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 to meet their needs. Sometimes other professionals will give advice or support to help your child learn.

Some children need more intensive and specialist help. If your child does not make progress despite the SEN support an EHC needs assessment might be the next step.

The SEND Code of Practice says:


In considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, the local authority should consider whether there is evidence that despite the early years provider, school or post-16 institution having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person, the child or young person has not made expected progress.

 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

The SEND Code of Practice says:


A local authority must conduct an assessment of education, health and care needs when it considers that it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan.

Some children and young people will have needs that clearly require an EHC needs assessment and EHC plan. Once the local authority is aware that this is the case it should start the process without delay.

You can find out more about the criteria that local authorities should follow in the SEND Code of Practice sections 9.3 and 9.14 to 9.16.