Education, Health and Care Plans

An EHC needs assessment is a detailed look at the special educational needs (SEN) of a child or young person and the support he or she may need in order to learn. Local authorities are responsible for carrying out EHC needs assessments under the Children and Families Act 2014.

The needs assessment brings together information about what your child can and cannot do and the special help they need. It includes information from: you, your child, the early years’ setting or school,other professionals who work with or support your child. The assessment is to see if your child needs an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan).


When is an EHC Needs Assessment necessary?

The school or early years setting can often give your child help through SEN support. This means that the school makes additional or different provision from that provided to most other pupils to meet their needs. Sometimes other professionals will give advice or support to help your child learn. Some children need more help than the school can provide. If your child does not make progress despite everything the school has tried, an EHC needs assessment might be the next step.


The local authority will look at:

  • your child’s attainments and rate of progress
  • their special educational needs
  • what has already been done
  • the difference that support has made
  • your child’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs.


Who can ask for an EHC needs assessment?

  • parents – by writing to the local authority
  • a young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25
  • the early years setting or school, but only after talking with you first.

It is always a good idea to talk to the school or early years setting before asking for an EHC needs assessment. Other people, such as your doctor or a health visitor, can tell the local authority that they think your child needs an assessment.


For more information about what happens when the local authority gets a request for an EHC needs assessment view the factsheets covering Special Educational Needs and Disabilities [external link]. You can find out more about advice and information for EHC needs assessments in the SEND Code of Practice [external link]

Contact Details

Special Education Needs and Disabilities

Tel: 01325 405891



Further Information