care needs assessment flowchart (PDF document).

Parents and young people can ask for advice and support from the special educational needs and disability information advice and support service (SENDIASS) during the assessment process.

Go along to one of the monthly special educational needs drop in sessions for help and advice for all things related to the assessment and special educational needs.

We've made a short video about the support the special educational needs and disability information advice and support service (SENDIASS) give to young people up to the age of 25.

Watch the video below:     

If we feel that the child's needs can be met within their school, we may issue a Special Educational Needs Support (SEN) Plan instead.

If the assessment shows your child needs an Education, Health and Care Plan we will create a draft and send you a copy within 16 weeks of the date the request for assessment was made. You have 15 days from the date of the letter to comment or ask for additional time to discuss it with us.

Contact the SEN team:


At this stage a parent or young person can express preference for an education setting.

A final Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be issued within 20 weeks, including name of the education setting.

Education, Health and Care Plans

The Council for Disabled Children have created short animation films which help explain the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) process and the person centred connection. 

If you disagree with:

  • Our decision not to carry out an assessment
  • Our decision not to issue an education, health and care needs plan
  • Some parts of the plan - you'll receive a letter explaining which parts of the plan you can appeal against
     

Go to the if you disagree with our decision web page find out what to do next.

A parents or young person can express a preference to a particular school as part of the assessment process. Once we have decided to issue an EHCP (Educational, Health and Care Plan), we will ask you then what school you would like to be named on the EHCP.

Wherever possible we would wish to see children with special educational needs educated in their local mainstream school. There are some circumstances, which will mean that it will not be possible to do this, i.e there are no reasonable adjustments that can be made in the local mainstream school to make a placement possible for the child. If this is the case, we will explore other types of provisions, namely, special schools.

Identifying a school

When considering what school to name on an EHCP, we will take into account the following things:

  • The needs of your child that have been identified   
  • The education of the other children at the school    
  • The efficient use of the local authority’s resources        
        

How the process works

  • We contact a school for a place by sending a copy of your child’s EHC (Educational, Health and Care) Plan and the additional reports and information used to write the EHC Plan.
  • Maintained schools have 15 days to review this paperwork. The non-maintained and independent sector have no time limit. Schools may request additional time to decide whether they are able to meet needs, and offer a place. In such cases, it is likely that some additional time will be considered. This is usually the case for special school who hold admissions panels when there are more requests than places available.
  • The identified school will be named in Section I of the final EHC plan or final amended EHC plan
  • The school named in section I is confirmation of the education place your child will attend. You will not receive any additional confirmation from the schools admission service.
         
This process can be time consuming but it is essential that we identify the right school for your child’s needs and the steps laid out above will help us to do this.

Find education settings

Guide to what to look for in a school    

Read the Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) guide to what to look for in a school.

Find out more

You can read our Naming a school, college or learning placement in an Education, Health and Care Plan (PDF document) to find out about our policy and practice in securing an education setting for a child or young person with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Go to the IPSEA website for information on what the Children and Families Act 2014 says regarding special educational needs support in relation to independent schools.

An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) does not automatically lead to transport provision from home to school.

Transport arrangements will be made for children living outside of the statutory walking distance limits, or for those who cannot be expected to walk because of their special educational needs or disability. See our school transport web page for details of criteria.

Parental preference

Parents who state their preference for their child to attend a school that is further away from their home than another school that the council views is suitable to meet their child's special educational needs, would be responsible for arranging and funding the transport to that school.

Where the local authority agrees to meet parental preference in naming such a school on a child's EHCP (Educational, Health and Care Plan), it may do so on condition that the parent takes responsibility for any transport arrangements.

School transport policy

Please read our school transport policy (PDF document) for further information.

Post 16 education and training

The Council will apply its standard farepayer charge to any post-16 transport arrangements that it is required to make or maintain, subject to the 50 percent discount for children eligible for free school meals.

Where the student previously received transport on special educational needs grounds and continues in full time education at the same establishment, assistance with transport will continue but will now be subject to its standard farepayer charge, subject to the 50 percent discount for children eligible for free school meals.

Read our post 16 transport policy statement (PDF document) to find out what support is available.

An Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) can continue until a person reaches the age of 25. Although we could cease the EHCP if a plan is no longer necessary usually for the following reasons:

       
  • We are no longer responsible for a child or young person      
  • It is no longer necessary to maintain the plan
 

Below outlines some reasons why it will no longer be necessary to maintain a child's or young persons EHCP:  

  • The young person has gone to university  
  •     
  • The young person has a job (excluding apprenticeships)    
  • The person is age 18 or over and no longer wishes to engage in education or learning   
  • The person has turned 25 
  • The child or young person has moved to a different borough or left the country
  • The child or young person has met the outcomes in the EHCP and no longer needs the provision
 

Before a EHC plan ends 

We will write to the you to inform you that we intend cease the EHCP (Educational, Health and Care Plan) and set out the reasons why. This is known as a 'cease to maintain notice'. You will have 15 days to let us know whether you are happy for us to cease the EHCP.

Contact the SEN team:

Timeline for assessment not being met

There are some circumstances where we may not be able to meet the 20 weeks time limit for the finalised Education, Health and Care Plan. The reasons could be:
     
  • We require advice from the nursery, school or college the child or young person attends and it has been closed for a period longer than 4 weeks
  • During the assessment process exceptional personal circumstances of the child, the child's parent or the young person has affected the ability to fully complete the assessment
  • The child, child's parent or young person was away from the borough for a longer period than 4 weeks

If none of the above reasons relate to your circumstances. please contact the SEND Team, and speak with your SEND Case Officer.


If you are dissatisfied with this, you can make a complaint to the council. Go to our complaints and compliments web page for further details.

You can also speak to the  Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) for further guidance and support.

My child's school is not following the Education, Health and Care Plan

If you have concerns that the EHCP is not being followed you can speak with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) who will be able to give you advice and guidance. 

To raise your concerns with the school speak to your child's schools SENCO or the Head Teacher.

If you still feel the situation has not been resolved you can contact the following services for help and support.

Child at a maintained school by the Local Authority:    

  • SEN Governor      
      
Child at an Academy and free school:       
       
  • Local advisory board (Governing Body) or board of Trustees   
  • Secretary of State for Education
  

Legal rights

For guidance on the rights of a child or young person with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their parents or carers visit the following websites:

 
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