How to request an EHC assessment

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs assessment.

Who can apply for an EHC needs assessment?

The following people can make a request for an EHC needs assessment:

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

When to apply for an EHC needs assessment

An Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment is the first step to getting an EHC plan. The legal test that the Local Authority (LA) must consider is:

  • does the child/YP have or may have SEN and
  • it may be necessary for SEN provision to be made
  • does the YP over 18 need additional time in comparison to their peers, to complete their education and training

How to apply for an EHC needs assessment

If you are making the request, you will need to complete the following and send to the locality team in your area, contact details can be found here:  SEN Team at Dorset Local Authority (LA)

  • a covering letter – suggested covering letter
  • complete the Summary of Parent or Summary of Young Person’s views. Explain any difficulties, describe any extra support your child/YP has already received. Say why your child/YP needs more help.

The LA must tell you in writing of their decision within 6 weeks of your application.

If the LA agree to assess:

The LA must ask for advice and information from:

  • the child/YP and parent whose views, wishes and feelings must be considered
  • the nursery, school, college or setting your child/YP attends
  • specialist teachers, if your child/YP has a vision or hearing impairment
  • medical advice
  • an educational psychologist
  • social care advice
  • for a YP in Year 9 (age 14) or above, advice about preparing for adulthood and independent living. Link to preparing for adulthood
  • advice from any person requested by you as a parent/YP including youth offending teams

Advice and information requested by the LA should be provided within 6 weeks.

If your family is not already getting support from social care, you can ask the LA to do a separate social care assessment. 

If the LA refuses to do an EHC assessment:

If your child/YP has been refused an EHC needs assessment, the LA must send this decision in writing. You can appeal this decision to an independent tribunal. This must be done within 2 months of the date of the decision letter, or 1 month from the date of the mediation certificate – whichever is later.  

If the LA decides to issue an EHC plan

You will receive a draft EHC plan, you have at least 15 days to communicate your views to the LA about the contents of the plan. The final plan must be issued within a maximum of 20 weeks of the initial request for an assessment.

If the LA refuse to issue an EHC plan

An EHC needs assessment does not always lead to a child/YP receiving an EHC plan. For example, the local authority might decide that the child/YP’s needs can be met by the setting. Further information on SEN support

If the LA is not going to issue a plan, they must write to you no later than 16 weeks from the date the request for an EHC assessment was made. You will have the right to appeal, and the LA must give you information about this. 

Dorset Council Local Offer – EHCP information 

Contact us

For further information and advice, please contact us