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Some children and young people with special educational needs may need more support than a typical mainstream nursery, school, or college can provide. These children may need a statutory education, health and care (EHC) assessment to work out how much help they need and if necessary, record this extra help in a legally binding education, health and care plan (EHCP).

We (Hertfordshire County Council) lead the assessment process and will involve education colleagues, settings, health and other professionals, yourself and your child or young person too.



Who can make a request?

You have the right to make a request for an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment if your child or young person has a learning difficulty or disability that's holding them back at nursery, school or college and you think they might benefit from extra help. Your child may need a lot of adult support for most or all of the school day for example. They might need a large amount of advice from specialist services, therapies, special equipment or education access arrangements. Or your child may want to go to a special school where facilities and staff offer specialist support.

Parents of children and young people aged 0 - 24

As a parent of a child or young person with SEND, you can make a request for an EHC assessment on their behalf. This includes children aged between 0 - 5 who may not have started attending any early years setting or school.

Young people aged 16 - 25

Young people aged between 16- 25 can make a request for an EHC assessment themselves. However, if your young person struggles to understand, remember or communicate decisions about the educational support they need, then as their parent or carer you can make the request on their behalf.

Children and young people in custody

Children and young people under 19 in youth custodial establishments also have the right to request an EHC assessment. The child’s parent, the young person or professionals working with them can ask the local authority (LA) to conduct an EHC needs assessment while they are still detained.

Early years settings, schools or colleges

Early years practitioners, school or college staff can also request an EHC assessment on behalf of a child or young person. Ideally this should be done with the knowledge and agreement of the parent of the child or young person and/or the young person. 

Carers and professionals

Additionally, foster carers and health and social care professionals can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEND to our (Hertfordshire County Council's) attention, particularly if they think an EHC assessment may be necessary. This also should be done ideally with the knowledge and agreement of the parent of the child or young person and/or the young person.

Preparing to make a request

Before making a request for an EHC assessment, you should prepare by considering your child or young person's goals and barriers to learning.

It's useful to gather reports or evidence about:

  • specific difficulties, even if they have no formal diagnoses yet 

  • how these difficulties impact on your child or young person's learning and development

  • things that have already been tried successfully or that have not had the desired impact.

The decision to carry out an EHC assessment- or not to- can only be taken based on the information that’s provided, so it’s worth getting support on this.

How we decide whether to agree to an EHC assessment

We look at evidence that shows that despite the early years provider, school or college having taken action to support the needs of the child or young person with SEND, that they still have not made the expected progress.

We'll consider:

  • evidence of the child or young person’s academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress.

  • Information about the child or young person’s SEND, including physical, emotional and social development and health needs, drawing on evidence from health professionals.

  • Evidence of the action already being taken by the educational setting to meet the child or young person’s SEND.

  • Evidence that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of additional intervention and support over and above what is usually provided.

  • Where a young person is aged over 18 we'll consider whether they'll need extra time (in comparison to others of the same age who do not have SEND) to complete their education or training.

If we decide to carry out a statutory EHC assessment

Once we've received your request a SEN officer will be allocated to your case and will contact you to explain the process. At this point, we'll establish how you  can be best kept informed and supported to take part as fully as possible in the decision-making process.

You can ask your SEN officer for additional support if you require help such as translated documents or because you may have additional needs.

If the request has been made by anyone other than the parent or young person (i.e. by a teacher or health practitioner) then we'll let the child’s parent or young person know so that they have enough time to provide their views also.

We'll make a decision whether or not to carry out an EHC assessment and communicate that decision within 6 weeks of receiving the request.

If the request has been made by anyone other than the parent or young person (i.e. by a teacher or health practitioner) we'll let the child’s parent or young person know so that they have enough time to provide their views also.

If we decide not to carry out an EHC assessment

We'll give our reasons for not agreeing to an EHC assessment, and let you know that you can request a meeting with your SEN officer to discuss.

We'll provide feedback collected during the process (including evidence from professionals) that the parent, young person, early years provider, school or college might find useful.

Even if your request for an EHC assessment has been turned down, special educational support should be available to you through your school or educational setting. Children and young people without an EHCP will continue to receive SEN support in their mainstream nursery, school or college.

 If we decide not to carry out an EHC assessment, you have the right to appeal within 2 months of that decision. We'll give you information and guidance on how to appeal and services to contact for support.

You can read more about mediation and tribunals.

0300 123 4043 - Hertfordshire County Council customer call centre

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