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

An EHCP is drawn up by the local authority after an EHC needs assessment has been carried out.

If your child or young person has or may have special educational needs (SEN) that cannot be met by the help available at their early years setting, school or college/educational setting through quality first teaching and SEND support as outlined in the Graduated Response, you can ask for a needs assessment for an EHC plan. 

A needs assessment looks in detail at a child or young person’s 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 or young person’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  

The local authority can be asked to carry out an EHC needs assessment if your child or young person is aged 0 to 25. Young people themselves can request an EHC needs assessment if they are aged between 16 and 25, and can be supported by their family or advocates working on their behalf.

The child or young person’s education setting, working in partnership with you, can also make an application for an EHC needs assessment using the Education Health and Care Needs Assessment Request Form.

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 EHC needs assessment?

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

The following people can also tell 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 justice teams, probation services or those responsible for education in custody, or a family friend. 

How to ask for an EHC needs assessment

You can apply for an EHC Needs Assessment in whatever format you like, including by email to the SEND team at EHCNA@bcpcouncil.gov.uk or by post to:

SEND Team Manager, SEND Team, BCP Council, C&YPL Offices, Dolphin Centre, Poole, BH15 1SA

You could also use the SENDiass request for EHC needs assessment template.  

The child or young person’s education setting, working in partnership with you, can also make an application for an EHC needs assessment using the Education Health and Care Needs Assessment Request Form.

It is helpful to provide reports and letters from your child or young person’s education setting, or Doctor and any other assessments that have been written about your child or young person.

You can also write about your child or young person’s needs and how long they have had them.

You can use the one-page profile template in the downloads section or create a one-page template of your own. There are lots of examples online, including these from Sheffkids or Helen Sanderson Associates

What happens when the local authority receives a request for an assessment?

When we receive a request for assessment, we have six weeks from the date the request is received to consider if an assessment is necessary.

To help with decision making, wherever possible, the case will be discussed with the SEND Panel  

When a decision is made we will tell:  

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

What happens if the local authority decide to go ahead with an assessment?

If we decide to go ahead with an assessment, we'll make sure you are included from the start and given opportunities to share your views and information. 

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

Read about the EHC needs assessment process.

What happens if the local authority decides not to go ahead with an assessment?

If we decide not to carry out an assessment, we’ll write to you and tell you other ways your child or young person/you can be supported in the educational setting.   

You and your child or young person will be given the opportunity to meet with us to talk about our decision. You have a right to appeal the decision and seek independent advice and we will give you information on how to do this. 

Further help and information

If you have questions about the EHC Needs Assessment process you can contact the BCP Council SEND Statutory Services Team at SENDbso@bcpcouncil.gov.uk or by phone on 01202 128880.

SENDiass can also provide information, advice and support.