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Special Educational Needs

How will my child’s needs be assessed? The statutory assessment process

If your child still does not seem to be making enough progress or needs a lot of extra help, the local authority (LA) may decide to carry out a statutory assessment of your child’s needs. This is only required for a very small number of children (about 2% of the total school population) and is only necessary if the school or early education setting cannot provide all the help that your child needs. It is usually only required for children who have the most significant and long-term special educational needs which require a very detailed assessment.

When you, the early education setting or school asks the LA to carry out a statutory assessment, the LA normally has six weeks to decide whether to do so.

The LA will write to you and:

  • tell you that it is considering carrying out a statutory assessment
  • detail the procedures for an assessment and timescales
  • give you the name of an officer at the LA who will be your point of contact
  • tell you about the Parent Partnership Service who will be able to help you with independent advice and support
  • ask for your views, the views of your child’s school about your child’s special educational needs and for details of anyone you would particularly like the LA to talk to about your child.

The LA will then decide whether a statutory assessment is necessary.

If an assessment is necessary they will ask a number of professionals to give their views on your child such as:

  • your child’s early education setting or school
  • an educational psychologist
  • a doctor
  • social care or therapists (if necessary).

You will be asked for your views again. You can also recommend any other people or organisations you know whose views may be helpful in the assessment of your child. The LA will also ask what your child thinks about his/her special educational needs.

The assessment may take up to 26 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 make a statement of SEN for your child. This is a legal document and provides a detailed guide to your child’s special educational needs, the educational provision and other arrangements needed to meet them.

Before a final statement is written, the LA will send you a ‘proposed statement’. The LA will also explain how you can give your views on the proposed statement before it is finalised. You will also need to consider which school you choose for your child. You have 15 days to comment on all parts of the statement. You can ask for a meeting with the LA to discuss the draft statement. You will have a further 15 days after this meeting to send in any comments you have.

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

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