Find out how to get an assessment if your child has needs that special educational needs (SEN) support cannot meet.
If your child is not making progress in school
What you can do
If your child finds it hard to learn, you can speak to their special educational needs coordinator (SENCo). They will be able to tell you what extra support is available.
At this stage, your child may be on the school SEN Register as receiving SEN Support.
What the school can do
If your child isn't making progress at school, the school SENCo should take a graduated approach to:
- check your child's current written plan of support (this could be either a healthcare plan or plan of support)
- use funding for specialist advice and assessments to understand your child’s specific needs
- organise training on strategies to support your child
- ask for support from the cluster or area inclusion partnership
- make reasonable adjustments to the school, including equipment, adaptations and policy changes
If this approach does not help your child make progress, the school may think your child would benefit from an education, health and care needs plan (EHCP). This is a legal document that details any special needs a child has and the support and provisions that must be in place to help them learn.
To get an EHCP, the school or SENCo will need to apply for an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment. If they do apply for an assessment, they must include parents and carers in this decision.
If your family is new to the country and your child has special educational needs, please contact the school admissions team. They will help you find a mainstream school place for your child.
Education, health and care needs assessment
The school should provide the evidence required for an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment. They should never ask you to make an application for them.
You can request an assessment if you do not want the school to make one. This should always be your decision.
Complete an application form
To apply for an assessment, the school will need to complete an EHC1 form and upload it to your child's Leeds City Council record using Synergy Gateway. This should include any evidence gathered through the graduated approach.
Parents or carers of a child wanting to apply for an assessment need to complete an EHC2 form.
If your child is over the age of 16, they can apply for their own assessment. They will need to complete an EHC3 form.
You can ask your child's school for a copy of the forms. You can also ask SENSAP for any of the forms, by calling 0113 378 5256 or emailing
EHC2 and EHC3 forms must be returned to SENSAP by email at
Assessment steps and timescales
Assessments take around 20 weeks to complete. They focus on a child's educational needs and the support that they need to be able to learn.
Making a decision
We have up to six weeks to decide if your child needs an assessment. To do this, we hold a panel to discuss the child's needs and decide if an assessment is needed.
Making a decision at the panel
We will decide if your child needs an assessment or not based on the evidence provided. When making a decision, we'll review a wide range of evidence, including:
- checking the child's academic attainment, developmental milestones and rate of progress records
- information about the child or young person’s SEN and their care or health needs
- assessing any actions already being taken to meet the child needs
In the six weeks after the decision is made, if we think your child does need an assessment, we will gather any further evidence from our own teams, the school SENCo, parents and carers and any healthcare professionals involved.
Writing a draft plan
Within twelve weeks of the request, if it is agreed that your child needs an education health and care plan (EHCP), we will start to write a draft. This can take between two and three weeks. We will send you a copy of the draft EHCP and you will have 15 days to respond in writing.
Right to request a meeting
Sixteen weeks from the initial request, if it is agreed that your child needs an education health and care plan (EHCP), you have the right to request a meeting. We will do our best to accommodate your request and arrange a virtual or face to face meeting, depending on capacity.
Final version of the plan
Within 20 weeks of the request for an assessment, a final version of the plan must be available.
Education, health and care plan (EHCP)
Within 20 weeks of the request for an assessment, if it is agreed that your child needs an EHCP, a final version of the plan must be available.
EHCP's are reviewed at least every 12 months to make sure that they're up to date and still needed. For children under five years old, reviews are at least every six months.
Managing personal budgets and EHCPs
If your child has an EHCP, they are entitled to request a personal budget to help them achieve the aims of their plan. This can include:
- funding for inclusion (FFI)
- direct payments for health and social care
Parents, carers or a young person aged over 16 years old can request information about their personal budget. Personal budgets can be managed either by:
- direct payments - money that is paid into an account for you to buy and manage services yourself
- a virtual budget - the local authority, school or college manages pieces of the personal budget and buys the support identified in your assessment
- a third party budget - a service provider or broker can manage some of the money for you
As part of the assessment process, SENSAP will discuss personal budgets with you.