In Leeds, the SENSAP (Special Educational Needs Statutory Assessment and Provision) team are responsible for overseeing all Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans and assessments, as well as any remaining Statements of Special Educational Needs.
If you are considering requesting a new EHC assessment, then please read through the following information which should give you a thorough overview of everything you may need to know. An EHC Assessments Info Pack is available to download.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Special Educational Needs Statutory Assessment and Provision team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0113 3785 256 and one of our Assistant Casework Officers will help you.
What is an EHC plan?
An Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan is a legal document for an individual child or young person aged between 0 and 25 years old with Special Educational Needs, which sets out a description of their educational, health and social care needs and the provision that must be implemented in order to help them achieve key life outcomes. It also contains information about the child/young person’s aspirations and, for those in Year 9 and above, information about preparing for adulthood.
An EHC plan is implemented following one of two routes: either the child/young person previously had a statement of Special Educational Needs or Learning Difficulty Assessment and this was ‘converted’ to an EHC plan; or one was created from scratch following a 20-week EHC assessment process.
An EHC plan also entitles the parents/young person to consider whether they would like to explore a personal budget. This means they are able to request information about the resources allocated to meet the child/young person’s needs. In some cases it is possible for parents/young people to have greater control over how these resources are used. For further information see our page on Personal Budgets.
When is the right time for an EHC assessment?
The vast majority of children and young people with SEND are able to have their needs met within their local mainstream school, early years setting or college, with special educational provision made available through the school or setting’s existing resources. Once the school or setting has taken every possible step available to them to identify, assess and meet the child or young person’s needs, if they are still not making expected progress, it may be appropriate at that point to consider requesting an EHC assessment.
How can I apply for an EHC assessment?
We would always encourage parents and young people to speak to the school or setting’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator first. The Special Educational Needs Coordinator will be able to talk with you about what the assessment entails, and offer support and guidance around decision making. In order to request the EHC assessment, the school or setting should submit an EHC1 form along with all the relevant evidence of the support and actions they’ve taken to meet the child or young person’s needs. Other professionals who know the family can also make a request for an EHC assessment using the EHC1 form.
A parent or young person can request an EHC assessment themselves, and the best way to do this is to submit an EHC2 form (parents) or an EHC3 form (young people). If we receive a request from a parent or young person we would then contact the school or setting to request a completed EHC1 form and the relevant additional evidence.
If the child/young person previously had a statement of Special Educational Needs or Learning Difficulty Assessment, then the best thing to do is to contact the SENSAP team for an individual discussion by calling 0113 378 5256 or emailing email@example.com.
What happens in an EHC assessment?
There are roughly four stages to an EHC assessment, as follows:
1. Leading up to MAP (Multi-Agency Panel) – within 6 weeks max. As soon as we receive a request for an EHC assessment one of our Special Education Needs Casework Officers will contact you to discuss the assessment, your wishes and aspirations for the future and to check if you need any further support to engage in the assessment process.
Within six weeks of the request, a Multi-Agency Panel (MAP) is held to discuss the request and for the local authority to decide whether or not to proceed with the EHC assessment. MAP will be looking at whether the child/young person has Special Educational Needs and whether they may require special educational provision to be outlined in an EHC plan; to do this they will be looking for evidence that despite the school or setting having implemented lots of support, the child or young person is still not making expected progress. The child/young person and family are invited to this meeting, and they are able to invite someone to support them if they wish (for example the Special Education Needs Coordinator, a family friend, or someone from an independent support service).
If it is decided not to proceed with the EHC assessment, MAP will always provide advice as to what next steps should be taken to ensure sufficient support for the child or young person.
2. Assessment period – 6 weeks duration Once it has been agreed that an EHC assessment is appropriate, the council will gather any further evidence and advice required from people who are involved with the child/young person and family, usually including an Educational Psychologist.
These professionals have six weeks to undertake any assessments and submit their advice to the local authority. Once all this information and advice has been gathered, in most cases the council will begin to draft the EHC plan. In some cases the council may decide that the support required for the child or young person is available through Special Educational Needs Support and would not need an EHC plan. If so, the council will write an Enhanced Support Plan instead of an EHC plan, which contains very similar information but does not have a legal basis.
3. Next Steps Meeting – approximately week 14-15 Once the draft EHC plan has been sent out, parents and young people have fifteen days to let the council know whether or not they are happy with the plan. A Next Steps Meeting will be held within this timeframe, and everyone who has contributed to the Plan, including the parents/young person, are invited. This meeting is the opportunity to give feedback on the draft EHC plan and discuss any amendments or changes that need to be made.
If the council has written an Enhanced Support Plan instead of an EHC plan, we would still hold a Next Steps Meeting in order to discuss the local authority’s decision and for the school or setting to consider how to implement the recommended provision.
4. The final EHC Plan – by week 20 Following the Next Steps Meeting in most cases the local authority is able to finalise the EHC plan and send it out to the family and all the professionals involved straight away. Sometimes where changes are needed, there may be a period of negotiation regarding the EHC plan’s contents. As soon as the EHC plan is made final it becomes a legal document and must be upheld.
When is the EHC plan reviewed?
EHC plans are usually reviewed every twelve months, starting from the date of the first final EHC plan (at least six monthly for children under statutory school age). The review meeting will look at what progress has been made toward the outcomes specified in the EHC plan, and will recommend what changes the local authority needs to make to the EHC plan in light of this progress. If there is a significant change in needs or provision before an annual review is due it is possible in some circumstances to hold an early annual review. To do this, please speak to your Special Educational Needs Coordinator who will liaise directly with the local authority about this.
What happens if I disagree with something?
You will need to read our Issues, Concerns and Resolving Disagreements page and find out what action you can take.
When can I make a request for a particular school or setting?
You can find out timescales for requests on our EHCP admissions page.
Is there any additional support available for me throughout the EHC assessment?
There are a number of ways that parents/young people can access support throughout the EHC assessment. Most parents/young people get all the support they need from the Special Educational Needs Coordinator at their school or setting. Special Educational Needs Coordinators are often very experienced and are able to support you through the various aspects of the process.
The two main providers of additional support to parents/young people going through the EHC assessment in Leeds are:
- SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Services). This team can support parents/young people at any stage of Special Educational Needs Support, EHC assessment, or reviews, including support around making an appeal.
- Scope Independent Supporters are commissioned directly by the government to provide additional independent support and advice to parents/young people going through an EHC assessment. Independent Supporters are not currently able to provide support beyond the end of an EHC assessment.
In addition to the above, Barnardos can support and advocate specifically on behalf of young people and are able to provide information about the child/young person’s rights.
For further information about any of the above services, please visit: