The ECHNA explained


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Who needs an assessment of SEN

A child may need an Education, Health and Care needs assessment if the extra support they are receiving is not helping or they have severe or complex needs. If the assessment is agreed, your child will be issued with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Who can ask for an assessment?

This is usually done by the early years practitioner, but can also be done by a parent.  Other professionals involved with the child may also request an assessment – this should be done with the parent/carer knowledge and agreement.

The Bi-borough SEN Service will let you know within 6 weeks whether they think the child needs one.

How can I request an EHC needs assessment for a child in my setting?

You can access the EHC needs assessment request in the downloads section of this page.

What if the child is younger than 2 years old

It is not always appropriate to carry out an Education Health and Care needs assessment for children who are younger than two years old. However, the SEN Service will consider the most appropriate ways forward and discuss these with parents/carers and professionals as needed. If the decision is not to assess, the parent has to be given information on why and how to appeal if they wish to do so.

SEN Panel

Education, Health and Care needs assessment requests are sent to the SEN Service and are considered by the SEN Panel. The Terms of Reference should give clear information regarding when the panels are held, who attends and what decisions the panel is required to make.

What happens if the decision is to assess the child?

The SEN Service will work with partners in Education, Health and Social Care to complete an assessment within 20 weeks.

A named EHC Coordinator will meet with parents and the practitioner/s in due course.

As part of the assessment, the SEN Service will also contact:

  • The relevant person in your setting (EY Teacher / SENDco)

  • an educational psychologist (EP)

  • specialist teachers from the specialist teaching and learning service if they are already involved
  • a paediatrician or GP
  • a speech and language therapist, an occupational therapist or a physical therapist, if already involved
  • Family Services
  • anyone else the SEN Service, the parent or the EY practitioner think may be advisable

This information will help the SEN Service see how the child’s needs affect his/her access to learning across a range of areas. 

Involving the parent/carer and the child

The child and the parents/carers should be at the centre of the assessment process. The SEN Service will will work in collaboration with the EY seeting and the parents/careres to coordinate any dates for appointments/meetings.

If the SEN Panel decide not to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan

Parents/carers and the EY practitioner will be informed within 16 weeks of starting the EHC needs assessment if they decide not to issue a plan for the child. The SEN Service will invite the parent/carer to a meeting to discuss the decision and possible ways forward. This is called a Next Steps meeting to discuss the support available through the Local Offer.

If the parent/carer disagrees this decision, they have two months to appeal to a tribunal. The parent will be provided the information by the SEN Service on how to appeal, including about information about mediation where an independent third party will seek to informally resolve disagreements.

If the SEN Panel agrees to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan

If the Education Health and Care needs assessment shows that the special educational needs provision required is over and above what is available through the Local Offer, then the Local Authority will issue an EHCP.

Page last reviewed: 01/03/2024

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