Decision making - needs assessment

Decisions about requests for EHC needs assessment’s and decisions about whether to issue an EHC Plan are made by the SEND Panel. The panel is made up of professionals from the SEN Team, Educational Psychology Team, Speech and language Service and head teachers / SENCOs from local schools and other professionals.

The SEND panel will be looking for evidence that the child or young person has a significant difficulty in learning compared to other child or young person of the same age and that the child or young person has not made expected progress despite the setting taking relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet their special educational need.

The SEND panel will need to consider whether the child or young person now requires support that is different/additional to the provision normally available in a mainstream setting.

Please visit our EHC needs assessment and planning process overview page to learn more about the decision making process including what happens when a decision is made to carry out an EHC needs assessment and what happens when a decision is made not to carry our this assessment.

Preparing and issuing EHC plans

Following the needs assessment, a decision will be made about whether to prepare and issue an EHC plan. In accordance with our statutory duties this should be completed within 20 weeks.

If we decide not to issue an EHC plan

It is important to remember that an EHC plan is only necessary for children and young people with more complex and enduring needs.

Following the needs assessment, if it is decided that we will not be preparing and issuing and EHC plan we will tell you within 16 weeks of starting the assessment process.

The child or young person being assessed will continue to receive support from their nursery, school or educational setting which might continue to be through SEN support. All the reports and assessments carried out during the needs assessment will assist settings to review their support.

Your right to appeal

Following a decision not to issue an EHC plan you have two months in which to appeal the decision to a tribunal. The decision letter will give you more information about this including who to contact, your right to request the support of an independent advocate and the expected timeframes. You can also request a formal mediation meeting.

Find out more about mediation

If we decide to issue an EHC plan

If the panel decision is that your child or young person’s needs cannot be met within their current nursery, school or educational setting’s arrangements, the EHC co-ordinator will use the information gathered during the needs assessment, along with your parent/carer and child or young person’s views, wishes and feelings to draft a plan. This draft will include the resources identified as needed to deliver the plan which will be agreed and allocated. 

The draft plan will also set out the long term educational, health and social care outcomes that your child or young person will be aiming to achieve and the support that will be provided to help them to meet these goals.

Throughout this process we will explain the help that is available and involve you in decisions about how any funding is used. In some cases you may be able to receive a personal budget.

Once the plan has been written, a draft will be sent out which will not contain the name of the education setting the child or young person will attend. The parent/carer or young person will be given 15 days to comment on the draft and to ask for a particular school or other institution to be named in it.

A meeting to discuss the draft plan can be requested during this time by parents, carers or a young person if over 16 years old. At that meeting, a request for a specific education setting can be made.

You and your child or young person should be central to developing the plans and involved at every stage. We will discuss the plan with you, and you will be able to comment on the draft plan before the final one is issued.

Find out more about naming a school

The process from needs assessment to completion of an EHCP should be completed within 20 weeks. 

If you disagree with the content of the plan

There is an opportunity to make changes to the EHCP by liaising with the EHC coordinator. You have the legal right to appeal under specific circumstances. Learn more about what you can do if you are unhappy with our decision.