The Local Authority recommends that anyone wishing to make a request for an EHC needs assessment for a child/young person, follows the graduated pathway process. If an EHC needs assessment is required, this process will ensure that the necessary evidence is collated to support the request.
An Education, Health and Care Plan is a statutory plan that has replaced a Statement of SEN. An EHC Plan may be needed when a child or young person's educational needs cannot be met with the existing additional resource already delegated to the school. The Local Authority assesses this need based on the evidence provided.
Any parent carers wishing to request an EHC needs assessment should contact their SEN Casework Officer before making their request. Requests can be made in writing and sent to the SEN Casework Team at the address below:
SEN Casework Team
Tel: 01452 427455
How can I request an EHC needs assessment for me (young person aged 16 but under the age of 25)?
If you are a young person aged over 16 but under the age of 25, you can request an EHC needs assessment in the same way. You will need to give your permission for the request, or allow the person acting on your behalf to make the request.
Who can I talk to if I have concerns about support for my child/my support if I am a young person aged 16+?
If there are concerns about support to a young person (over 16) then either the young person themselves or their parent/carer can discuss their concerns with the educational setting they are attending. This setting can refer the young person to the Educational Psychology Service or the Advisory Teaching Service (or both) depending on the nature of the concern. There are also other services available to provide advice and support - such as Occupational Health, Targeted Support Team, CYPS (Children and Young People's Service) and Social Care. All services work together through the Integrated Assessment process and information is drawn together to agree outcomes in a My Plan or My Plan+ Team Around the Child (TAC) meeting. These plans will enable appropriate support to be put in place. If more support is required then an EHC Plan might be considered. Any such request for statutory assessment leading to an EHC Plan being put in place would need to come to the SEND panel with evidence of interventions and support through My Plan+ reviews.
What happens with EHC Plans if I am educated at home/my child is educated at home?
An EHC Plan is a legal document and so long as your child has one, the Local Authority (LA) has a duty to make sure your child's needs are met and to review it annually, following the procedures set out in the Code Of Practice for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Parents are always involved in the reviews of their child's plan. If you are educating your child at home, you can ask the LA to carry out a statutory assessment or reassessment of your child's special educational needs/disabilities. The LA must deal with your request within the same statutory timescales and in the same way as for all other requests made through schools.
If I am not in education, employment or training, where can I get support if I have additional needs?
The Youth Support Team provides support to young people up to the age of 25 years old if they have SEND who are not in education, training or employment (NEET). Contact details for the Youth Support Team can be found to the right hand side of this record.
How will the Local Authority inform parents and young people of their decision?
Requests for an Education, Health and Care or EHC needs assessment are considered at a SEND multi-agency Panel. The multi-agency Panel has representatives from parent carers, schools, Education professionals, Social Care managers, Health commissioners and managers. The panel looks at the evidence presented about the child or young person's special educational needs and disabilities and how they impact on learning. The Panel decision to proceed or not proceed with an EHC needs assessment is communicated to parent carers and the young person (when 16 years+) by phone call and letter. This communication includes information about what families can do if they do not agree with the decision made.
How are parents, children and young people involved in the assessment process?
The letter informing parent/carers and young people that an EHC needs assessment will happen includes information about how they will be included within the process. Information on where parent carers and young people can get independent support and advice (SENDIASS) is also provided. The letter also includes a Family Contribution form which seeks their views on what is important to them, what is working or not working currently and hopes and aspirations for the future. These views are very important to the whole process and families are given the option to submit their views in other formats such as over the phone, via email or face to face if better than completing a form. It is often helpful to ask practitioners working with the child or young person to help gather their views as there may be certain areas of information that are particular to certain contexts such as in school, the playground, after school activities, etc. There is also opportunity for parent carers, children and young people to express their views in the Team Around the Child (TAC) meeting which is held to help pull all of the assesssment and planning information together.
What are the timescales involved in the assessment process?
The overall statutory timescale from the date the local authority receives a request to carry out an EHC needs assessment and produce an EHC Plan is 20 weeks. Within this timeframe the following must happen:
- Parent carers and young people aged 16+ will be informed of the decision whether or not an EHC needs assessment will happen no later than 6 weeks from the date the request was received.
If an EHC needs assessment is to be done:
- Contributions and advice towards the assessment are expected within 6 weeks of the decision to proceed (by week 12 from the date of the request)
- The decision by the multi-agency Panel whether or not to produce an EHC Plan must be communicated to parent carers or young people aged 16+ by week 16 from the date the request was made.
- By week 16, a draft EHC Plan is sent to parent carers and young people aged 16+ and they are given 15 days to go through the draft plan and discuss any queries or issues with the SEN Caseworker involved.
- The final plan must be issued by week 20 from the date the original request was received.
Gloucestershire SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service) - a free, confidential and impartial service which provides information, advice and support to parent/carers of children who have special educational needs (SEN). This includes children who might not yet have a diagnosis, receive SEN Support or those that have a Statement of SEN or an Education, Health and Care Plan. The service is offered to parent carers of children who are between 0 and 25 years.