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Special Educational Needs

The Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment process

Request for assessment

An EHC needs assessment can be requested by you (the child’s parent), the school or college, or by a young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25. Children and young people under 19 in youth custodial establishments and the person in charge of the relevant youth accommodation also have the right to request an assessment for an EHC plan. In addition, anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN to the attention of the local authority.

Requests for an EHC needs assessment should be sent in writing or by email to Special Educational Needs (SEN) Service, Children's Services Department, Hampshire County Council, Elizabeth II Court North, The Castle, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8UG, email childrens.services@hants.gov.uk

Proposal to assess

As soon as the request is received a letter will be sent to you outlining what the assessment process will involve and giving you the name of an officer in the SEN Service who can provide assistance. This person is known as the Named Officer. You can also have access to impartial information advice and support.

There is a period of 25 days for you to send in comments on the proposal to assess. Within six weeks the local authority will decide whether or not to proceed with the assessment and inform you by letter of the decision and the reasons for it. If the local authority decide not to carry out an assessment you will have the right of appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability). The local authority will provide you with details about the appeal process, Support4SEND (formerly Parent Partnership Service) and access to mediation and disagreement resolution services. If the young person is over 16 they are able to appeal themselves.

EHC needs assessment

If the local authority decides an assessment should go ahead, you can request support from an Independent Supporter.

The local authority will seek advice and information from the following:

  • Parents (in addition to your own comments you can include any independent written advice you have obtained)
  • Your child
  • Early years setting, school or college (headteacher/principal, SENCo and teachers)
  • Health care professional
  • Educational psychologist
  • Social care
  • Any other relevant people (eg specialist teacher adviser, speech and language therapist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist etc)
  • Where a child or young person is in or beyond Year 9, advice and information in relation to provision to assist the child or young person in preparation for adulthood and independent living.

You can attend any examination or assessment of your child.

The assessment should take no more than 20 weeks to complete.

Once all of the advice and comments have been collected about your child’s special educational needs, the local authority will decide whether to write an EHC plan for your child. This provides a detailed guide to your child’s special educational needs, the educational provision and other arrangements needed to meet them.

Before a final EHC plan is written, the local authority will send you a draft EHC plan. The local authority will also explain how you can give your views on the draft EHC plan before it is finalised. You will also need to consider which early years setting, school or college you nominate for your child. You have 15 days to comment on all parts of the draft EHC plan. You can ask for a meeting with the local authority to discuss the draft EHC plan. You will have a further 15 days after this meeting to send in any comments you have.

The final EHC plan will then be made. It comes into force immediately.

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