Are you aware that if your child is experiencing difficulties in school due to a potential learning difficulty or disability, you can request an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA)? Whether you make the request independently, through the school, or with a solicitor’s help, taking action promptly can make all the difference.
Once the Local Authority receives a request for an EHCNA from a parent, young person, school or solicitor they must determine:
1. whether the child has or may have special educational needs and
2. whether they may need special educational provisions to be made through an EHC plan.
If the Local Authority determines this is the case they must conduct a formal assessment.
Section 36(8) of the Children and Families Act 2014
(8)The local authority must secure an EHC needs assessment for the child or young person if, after having regard to any views expressed and evidence submitted under subsection (7), the authority is of the opinion that—
(a)the child or young person has or may have special educational needs, and
(b)it may be necessary for the special educational provisions to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan.
The Local Authority considers various factors to determine if an assessment is necessary, as outlined in Section 9.14 of the SEND code of practice. These factors include:
• Evidence of the child or young person’s academic attainment or developmental milestones.
• Information about the nature, extent, and context of the child or young person’s SEN.
• Evidence of the action already being taken by the early years provider, school, or post-16 institution to meet the child or young person’s SEN.
• Evidence that progress has only been made as a result of additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided.
• Evidence of the child or young person’s physical, emotional, social, and health-related needs, drawing on relevant evidence from clinicians and other health professionals, and what has been done to meet these needs by other agencies.
Getting in touch with the school and obtaining additional information about your child’s difficulties is crucial. The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) can provide you with more insight into the situation. In most cases, the school will be supportive of your request and may even provide you with further information or a letter of support.
Timescale for assessment
Once an assessment request is made under section 36(1) of the Act, the Local Authority has six weeks to determine if an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment is necessary for the child or young person. In accordance with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014, the local authority must inform the parent or young person of their decision within this timeframe. It’s essential to date your initial assessment request and keep track of important deadline dates.
If an assessment is deemed necessary, the Local Authority will have a further 10 weeks to gather evidence from various sources to determine whether an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) needs to be issued.
They must inform you within 16 weeks of your request for assessment whether they will issue an Education Health and Care Plan.
Support is available.
We can help you request an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) for your child if you suspect they are experiencing difficulties in school due to a learning difficulty or disability. We can guide you through the assessment process and advocate for your child’s education rights. Contact us today to learn more about requesting an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment.