Skip to content

Key facts: Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments

Last Updated 29/07/2021 1:00pm

What is an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment?

An Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment is for children and young people who may need special educational provision to be arranged by the Local Authority (Devon County Council).

It is a joint assessment from professionals who are or who may need to be involved with an individual to provide advice about specific provision to meet their needs.

For the few children and young people who have complex and long-term needs, we may need to consider a statutory assessment of their education, health and social care needs.

An EHC Needs Assessment may result in an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). When it does not, the information gathered can be used to inform the SEN support which the school, college or setting provides.

Children and young people can have an EHCP between the ages of 0 and 25 whilst in education or training. EHCPs are not required or issued to access higher education (university), but they can be used to inform the other support available at university.

When a young person is aged 16 or over we expect to work directly with the young person; this of course can include their family.

Who is this guidance for?

This guidance is for:

  • children, young people and families and people who support them
  • anyone meeting the needs of the child/young person at SEN support including:
    • staff from educational settings
    • Local Authority practitioners, including education and social care staff
  • health practitioners, including GPs, paediatricians, therapists and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) staff.

What are special educational needs (SEN)?

Special educational needs are clearly defined in the SEND Code of Practice

Taken from the SEND Code of Practice – page 15

  1. A child/young person has SEN if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for him or her.
  2. A child of compulsory school age or a young person has a learning difficulty or disability if he or she:
    • has a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others of the same age, or
    • has a disability which prevents or hinders him or her from making use of facilities of a kind generally provided for others of the same age in mainstream schools or mainstream post-16 institutions.
  3. For children aged two or more, special educational provision is educational or training provision that is additional to or different from that made generally for other children or young people of the same age by mainstream schools, maintained nursery schools, mainstream post16 institutions or by relevant early years providers. For a child under two years of age, special educational provision means educational provision of any kind.
  4. A child under compulsory school age has special educational needs if he or she is likely to fall within the definition, in the paragraph above, when they reach compulsory school age or would do so if special educational provision was not made for them (Section 20 Children and Families Act 2014).

When would an EHC Needs Assessment be appropriate?

Most children/young people with SEN have their needs met in their local school or college through a graduated response. A few with long-term complex needs and/or disabilities may need an EHC Needs Assessment.

It may then be necessary for the special educational provision to be secured by the Local Authority. Secured means that the Local Authority will make the decisions about the support and type of school, working with the child/young person and their family and provide additional resources and funding if this is required.

An EHC Needs Assessment may be appropriate when the child/young person:

  • has SEN of the nature, extent and context that means they need specialist support
  • is not making progress, despite a range of appropriate provision and support
  • needs specialist and/or targeted SEN provision which cannot reasonably be provided from within the resources in the school or college

Resources include funding in the school/college and support from professionals provided by education, health and care services

We use evidence to decide whether a needs assessment is appropriate.

Who can request an EHC Needs Assessment?

Many people can request an assessment; it is easier if there is enough information provided in the request to allow us to make a decision about this.

This can be helped by schools and colleges working closely with families about the needs of children and young people and being able to evidence what works, or does not work for the individual.

Taken from the SEND Code of Practice – Page 143

  1. The following people have a specific right to ask a local authority to conduct an education, health and care needs assessment for a child or young person aged between 0 and 25:
    • the child’s parent
    • a young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25, and
    • a person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution (this should ideally be with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where possible)
  2. In addition, anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN to the attention of the local authority, particularly where they think an EHC needs assessment may be necessary…

How to request an EHC Needs Assessment in Devon

It is important to work with children, young people and parents/carers as partners in the EHC Needs Assessment process.

This is how you request an EHC Needs Assessment:

Schools, colleges, and education settings

  • Complete a request using Devon’s EHC Hub.
  • Add relevant, up-to-date evidence to the form as the supporting documents.

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

Usually, when a young person and/or their parent/carers want to request an EHC Needs Assessment this is done in partnership with the school, college or setting in discussion with the SENCO.

But

The young person and/or their parents/carers and other people who know the child or young person can request an EHC needs assessment independently.

The form makes it easier to get the information we need.

If you can’t complete a section of the form, it’s ok – just complete the sections that you can do.

  • Add relevant, up to date evidence as an appendix.
  • Send your request by post to SEN 0-25 Team, Room L102, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, EX2 4QD or by email to specialeducation0-25-mailbox@devon.gov.uk

What happens when a request is received?

After a request is made, we have 6 weeks to decide if they would undertake an EHC Needs Assessment. The information provided at the ‘request’ stage is used to make a decision about whether the child or young person may have special educational needs and if this may require us to issue an EHCP.

If an EHC Needs Assessment is not needed this decision is sent through Devon’s EHC Hub (unless you have requested for it to be sent by another method), however, if it is required the next steps to expect are:

  1. The SEN team will gather evidence and information from the child/young person and family plus people who work closely with them.
  2. If the EHC Needs Assessment results in an EHCP, it should be produced within 16 weeks of the initial request.
    To create a plan, professionals from education, health and care work with the child or young person and their parent(s) to consider outcomes, needs, and what support can be put in place to help them achieve.
  3. The SEN team sends a draft plan to the parent (and young person if over 16) to consider and to enable them to suggest a preferred school or college. They have 15 days to respond to the draft.
  4. We will consider the response received from the draft and may make changes.
  5. The draft is then sent to education settings to consider.
    Any school requested or schools we wish to consider have 15 days to confirm they can meet the child or young person’s needs.
    Devon will always consult with the parental (young person if over 16) preference school/college.
  6. We send out the final EHCP, including the name of the school/college that has been decided.

The whole process from the EHC Needs Assessment request to issuing of an EHCP should take no more than 20 weeks.

How do we communicate decisions?

Decision 1 – to carry out a Needs Assessment

The young person and/or their parents/carers will receive an email notification* through the Hub, from the SEN 0-25 Team informing them of the decision about an assessment within 6 weeks from the date the request was received.

If the decision is not to go ahead with an EHC Needs Assessment, the reasons will be stated clearly on the Hub and as a downloadable letter. This information is also sent to the child or young person’s school, college or education setting and/or the person who made the request.

Decision 2 – to issue a plan

The young person and/or their parents/carers will receive an email notification* through the Hub from the SEN 0-25 Team informing them of the decision about a plan within 16 weeks from the date the request was received. This will also include the draft plan.

If the decision is not to go ahead with an EHCP, the reasons will be stated clearly in the letter. This information is also sent to the child or young person’s school, college or education setting and/or the person who made the request.

Decision 3 – to name a school/college and confirm content of plan

The young person and/or their parents/carers will receive an email notification* through the Hub from the SEN 0-25 Team informing them of the decision about their response to the draft plan within 20 weeks from the date the request was received.

This will also include the final EHCP naming a school/college.

If the decisions result in disagreements

At each decision point there is a right of appeal and this will be clearly explained in each letter. The SEN team will seek to resolve any disagreements, working in partnership with families.

*Parents can request to receive all notifications that are sent through the Hub system to be sent using an alternative method.

Who makes these decisions?

The two important decisions whether or not to:

  • start an EHC Needs Assessment
  • issue an EHCP

are recommended by senior SEN officers and moderated by a panel of professionals.

The panel will comprise of:

  • senior manager SEN 0-25 Team
  • educational psychologist
  • Devon’s Designated Medical Officer (DMO)
  • social work manager

Plus it could also have SENCO or headteacher representatives.

The panel looks at the evidence and ensures that the decisions recommended have been made fairly and in accordance with the law.

What evidence is considered?

Decision 1 – to carry out a Needs Assessment

We will carry out an EHC Needs Assessment for children and young people who have SEN and there is clear evidence that a EHCP may be needed. This evidence can be demonstrated by:

  1. Information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person’s SEN
    Evidence that helps show this:
    Description of the history and current situation, explanation of the needs and how this presents in their current school or setting
  2. Academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress
  3. The action already being taken by the early years provider, school/college to meet the child or young person’s SEN
    Evidence that helps show this:
    Description of the graduated responses, including reviews, referrals to professional services/assessments, advice and use of advice to support
  4. Where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided
    Evidence that helps show this:
    Full description of how, when and level of frequency of interventions and support, explaining what is additional to and different from and the resources that have been used to support this
  5. The child or young person’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs, drawing on relevant evidence from clinicians and other health professionals and what has been done to meet these by other agencies
    Evidence that helps show this:
    Full description of how external advice has been sought and implemented

If the young person is over 18

  1. We will consider whether the young person requires additional time (in comparison to the majority of others of the same age who do not have special educational needs) to complete their education or training.
  2. Remaining in education or training should help young people to achieve education and training outcomes, building on what they have learned before and preparing them for adult life.

Decision 2 – to issue a plan

We consider if the needs are well understood and if the support in place is well matched.

If this is the case then a plan may not be required. Evidence that helps makes this decision is demonstrated by

  1. Information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person’s SEN that confirms what was available before the assessment
    Evidence from the assessment:
    Explanation of the needs and how these present from educational psychologist, SEN advisors, health and care professionals – the Local Authority seeks this advice and evidence
    This can include advice from other professionals who may have been involved
  2. The action already being taken by the early years provider, school/college was well matched to meet the child or young person’s SEN
    Evidence that helps show this:
    Advice and professional assessments matched to information from school or college about graduated response and provision in place

However, where progress is not being made or is not sufficient despite ‘additional to and different from’ intervention and support, we will consider:

  1. Can the provision required reasonably be provided within the resources available or is it necessary for the local authority to secure a specialist school/college or specify the SEN provision in a mainstream school/college
    Evidence that helps show this:
    Professional reports about the SEN provision recommended detailing how, when and level of frequency of interventions and support, explaining what is additional to and different from, highlighting the specialist interventions or settings that may be needed from their services

Decision 3 – to name a school/college and confirm content of plan

Content

When the draft is returned by the young person or parents the SEN officer will consider the comments. Where changes are suggested and agreed the draft will be amended and issued as quickly as possible.

If the changes are not agreed we can still issue the plan, however, in all cases the SEN officer will seek to resolve any issues first. The changes proposed may not be agreed if the assessment has not identified the need.

Naming the school/college

Schools/Colleges are considered by SEN officers considering the needs of the individual in the plan and the responses from schools/colleges who have been consulted. There are three considerations in this decision making:

  1. Is it suitable for their SEN and the provision required?
    The school/college will be asked to demonstrate what they could or could not do to meet the needs in the plan.
    They are expected to make reasonable adjustments and steps to meet needs.
  2. Will the education of others be incompatible?
    The school/college will be asked to demonstrate how adding this individual and the SEN provision needed will affect others.
    We would expect to see very specific reasons why it would be incompatible and that reasonable adjustments could not be made to remove any obstacles.
  3. Is this a reasonable cost to public funds?
    Where there is a choice of schools/colleges that are both suitable and the education of others is compatible, then the costs will be compared.
    We are responsible for managing the public costs effectively.

In considering the above three conditions, we will name the young person’s/parental preference if it is one of the following settings:

We will also consider other schools and settings but there may be other issues for consideration, such as:

  • is it a registered school?
    Children of compulsory school age cannot legally be on roll if it is not.
  • are there any safeguarding issues?
    We will not put children at risk.
  • Is this quality provision?
    Children are entitled to a good standard of education.

Contact us

Special Education 0-25 Team
Room L102
County Hall
Topsham Road
Exeter
EX2 4QD
Tel: 01392 380434
Email: specialeducation0-25-mailbox@devon.gov.uk


Top