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SEND Assessment and Planning - a guide

The whole assessment and planning process from the time the request for assessment is received until the final EHC Plan is issued can last up to 20 weeks.


Stage 1 – Request an ECH Assessment

  • To request a EHC assessment contact the Education, Health Care and Assessment Team on 01709 822660
  • The following people can make a formal request for an EHC needs assessment:
    • A parent.
    • A young person themselves if over 16.
    • A school or college.
  • You will need to fill in an assessment form which will need to be supported by clear, appropriate documentary evidence.
  • Support in requesting the assessment is available for parents from SENDIASS, and Early Help for young people.
  • Once evidence has been assessed, a member of the ECH Assessment Team will contact the young person, parent and others involved to let them know of the decision. The statutory time limit for this is six weeks but in most cases we will aim to respond within two weeks.

What happens next?

  • If the local authority decides to proceed with a statutory assessment, the EHC Assessment Coordinator makes contact with the family to introduce themselves as the key point of contact, to plan the process with the family and answer any immediate queries
  • If the local authority decides not to proceed with a statutory assessment, the SEN support plan for the child or young person will continue, supported by a lead professional or educational psychologist. The reasons will be made clear and opportunities to discuss and resolve any issues given. You have the right to appeal the decision.

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Stage 2 - Listening and learning - gathering advice

The EHC Assessment Coordinator will:

  • contact the family to discuss and plan the process, and set a date for a planning meeting around week 12
  • attempt to reduce any burdens on the family
  • identify and request any additional reports or assessments required
  • gather all existing and additional evidence, making contact with Health and Social Care and other agencies and specialists as required
  • keep in touch with the family and begin to draft the EHC plan

The child/young person and their family are able to contribute directly to the plan and will be in receipt of the draft plan and supporting evidence collated through the statutory assessment process.


Stage 3 – Agreeing the plan

The EHC Assessment Coordinator will:

  • Complete a draft plan, contact health and social care managers, and use established criteria to prepare indicative budgets ready for the week 12 planning meeting.
  • Present draft plans to the SEND Panel to:
    • decide whether an EHC plan should be issued and if so the intensity and type of SEN provision necessary
    • clarify indicative budgets
  • If the outcome of the statutory assessment is that an EHC plan is not appropriate the reasons will be set out clearly in a letter to the parent and referrer together with information on their rights of appeal. A Team Around the Child (TAC) meeting will be offered to discuss the outcome and set out any on-going appropriate support to be delivered by the school/education provider and services.
  • If it is agreed an EHC plan is appropriate the parent, referrer and all involved parties will be advised.

Stage 4 - Finalising the plan

  • The EHC Assessment Coordinator will work with the family to finalise the plan and identify additional resources, provision or placement.
  • The final plan will be issued with a review date set. The plan will need to be reviewed annually, but it is possible with agreement from all parties to have interim reviews regarding particular outcomes.
  • Personal budgets are identified where appropriate

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