Guidance notes for a parental request to carry out an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment

As set out in the 'SEND Code of Practice' on GOV.UK, you have a specific right to ask your local authority to carry out an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment for a child or young person (from birth until they are 25 years old) if you are:

  • The child's parent
  • A young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25, and
  • A person acting on behalf of a school or post 16 institution (ideally, this should be with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where possible)

Other people can also make their local authority aware of a child or young person who has (or may have) special education needs. This is especially important if they think an EHC needs assessment is needed. Anyone can do this, but some examples are foster carers, health and social care professionals, youth offending teams or probation services.

Before an EHC needs assessment request is made, it's really important that discussions take place between everyone involved to make sure that the child or young person gets the right support, in the right way.

The educational setting should be involved in these discussions and it may be appropriate to include other professionals from health or social care services.

Information can be shared about the identified special educational needs to determine what support is needed and whether this can be provided within the school's available resources.

In many cases, support can be provided in this way through a SEN Support Plan without needing an EHC needs assessment.

If further advice and guidance is required, the person considering a request for an EHC needs assessment should contact their local Inclusion Service area team.

Should you wish to seek further advice and support, you can contact Lancashire SEND IAS.

Completing the parental request form

You can make a request using this form:

General guidance

If an EHC needs assessment is still needed, it is important that you follow this guidance when you complete the 'Parental request to carry out an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment' form:

  • Use bullet points, where possible, throughout the form to keep writing concise and easy to follow.
  • Make sure the child's/young person's details are completed in full.
  • Please give full details for parent(s)/person(s) responsible for the child/young person. There is room for details to be recorded separately if applicable. For example, if parents live at separate addresses or if a social worker shares parental responsibility.
  • Provide a list of all professionals involved with the child/young person, both currently and within the last 12 months. Also state whether the child/young person is receiving any support from educational support services (e.g. an Educational Psychologist or Specialist Teacher), health and/or social care (if reports are available please attach and indicate in the table). The people listed here will be notified of the request for an EHC needs assessment.

Section A

Child or Young Person's Relevant History

  • This section is specific to the child or young person and should contain relevant information regarding the child's history.
  • Do not include information regarding the child or young person's special educational needs or the support you feel is needed in this section, as there is a section about this later in the form.
  • Do not discuss or include the surnames of other children.
  • If the child/young person has a sibling(s), you can put it in this section (do not include dates of birth, but do make reference to how many years older/younger the sibling is to the child/young person).

What are your child's/young person's hopes and dreams for the future?

  • This section is about what the child/young person wants for their future. It can include everything they might want from life - from being happy, to having friends, getting a job or becoming more independent.
  • It is important to show what is important to your child for the future, as this will enable the people supporting him/her to develop action plans that take their hopes and dreams into account.
  • Also record how the child/young person's views on their future were gathered, e.g. through conversation, an activity using pictures/picture cards, through discussion with family or people that support the child/young person.

What are your hopes and dreams for your child's/young person's future?

  • It is important to share your own hopes and dreams for the child's future, in both the short and longer term, even if these are different to what your child might want.

Section B

Strengths and Special Educational Needs

This sections covers the strengths and needs of the child/young person. Please give any information you think is relevant.

  • Strengths - these are the things that are working well for your child/young person. What do you consider are their gifts, skills and achievements?
  • Needs – these are what you consider your child/young person's difficulties to be. What things are making it difficult for them to access the curriculum and progress?

You might want to provide information from one or more of the areas listed below, this will depend on what is relevant for your child/young person. You will need to consider whether the information you provide is typical for your child's age/stage of development, as this would not be identified as a Special Educational Need. The examples given below are not exhaustive but should be used as a guide when considering the information you wish to share:

  • Cognition and learning – how do you feel they are progressing in school, are there things your child is making good progress with? Are there particular aspects of learning that they find difficult? Do they understand what is asked of them in school?
  • Communication and Interaction – how does your child like to communicate with adults and other children? Do they have any difficulties with speech and language? Do they socialise with other children and make friends?
  • Social, emotional and mental health – how does your child manage emotionally? Are there situations when your child feels more able to cope and why do you think this is? Do you have any worries about their behaviour or their mental health?
  • Physical and/or sensory – Does your child have difficulties with larger movements (gross motor skills) such as running, walking, climbing, and balance? Do they find smaller movements (fine motor skills) difficult such as fastening buttons, holding a pen, hand eye co-ordination? Consider if your child appears particularly sensitive to sensory experiences, e.g. smells, tastes, noises, the feel of certain materials, lights.
  • Independence and self-help – Is your child/young person able to dress/undress and feed himself/herself independently. Are there other self help skills that they struggle with in school? Is your child/young person able to organise himself/herself for and during the school day? Is he/she able to safely and independently make their way from one class to another (where appropriate)? Do they have an awareness of danger and how to keep themselves safe?

Section C

Health needs

  • Does your child have health difficulties or needs that impact on them at home and/or at school? Please provide details.
  • What support, if any, is your child receiving from the health service, either at home or in school? (This may include support from your GP, Specialist Therapist, Paediatrician and Psychiatrist. Please provide details of the support provided) Section D Social Care needs  Do your child's difficulties or needs impact your family at home? Please provide details.
  • Are you receiving any social care support? (Please provide details including the name of your social worker and details of the support provided)

Section E

Outcomes and Provision

This section should identify what you want for your child in terms of outcomes and what support you feel will help them achieve this.

  • Outcomes - what outcomes do you want for your child/young person by the end of this stage (or phase) of their education? (E.g. by the end of their reception year, key stage 1, 2, 3 etc.)
  • Provision - what support has worked well and what support do you think is still needed to help them achieve these outcomes?

Is there anything that you feel is not working well for your child/young person? Have you discussed your concerns with the educational placement and if so, what was their response?

  • As mentioned previously, it is extremely important to have discussions with your child's educational setting and with other relevant professionals before submitting a request for an EHC needs assessment. This sharing of information about what has been working/not working helps in shaping action plans and evaluating the effectiveness of the support that is in place.
  • Record your views about what you feel is not working well and how this has been addressed so far.
  • Please contact the SEND Team for further advice before you submit your request. They will be able to provide further guidance about what will happen next.

For more information about what happens after you submit a request see education, health and care (EHC) plans.