2. How the assessments work

Section 9 of the new SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years sets out how the assessments should be carried out how the local authorities should go about writing an EHC Plan.

Some of the key points include:

  • The views of children, young people and their families must be sought and they must be involved during the assessment process.
  • Disruption to the family should be minimised. This includes avoiding multiple assessments and appointments. There should also be a tell us once approach so that families do not have to repeat the same information to different professionals.
  • Families should be provided with impartial information, advice and support. In the case of young people over the age of 16, a separate service of impartial information, advice and support should be available to them. Young people may also be provided with an advocate by the local authority to make sure their views are heard and acknowledged.
  • The assessment process should be carried out in a timely manner and it should not normally take longer than 20 weeks to issue a Plan.
  • EHC Plans should be focused on the outcomes an individual child is expected to achieve. Any targets must be specific and set out what support is needed to achieve those outcomes.
  • EHC Plans should be clear, concise and positive. They should also be free from jargon.
  • It should reflect the views of the child or young person.

EHC Plans must include separate sections on:

  • The views, interests and aspirations of the child or young person and family (section A)
  • What the special educational need is (section B)
  • Any health needs relating to their SEND (section C)
  • Any social care needs relating to their SEND (section D)
  • The outcomes sought for that individual child or young person (section E)
  • What support is needed for the child or young person’s SEND (section F)
  • What support is needed from health or social care services (sections G and H)
  • The name and type of school or other placement (section I)
  • Personal budgets (section J)
  • Advice and information gathered during the assessment (section K)

The EHC Plan can also include wider information about a child’s social care needs.

If a child or young person has received a social care assessment under what is known as the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, then any support identified as needed under this assessment must be included in an EHC Plan.

Other social care assessments can also feed into the EHC Plan, providing that it relates to the child’s special educational need. Steps will be taken to ensure sensitive information, including about particularly vulnerable children, is not disclosed more widely than it needs to be.