EHC Needs Assessments

What is an Education Health & Care Needs Assessment?

The majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met within local mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges. This is usually made available through “SEN Support”. Some children and young people however, may require more support (“provision”) over and above that expected to be given through normal mainstream resources. In this case, an education, health & care needs assessment (“EHCNA”) should be requested in order for the local authority to decide whether it is necessary for it to make provision in accordance with an EHC plan.

An EHCNA is the first step to getting an Education, Health & Care Plan (“EHCP”) and is an assessment of a child’s or young person’s education, health and care needs. It is a legal process and as such there are statutory processes and timescales that the local authority must meet in making their decisions.

In order for the local authority to consider doing an assessment there must be educational need(s). If an assessment is agreed health & social care needs can then be taken into account and included.

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. Code of Practice 9.3

Please note: an EHC needs assessment will not always lead to an EHC plan. The information gathered during the needs assessment may indicate ways in which the school, college or other provider can meet the child or young person’s needs without an EHC plan. However, it would mean that there should be a much clearer understanding of your child’s or young person’s needs.

Who can ask for an EHCNA?

An assessment is usually requested by the child’s or young person’s educational setting, however parents and young people can make the request themselves. A young person must request an assessment themselves if they’re aged 16 to 25 – or be involved as mush as possible in the process.

The local authority can also be notified by anyone else who thinks an assessment may be necessary, including foster carers, doctors, health visitors, teachers, parents and family friends.

Will I be involved?

Yes – where you want to be. If you did not make the initial request, you should be asked for permission to continue before anything more is done. You should also be kept informed about the process and know how you will be supported (or where you can get support from).

In considering whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary, local authorities must have regard to the views,
wishes and feelings of the child and his or her parent, or the young person. At an early stage, the local authority should establish how the child and his or her parent or the young person can best be kept informed and supported to participate as fully as possible in decision-making.
Code of practice 9.12

You may be asked for information such as:

  • any reports from your child’s school, nursery or childminder
  • doctors’ or other practitioners’ assessments of your child
  • your parental views.

How do I make a request for an EHCNA?

Usually the educational setting will make a request for an EHCNA if they feel that the support they have already been giving is not helping the child or young person meet the desired outcomes, and more or different resources are required. However, as already mentioned, parents and young people do have the right to make the request themselves if they feel it necessary.

If you are thinking about making a parental request for an Education, Health & Care Needs Assessment then the following guides that SENDIAS have created may be helpful:

  1. Guide to making a Parental request for EHCNA
  2. EHCNA Request Template Letter:
  3. Guide to Template letter
  4. Background Information for making an EHCNA request

Further Information

EHCNA Webinar

This webinar is about the Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) criteria and how to request for one. It is 26.16 minutes long and was recorded by some of the SENDIAS Team in Feb 2020.

If you think you will struggle with any of this your own then please do contact us by email: or call us on: 0330 222 8555 to discuss how we may be able to support you.