Before a decision can be reached about whether a child/young person does require special educational provision, a careful and detailed assessment is made. This is carried out by a team of professional staff from different services. Parents are considered to be vital members of the team.
An Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment is a very detailed look at:
An education, health and care needs assessment may be recommended for your child if they do not make progress, despite getting appropriate extra help from their educational setting. If your child's educational setting feel that an assessment is necessary, they will discuss with you the reasons for moving to an education, health and care needs assessment. At this point if you feel it would be beneficial you will be offered a meeting with the school SENCo and the link Education, Health and Care Plan Coordinator from the Local Authority to discuss your child’s additional needs BEFORE a formal request is made to Coventry Local Authority (LA). This is part of Coventry’s person centred Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment Pathway which sets out how we will work with parents, children and young people to enable co-production with families.
An Education, Health and Care needs assessment is sometimes referred to as formal assessment and is carried out by Coventry LA under the 2014 Children and Families Act and in accordance with the SEND Code of Practice 2014. Your child's progress, your views and the views of your child's educational setting or those who work closely with your child will all be considered by Coventry LA before an assessment goes ahead.
Any professional working with a child, young person or family can make a referral to the authority for an Education, Health and Care assessment. It is usual for referrals to come from the child/young person's educational setting.
A parent/young person (over the age of 16) can make a direct request for an Education, Health and Care Assessment. However, we recommend that they speak to the young person's teacher or Special Needs Coordinator (SENCo) first as they will be able to help you.
Parents/Carers can ask us to make an education, health and care needs assessment if you feel that your child is falling seriously behind, despite getting extra help from their educational provider. If you decide to make a request directly to us then you will need to write a letter detailing why you believe an assessment is required together with any supporting evidence which outlines your child’s needs. You will need to send the letter and supporting evidence to Statutory Assessment and Review Service, PO Box 15, Council House, Coventry CV1 5RR.
We would suggest that you should always talk to your child's education provider first before asking for an assessment. Coventry Local authority will carefully consider your request and if we feel it is necessary, will carry out the assessment. If we decide that an assessment is not needed, we will write to you and your child's educational provider to explain the reasons for our decision. We will give you details about your right to appeal against the decision to the SEN Tribunal. We will also tell you about the informal disagreement resolution arrangements available through the SEND Information, Advice and Support Service and Mediation Services.
Your request will be considered by a Panel of Professionals to decide if the request meets Coventry’s Criteria for an EHC Assessment (weblink to EHCP Process/criteria to be inserted). Please note that every request is considered on an individual basis but to bring fairness to the process there is a set of local criteria. After the request has been to the Panel you will be contacted by the SEN Team to advise if your request has been agreed. If it has been refused you will be notified of the reasons for refusal together with information about how you can appeal the decision and where you can access impartial information, advice and guidance.
When an EHC Needs Assessment is agreed we will spend the next 6-12 weeks gathering advice from professionals who know your child and any new assessments that are required to inform the outcome of the EHC Needs assessment.
Once all of the information has been gathered a decision will be made as to whether an Education, Health and Care Plan is required. If following the assessment it is evident that an EHC Plan is not required to meet your child’s needs we will contact you to inform you of the reasons why the decision has been made and offered information as to how your child’s education provider can use the assessments to support your child’s special educational needs. You will also be notified of your right to appeal and offered impartial information, advice and guidance.
An EHC Plan is needed to support your child’s Special educational needs a draft EHC Plan will be developed using the professional advice gathered during the assessment. Once the EHC Plan is drafted a copy will be sent to you with the offer of an opportunity to meet with your link EHC Plan Coordinator to discuss any amendments or additions you would like to be included. It is often useful to meet at this point to co-produce the Outcomes to be included in the EHC Plan. At this point you will also be asked to express a preference for an educational setting. You will have 15 days to respond to the Draft Plan.
Any final amendments will be made to the EHC plan and consultations made with educational setting/s. Educational settings have 15 days to respond.
The final EHC Plan will be sent to you with all the appendices (advice reports used to write the plan) naming the educational setting in section I. Copies will also be sent to the Educational setting and professionals that provided advice for the EHC Plan.
As well as support and information from the EHC Plan co-ordinator at the Local Authority, you can also access support through something called Independent Support. An Independent Supporter can help you navigate through the system and help you to understand what is happening at each stage of the process.
This service is provided by Coventry’s SEND Information Advice and Support Service, and more details can be found on their web pages, or by contacting them direct on 024 7669 4307.