Schools and parents can contact their Local Authority requesting an EHC needs assessment of a child / young person. The Local Authority must respond in 6 weeks confirming whether or not they will undertake an assessment. Note that a request for an assessment may be rejected by the Local Authority if they believe it does not meet the criteria. If they refuse, the parent / young person must be informed and has the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
The EHC needs assessment is sometimes called a “statutory assessment” – an assessment that a Local Authority is required to carry out in accordance with statute, in this case the Children and Families Act 2014. It has replaced the old form of statutory assessment under the Education Act 1996.
Once a Local Authority agrees to carry out an EHC needs assessment they must by law seek advice and information from a number of key professionals as part of the process. Based on the evidence they have gathered they must then decide whether they will issue an EHC Plan (EHCP) for that child or young person.
A request for an EHC needs assessment does not need an Educational Psychologist report. However, if one exists it can be submitted as part of the application’s evidence. Some schools and parents may want the child / young person to see an educational psychologist before requesting an EHC assessment, to more clearly understand the nature of their concerns. Note that any contact with an Educational Psychologist regarding that child / young person, that has been recorded (e.g. phone based advise, meeting notes), can also be submitted as evidence.
Once the Local Authority has agreed to the EHC needs assessment, and to undertake an EHCP, they will ask one of their own Local Authority Educational Psychologists to complete a report on the child / young person. They will use information submitted as part of the application to plan this work.