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Assessments, Education, Health and Care Plans

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 is very clear in its advice that the majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met within local early years settings, schools or post 16 provision.

However, if your child or you as a young person, is not making sufficient progress despite assessment and provision in place within their educational setting, the Local Authority should consider what further provision may be appropriate, and may require an EHC Needs Assessment to be carried out.

What does an EHC Needs Assessment mean for me and my child?

An EHC Needs Assessment is a detailed assessment of your child’s or as a young person, your education, health and care needs and any support that they require.

The advice received as part of the assessment may be drawn from recent information already available. The practitioner who is being asked to contribute to the assessment may visit your child or you, as a young person, to update their information or an Educational Psychologist may be meeting your child or you for the first time.

It is expected that referrals into services such speech and language therapy in health, should have been made prior to the request for assessment as part of the support through the Local Offer.

The Local Authority will use the assessment process to decide whether an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is required.

Who can request an EHC Needs Assessment?

  • The child’s parent.
  • A young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25.
  • Person acting on behalf of a school or post-16 institution (this should ideally be with the knowledge and agreement of the parent or young person where possible).

Anyone else can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN to the attention of the Local Authority, particularly where they think an EHC Needs Assessment may be necessary.

Children and young people under 19 in youth custodial establishments also have the right to request an EHC Needs Assessment

If your child has a statement of SEN, there will be a Transfer Review (EHC Needs Assessment) which will determine whether your child’s or your SEN can be met through SEN Support and the Local Offer or an EHC Plan is required.

How do I request an EHC Needs Assessment?

Contact the Special Needs Officer Team for the area in which you live and request an EHC Needs Assessment directly, our details are found at the bottom of this page.

The Local Authority will then contact the education setting as the local authority require them to complete the referral information. They will share this with you and it will need to be signed by you.

Young people over the age of 16 can make a request for an EHC Needs Assessment themselves. If a request is made for a young person by someone else, the LA will need to be sure that the young person is in agreement with the request before proceeding with it.

You can make your request in writing, by telephone or email. Please provide the following information;

Your child’s or your name, date of birth and address. For children or if you are making a request on behalf of a young person, your name and relationship to the child, your address (if it is different from your child’s) telephone and email contact details, the name and contact details of anyone else who has parental responsibility for your child and the name of the educational setting or settings that your child currently attends.

What happens next?

The Local Authority will write to you to confirm receipt of your request and you will be sent a form to provide further information if you wish regarding your child and your request.

If you have any questions, you can contact the Special Needs Officer Team, contact details will be on the letter you receive or independent support is available through SENDIASS on 01473 265210 or Scope 0808 800 3333.

Within 6 weeks of the Local Authority receiving your request, a decision will be made as to whether your child requires and EHC Needs Assessment

Two short animations on the EHCP planning process

With support from the Department for Education, Independent Support has produced two short animation films.

The purpose of the two animations is to help explain the EHCP process and its important relationship with the Person Centred Connection. Further resources are also available on the Council for Disabled Children's website.

What is an EHCP and who is it for?

The EHCP and The Person Centred Connection

Contact the SEN team

The Special Needs Officer team is split into three areas.

The Ipswich Team covers South Suffolk and pupils and young people attending education outside of Suffolk. They can be contacted on 01473 260670 or by email

The Lowestoft Team covers North Suffolk. They can be contacted on 01502 674718 or by email

The Bury St Edmunds Team covers West Suffolk. They can be contacted on 01284 758809 or by email

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