Assessment and EHC Plans

Most children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) will have their needs met by their Nursery, Pre-School, School or College.

Some pupils with more complex special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) may need an assessment to see if they would benefit from having an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This is a legal document which sets out any additional support required to meet their special educational needs.

On this page, you can find out more information on what to do if you think your child has special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

What to do if you think your child has special educational needs or disabilities (SEND)

Steps you should consider

Step 1 – Arrange a meeting

  • if your child attends a pre-school, meet with their teacher or key worker
  • if your child is at school, meet with their teacher about your concerns. The teacher will be able to tell you what support is available to help your child. You could also speak to the school's special needs co-ordinator (SENCO), who organises co-ordinates extra help and support for children with SEND
  • if your child is at college, meet with the person responsible for SEND (usually called the learning support co-ordinator)

Please note: your child doesn't need a medical diagnosis to receive a special educational needs (SEN) offer.

Step 2 - At your meeting

  • explain why you think your child may have SEND
  • ask whether your child is making expected progress
  • ask whether teachers have identified/raised concerns that your child has barriers to their learning
  • ask what the setting/school/college can do to help your child
  • ask what you may be able to do to help when your child is at home

Step 3 - What the setting/school/college should do after the meeting

They will use the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 – 25 to decide if your child does have SEND.

If your child is identified as having a SEND need, the school should take a Graduated Approach, this means they will offer your child additional support. Targets and outcomes will also be set and reviewed at least 3 times per year to assess whether any additional support is required. This may come from the school or a supporting service. This process is called Assess, Plan, Do and review, it is often referred to as an ADPR. This will all be discussed with you and must be recorded – in Central Bedfordshire, we recommend the use of a document called a SEND Support Plan, however some schools have their own tailored support plans in place to record this information.

If despite the education setting taking relevant and purposeful action, there is still no positive impact to your child in their identified area of SEND, the school or you may consider requesting an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHC Needs Assessment). 

Education Health Care (EHC) Needs Assessment

The SEND Team will be responsible for the coordination of the EHC needs assessment.

Requests to carry out an EHC needs assessment can be made by:

  • an education setting 
  • a parent/carer
  • a young person aged 16-25
  • anyone who thinks an assessment may be necessary - including doctors, health visitors, and family friends

The following example letter requesting an EHC needs assessment may also be of use to you:

If we write to you following a parental or young person referral, we will need to get more information from you.   We recommend that you complete the following forms:

If an education setting is recommending that you submit an EHC needs assessment, please complete the following form:

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment Process

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment FAQs

What can happen next?

The Local Authority will ask for some information from children, young people and their families and the current or most recent education settings or providers so they can make a decision as to whether an EHC Needs Assessment is required.

This decision will be made within six weeks of the request for assessment being made.

If a decision is made that an assessment is needed then this will need to be done before 16 weeks of the initial request.

If following an assessment an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is required, this must be completed within 20 weeks of the initial request. 

What happens if my request for EHC needs assessment or EHC Plan is refused?

If we decide not to complete the assessment, we'll inform you within 6 weeks.

If after the assessment, it's decided not to issue an EHC plan, we must inform you within 16 weeks of the first request.

If you're not happy with either of these decisions then you'll have two months to consider mediation and make an appeal to Special Educational Needs Disability Tribunal (SENDIST). 

Young people without an EHC plan will still receive the support they need in their Education setting where funding is allocated to the setting to support children and young people with SEND.

Find out more about Mediation and Tribunals

Annual review of an EHC plan

If a child or young person has an education, health and care (EHC) plan, we (the local authority) must review it at least once a year.

An EHC Plan is reviewed every six months in the Early Years.

More information about Annual Reviews

EHC Plans and Personal Budgets

A Personal Budget can be requested during the initial assessment or Annual Review, for an EHC Plan. This may include funding for educational, health or social care provision, but must be linked to the outcomes in the Plan.  Where these outcomes cannot be achieved using existing services, a Personal Budget can be offered to parents to enable them to secure their own provision or resources.

If a personal budget is requested by parents or a young person, the local authority must consider the request and prepare a budget. The scope and content of the Personal Budget will vary depending on the needs of the individual, local circumstances, and existing provision.

SEND Quality Assurance Framework

Within Central Bedfordshire, our aim is to put children and families first in everything we do to reach their full potential. We work closely with our communities and partners to ensure that children do well in education, and young adults have the knowledge, skills and qualifications that will enable them to have the best outcomes in life.

Our SEND Quality Assurance Framework and the processes within it will help us to achieve this aim by systematically monitoring and evaluating our practice and developing a learning culture.  In doing so, we aim to improve services in a timely manner, to achieve better outcomes for children and their families and develop a better understanding of their needs, by listening to those who we support.

Download a copy of our SEND Quality Assurance Framework

Statutory SEND team

Every child or young person with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) in Central Bedfordshire will have an allocated SEND officer and senior SEND officer who will be the point of contact and responsible for carrying out statutory duties and processes relating to the EHCP.

The allocated SEND officer and senior SEND officer is determined by which school or setting the child or young person attends.

Where a child or young person lives in Central Bedfordshire but does not attend a school listed on the contact sheet below, the allocated SEND officer and senior SEND officer will be determined by the home address.

The team work in one of the localities linked to an educational setting. Our five localities are collectively called the north and south, as shown below.

The south area includes:

  • Dunstable
  • Houghton Regis
  • Leighton Buzzard

The north area includes:

  • Arlesey, Stotfold, Shefford and surrounding areas
  • Biggleswade, Sandy and surrounding areas
  • Ampthill, Flitwick and surrounding areas

SEND Team contact details