Skip to main content

How to ask for an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

EHCPs are drawn up by the Local Authority after an EHC needs assessment.

If your child has special educational needs (SEN) that can't be met by the help available at their school or educational setting through quality first teaching and SEND support as outlined in the graduated response, you can request a needs assessment for an EHC plan. 

A needs assessment looks in detail at a child or young persons special educational needs and any support that may be needed for them to learn. It includes information from:  

  • the child or young person 
  • the child’s parents/carers 
  • the early years setting, school or college  
  • other health and care professionals who support and work with the child or young person  

We can be asked to carry out an EHC needs assessment if the child or young person:  

  • is in education (including early years education)
  • is under 25   
  • has been receiving extra support for their special educational needs, but isn’t making progress 

SENDiass have produced a guide to EHC Needs Assessment for children and young people. They also have guides for parents and carers

Who can ask for an assessment?

  • the child’s parent or carer or an advocate on their  behalf  
  • the young person themselves if they are aged between 16 and 25 (or an advocate on their behalf) 
  • anyone acting on behalf of the child or young person’s early years setting, school or college with the agreement of the parent/carer or young person   

The following people can also alert the local authority if they feel a child or young person may need an assessment: 

  • a health professional supporting the child or young person, such as a doctor or a health visitor 
  • any other professional working to support the child or young person, including foster carers, social care professionals, youth offending teams, probation services or those responsible for education in custody, or a family friend. 

How to ask for an assessment

If a parent or carer is making a request they can help by submitting all the reports and letters from the child or young persons early years setting, school or college, their doctor and any other assessments that have been written about the child or young person.

They can also write about the child or young persons needs and how long they have had them.

The My Child, My Story form in the downloads section can be used by parents and carers to provide information. 

SENDiass 4 BCP also have a template letter that parents/carers and young people can use to request an EHC Needs Assessment. Visit their website for more information including quick guides to EHC Needs Assessment

Education settings should use the Education Health and Care Needs Assessment Request form in the downloads section to submit requests for assessment. 

What happens when we receive a request for an assessment?

When we receive a request for assessment we have six weeks to consider if an assessment is necessary.

In order to help with decision making, wherever possible, the case will be discussed with the SEND Panel (a panel of relevant professionals across agencies). 

When a decision is made we will notify:  

  • the child or young persons parent/carers 
  • the young person 
  • the health service (relevant Clinical Commissioning Group or NHS England) 
  • local authority social care services  
  • the education setting that the child or young person attends

What happens if we decide to go ahead with an assessment?

If we decide to go ahead with an assessment, we'll make sure the child or young persons parent/carer is included from the start and given opportunities to share views and information. 

If we haven’t already been provided with information, we’ll ask the parent or carer to write to us about the child or young person's needs including any early years setting, school or college reports and an assessment from the medical professionals involved in the child or young person's care.  

Find out more about the EHC needs assessment process.

What happens if we feel an assessment isn’t needed?

If we decide not to carry out an assessment, we'll help the child or young persons parent/ carer find other ways the child or young person can be supported in their early years setting, school or college.  

The parent/carer and child or young person will be given the opportunity to meet with us to discuss our decision. There is a right to appeal the decision and to seek independent advice and we will advise on how to do this. 

Further advice and support

If you have questions about the EHC Needs Assessment process you can contact the BCP SEND Statutory Service team.

Contact details for Bournemouth and Christchurch residents.

Contact details for Poole residents.  

SENDiass 4 BCP can also provide information, support and advice.