The 0-25 SEND Code of Practice states that it is the early years responsibility to identify children who ‘.....despite the setting having taken relevant and purposeful action toidentify assess and meet the special educational needs of the child, the child has not made expected progress, the setting should consider requesting an Education, health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.’ (5.49)

It is important to consult the ‘Guidance Criteria for Children and Young People with SEND’ document when deciding whether or not the child’s needs meet the criteria for making a request for an EHC needs assessment. It is advisable to do this with the parents/carers and other relevant professionals at an ILDP meeting. By doing so, it will help you make an informed decision. The guidance can be found on our SEN webpage.

Throughout your involvement with the child, it is important to keep a comprehensive, chronological record of the child’s SEND support, developed by carrying out the Graduated Approach cycle (a case file). The aim is to illustrate, what support you have put in place that helps the child to develop and learn and how it helps. In this way you will be able to easily find the relevant information you need when submitting a request for an EHC needs assessment. With their consent, ensure to involve the parents/carers in collating information

At the front of the file have a tracking log, where you record entries of telephone calls, visits from other professionals and meetings etc.

The Process 

On our SEN webpage, under ‘Statutory Assessments’ there is the Early Years Request for Statutory Assessment/Appendix B form. Complete the form and gain the signed consent from the parents/carers with parental responsibility. It is worth noting that there is also a parental request form labelled ‘Parents – RSA/App A’.

Parents/carers with parental responsibility, have the right to make a request for an EHC needs assessment for their child, themselves, however, in early years, this is very unusual.

The parents/carers with parental responsibility, are invited to share their views about their child and the impact of their child’s SEND. The form that you will need to give to them is the ‘Appendix A – Parental Advice’, which is also found on the same webpage.

The views of the child are also sought and in most cases with early years children, this will be done by key adults who know the child best. Please use the form ‘Appendix F – Views of the child or young person’. Alternatively, you can use one page profiles from the Sheffkids website, but please ensure that you write on it WHO has completed the form on behalf of the child and THROUGH WHAT MEANS ie observation, questions and answers.

Finally, it will be important to attach supporting evidence which is listed on the Early Years RSA/Appendix B form. In order to help, a list of all the possible documents that may be collated in the child’s file, is below Together, with the parents/carers consent, make a note of which documents are to included and agree together, a date for when the submission of the request should be ready.

Possible Documents to attach an Early Years RSA/App B application

The Latest Relevant Health Reports
  • Paediatrician’s letters
  • Child Development Centre Reports – Joint
  • Assessment Clinic Reports
  • Speech and Language therapists reports
  • Occupational therapy and physiotherapy reports
  • Dietician or specialist nursing team letters or reports
  • Health care protocols from specialist nursing teams

What happens next

Once the request for an EHC needs assessment is submitted to the SEN department, Children’s Services, the referral will be given to an EHC plan coordinator to prepare for the EHC request for an assessment advisory panel.

The parents/carers will be allocated the same EHC plan coordinator, who will make contact with the family prior to the panel meeting. The panel takes place every fortnight to support the LA Officer with their decision of whether or not to go ahead with the assessment, based on the evidence before them. The setting SENCO making the request for an assessment of the child will be informed of the Local Authority’s decision by letter, no later than 6 weeks after the request has been submitted.

Please read the Education, Health and Care Plans leaflet which clearly lays out the processes and procedures that are undertaken to complete the request.

Please ensure that parents/carers have a copy of this leaflet at the outset of the process, in order that they fully understand the assessment pathway.

If the decision of the EHCP panel is to go ahead with the assessment, then the early years setting will be informed by email from the Local Authority.