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Coordinated Assessment and Education, Health & Care Plans

The Assessment Process

There is a single point of entry to access a coordinated response from specialist Education, Health and Social Care services through the Education, Health & Care (EHC) Team, via the Coordinated Assessment Process.

The application for a Coordinated Assessment can be made by a professional, with parental consent, by completing a request for assessment. Applications can also be made by parents or a young person over the age of 16 directly.

The EHC assessment process has five stages and takes a maximum of twenty weeks.

Stage 1 - Is an assessment needed? Weeks 1 to 12 

Following a request for an assessment, the local authority must determine whether this is needed. We must make and communicate this decision to the child's parent or the young person within a maximum of six weeks of receiving the request.

All requests are considered against a set of conditions in line with legislation under the Children and Families Act 2014. A specialist panel, made up of relevant professionals, will help the local authority decide whether an EHC needs assessment is required.

There are 3 possible outcomes of an initial application:

​Outcome of application What happens next?​
​The child does not meet the criteria for an assessment of special educational needs. A letter will be sent to the applicant giving reasons for this decision and further options for support.​
​The application meets the criteria to proceed with an assessment of special educational needs. A caseworker is allocated to be the single point of contact for the family and will explain the assessment process.
Stage 2 - Preparation and information gathering: Weeks 1 to 12 

The child and family should be at the centre of the assessment process.

The caseworker will contact the family to discuss the assessment process and gather information. This discussion will include:

  • What works?
  • What is not working?
  • Desired outcomes (for the child)

The following documents are used at this stage:

Process timeline

The process will take up to 20 weeks from the date the Local Authority received the 'Request for Statutory Assessment'.

Working together

The EHC team will identify and contact relevant professionals to give advice in producing the assessment, they include:

  • Teachers at the child's school
  • An educational psychologist
  • Specialist teachers who have been involved
  • Medical professional (usually a doctor)
  • Social care
  • External specialists supporting the student
  • Specialist therapists (such as speech and language therapists, occupational therapists or physiotherapists)

The EHC team will liaise with these professionals to seek advice regarding the student's difficulties.

Views of parents

The EHC team will also seek the views of the parents and carers and the student's own views.

Gathering information

The format and content of this information will include:

  • A clear description of the child's or young person's needs
  • Impact these needs could have on current and future education provision requirements
  • Outcomes sought for the child or young person
Stage 3 - Analysing all the information: Weeks 8 to 16

When all the information is gathered, a decision is made by SEN professionals whether it is necessary to issue an EHC plan. 

Decision not to issue an EHC plan

The caseworker will phone the family to advise the outcome and offer a meeting to discuss ways forward. The EHC team will send the family a copy of all the documentation used in arriving at its decision not to issue a plan.

The SEN officer can meet the parents to discuss the decision and the support available. We will also advise you of your right of appeal and the need to consider formal mediation.

Decision to issue an EHC plan

If we think it is necessary to issue an EHC plan, the caseworker will write a draft plan which is sent to the family to review and decide to:

  • Request changes to the draft plan
  • Name their preferred education placement
  • Request a personal budget

Parents can request a meeting with us to discuss the contents of the draft plan. In some complex cases this meeting could involve other professional bodies who have been involved.

The SEN officer consults with the educational placements.

Stage 4 - Consultation: Weeks 16 to 20

Parents return the draft to the SEN officer to consult the requested education placement.

Completing an EHC plan

The completed EHC plan, including the agreed school placement, is reviewed and formally signed off by the professional leads before being issued.

The final EHC plan is given to:

  • The parents or carers 
  • The child or young person
  • All professionals involved in the assessment process

Find out more about EHC plans.

Stage 5 - Final plan: Week 16 to 20

After parents or carers give their views on the contents and identify a preferred school, the EHC team will consider the views expressed and engage in the consultation process for a school place. 

When a suitable school has been identified it is named in section I of the EHC plan and a final EHC plan is issued, together with the right to appeal.

The education provider will meet with the parents and student to agree short term targets to fulfil the outcomes and provision agreed in the plan.

What if a parent or carer disagrees with the EHC plan?

At this stage, if the parent or carer or young person remains concerned they may:

  • Contact the Local Authority to discuss any concerns 
  • Seek mediation
  • Exercise their right to request mediation and to appeal to the First Tier SEN&D Tribunal Service

If we decide not to assess, we will write and explain why, and will offer a telephone call, or meeting to discuss this decision. We will include in the letter the information that we used to make our decision, such as feedback from professionals.

There is a right to appeal the decision. Please see information about mediation and complaints — an appeal may not be necessary.

Contact the team

If you have any questions about the EHC assessment, please contact us.

Support for parents to complete the application form can be provided by the Information Advice and Support Service for Special Educational Needs and Disability in Northants (IASS)