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How to request an EHC Needs Assessment

An Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment is a detailed investigation into what your child’s special educational needs are and what provision should be put in place. It is the step before an Education Health and Care Plan, but the assessment doesn’t always lead to a plan being written.

Who can make the request?

A request for an EHC needs assessment can be made by a representative from your child’s school, college or Early Years setting. You should be consulted before a request for an assessment is made.

As a parent, you can request an assessment if you believe that your child’s needs are either not being met through SEN Support (support programmes which are funded by schools or settings), or that your child’s needs are so substantial that a setting could not meet them within their own resources. 

Young people over the age of 16 can also request an assessment of their own needs.  An EHC needs assessment can be carried out for your son or daughter from birth to the age of 25.

Do all requests result in an assessment?

London Borough of Merton must, by law, comply with a request for an assessment unless:

  • your child already has an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • an EHC needs assessment has been made within the last six months
  • the local authority believes upon examining evidence that an EHC needs assessment is not necessary.

The local authority will only carry out an EHC Needs assessment if they believe your child probably has special educational needs and that they need, or probably need, to determine the level of your child’s special educational provision by writing a plan.

What steps do I need to take?

  1. You should make your request for an EHC needs assessment directly to  London Borough of Merton if your child is a Merton resident. If you live outside Merton but your child attends a Merton school or setting, please write to your local authority. Please ensure you have consulted your educational setting about your concerns before doing this.
  2. You should clearly set out the reasons for making the request and provide information about the help that your child has already received and why you feel their needs cannot be met using the resources made available so far. The local authority will consider a number of factors as part of the decision-making process (see below)
  3. The request should be made in writing to the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Service, 12tht Floor, Civic Centre, Morden, SM4 5DX. Send a copy of the letter to the school, early years setting or college.

How is the request considered?

The Local Authority will write to you to tell you whether they are considering carrying out an EHC needs assessment

As part of the decision-making process, London Borough of Merton should take into account:

  • your views and the views of your child
  • evidence of your child’s academic attainment and progress
  • information about the nature, extent and cause of your child’s special educational needs
  • evidence of the action already being taken by the school to meet their needs
  • evidence that, where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of a lot of additional instruction and effort over and above what the school would usually provide
  • evidence of your child’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs
  • if your child is over 18 years, whether remaining in education or training would help them to progress and help them make a successful transition to adult life.

The local authority has six weeks to decide whether or not to carry out an EHC needs assessment from the date that they first receive the request. During this time they may ask you, the school and other professionals for information.

If the local authority determines that an EHC needs assessment is not required, it must notify you and also let you know about your right of appeal, to independent disagreement resolution and mediation and routes for further information and support

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