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Last month 566 parent/carers and young people accessed our service which led to a total of 2,981 emails, contact forms, telephone calls and face to face meetings. Contact us if you need our advice and support.  

Remember you are not asking for an Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP), what you are asking for is an assessment of their needs.

The law says you have the right to request an EHC Needs Assessment so that the Local Authority (LA) can determine whether your child’s needs are such that they require support which is above that readily available for all children. This may mean that an EHCP will be required to secure the necessary provision.

In other words, the assessment should provide a clear picture of your child’s strengths, the things they find difficult, areas for development and the support they will need to help them make progress. The local authority will then decide whether or not that support can be met through the school's SEN funding or if an EHC plan is necessary. 

Hints and tips

  • Use bullet points instead of long paragraphs to lay out the key points
  • Give sub headings to explain how your child fits into the broad areas of need
  • Refer to any supporting documents throughout the appeal form and make sure they are labelled clearly
  • Include examples of incidents to describe an area of need (for example your child's response to an unexpected change of routine)
  • Think about any potential risks if your child's needs are not met at school (for example, reduced timetable, emotional based school avoidance or permanent exclusion) 
  • Think about any special educational needs which you consider your child may have which have not yet been fully identified for example, irregular sleep patters, risky behaviours and any eating or sensory difficulties that you have noticed.
  • Share your child/young person's views and aspirations 
  • It’s important to show that  there has been assessment of underlying need, and appropriate intervention, rather than just a description of presenting behaviours.
  • Evidence throughout your request that your child meets the legal test for an EHC Needs Assessment - you only have to show that your child or young person ‘may’ need special educational provision to be provided in accordance with an EHC plan, not that this is probably or definitely the case. You can read about the legal test on When a LA should carry out an EHCNA

SENDIASS can offer advice on submitting an EHC Needs Assessment but you may find the below drop down boxes will give sufficient direction on how to complete the form and points to consider for your application.   Parental EHC Needs Assessment Request Form

Child/Young Persons and Parent details

Complete the child and parent/carer section with all relevant information.

Parents may live at different address and you can provide these details if both parents wish to be involved in the process.  The paperwork will then be sent to both parents addresses.  

Special Educational Needs

SEN covers a wide range of needs, and a child can be progressing academically and still have difficulties in other areas. The SEND Code of Practice talks about the  four “broad areas of need” (paras 6.28-35):

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, emotional and mental health difficulties
  • sensory and/or physical needs.

You will need to circle YES or NO if your child fits under any of these categories

The four broad areas of need will help you to describe your child's needs.  Lets give you some further information on these areas of needs and how your child's needs may fit under these categories.  You will need to provide further information of your child's needs in the summary section of the form:-

Communication and Interaction

6.28 Children and young people with speech, language and communication needs  (SLCN) have difficulty in communicating with others. This may be because they have difficulty saying what they want to, understanding what is being said to them or they do not understand or use social rules of communication. The profile for every child with SLCN is different and their needs may change over time. They may have difficulty with one, some or all of the different aspects of speech, language or social communication at different times of their lives. 


6.29 Children and young people with ASD, including Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism, are likely to have particular difficulties with social interaction. They may also experience difficulties with language, communication and imagination, which can impact on how they relate to others.

Children with communication and interaction difficulties may also experience difficulties with language, communication and imagination, which can impact on how they relate to others. Communication and interaction needs could include:

  • difficulties with producing or responding to expressive or receptive language
  • difficulties uttering speech sounds
  • difficulties understanding spoken and other communications from others
  • difficulties with understanding age-related social conventions of interaction, such as turn-taking during conversations or appropriate level of physical contact during play

Expressive language means ability to communicate thoughts and feelings through words, gestures, signs, and/or symbols 

Receptive Language means the ability to understand and decipher non-verbal language and words

Cognition and learning

6.30 Support for learning difficulties may be required when children and young people learn at a slower pace than their peers, even with appropriate differentiation. Learning difficulties cover a wide range of needs, including moderate learning difficulties (MLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD), where children are likely to need support in all areas of the curriculum and associated difficulties with mobility and communication, through to profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), where children are likely to have severe and complex learning difficulties as well as a physical disability or sensory impairment.

6.31 Specific learning difficulties (SpLD), affect one or more specific aspects of learning. This encompasses a range of conditions such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia.

Cognition and learning needs may only impact on specific areas such as reading, writing, spelling and mental calculations. Cognition and learning needs generally account for difficulties in curriculum-related areas such as:

  • reading, writing and spelling
  • numerosity 
  • comprehension
  • processing difficulties such as sequencing, inference, coherence and elaboration
  • working memory
  • short term verbal memory 
  • other types of executive function difficulties

Social, emotional and mental health difficulties

6.32 Children and young people may experience a wide range of social and emotional difficulties which manifest themselves in many ways. These may include becoming withdrawn or isolated, as well as displaying challenging, disruptive or disturbing behaviour. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained. Other children and young people may have disorders such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attachment disorder.

6.33 Schools and colleges should have clear processes to support children and young people, including how they will manage the effect of any disruptive behaviour so it does not adversely affect other pupils. The Department for Education publishes guidance on managing pupils’ mental health and behaviour difficulties in schools – see the References section under Chapter 6 for a link.

The SEN Code of Practice (2015) no longer includes ‘behaviour’ as part of this category of need. The reasoning is that a child’s behaviour is perceived as a communication about the child’s state of mind and may be caused by a variety of factors such as:

  • anxiety
  • sensory overload
  • anger, including anger about pervasive life situations or undisclosed difficulties
  • response to trauma or attachment difficulties
  • frustration due to speech and communication difficulties
  • response to the wrong level of challenge in lessons
  • grief
  • overwhelm
  • physical pain or discomfort, such as hunger
  • underlying mental health problems
  • undisclosed physical, mental or sexual abuse

This list is illustrative, not exhaustive.

Sensory and/or physical needs

6.34 Some children and young people require special educational provision because they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities generally provided. These difficulties can be age related and may fluctuate over time. Many children and young people with vision impairment (VI), hearing impairment (HI) or a multi-sensory impairment (MSI) will require specialist support and/or equipment to access their learning, or habilitation support. Children and young people with an MSI have a combination of vision and hearing difficulties. Information on how to provide services for deafblind children and young people is  available through the Social Care for Deafblind Children and Adults guidance published by the Department of Health (see the References section under Chapter 6 for a link).


6.35 Some children and young people with a physical disability (PD) require additional ongoing support and equipment to access all the opportunities available to their peers.

Physical and sensory needs cover a wide range of medical conditions in addition to those mentioned above. Some children with physical disabilities may be very cognitively able so the levels of support must be tailored to a person-centred needs analysis of each child’s needs and preferences, taking into account the views of children and their families.

A summary of you/your child’s special educational needs

You can use the four broads areas of need as your main headings to describe your child or young persons area of need

communication and interaction, cognition and learning, social, emotional and mental health difficulties, sensory and/or physical needs)

SEN Needs

 You have an opportunity to not only describe your child's SEN needs but more importantly what they are struggling with in particular at school and at home. 

  • Do they struggle with large groups, noisy classrooms, working with peers, being separated from particular people.
  • Do they have any obsessions, such as, colours, food, routines, cleanliness, etc.
  • What is it that helps them to function from day to day?
  • What would they need support with on a daily basis? For example, dressing, washing, eating, timings, organisation.
  • What are your child’s needs in school? Do they need adult support? A differentiated timetable? Would they benefit from reminders either on their desk or set on their phone?
  • Time-out cards or break areas to allow them to cool off and relax?
  • Do they have any health or social care needs?
  • What is their self-confidence like? 
  • How does your child find building relationships? 
  • What issues do you feel your child is facing in their current educational setting? 
  • What is your child like at home? For example, do they enjoy interacting with siblings, yourself and other family members? Or, do they prefer to spend their time alone?
  • What are their interests or hobbies and how do any interests impact on their life?
  • Relationships with family, peers, other adults and children
  • What are the views of the educational setting towards an Education and Health Care Needs Assessment application? Are they supportive? Was it suggested by them?

Next we will give information on how you can describe your child's educational outcomes and what this means. 

The educational outcomes you believe are not being met

Include what are you are hoping will change for your child/young person following an Education Health & Care Needs Assessment.

You can consider what will be gained from an EHC needs assessment and what difference and Education, Health & Care Plan will make for your child/young person:-

  • Do you feel the setting needs help from the local authority to support your child?
  • Are there gaps in knowledge about how your child can be supported?
  • Are you concerned about the rate of progress despite support being in place?
  • Does your child require the use of additional aids such as PECS or that you feel the school need more guidance and support with?
  • Do you think that further assessment might help make your child’s needs clearer and will help in planning the right support/ identifying the right setting or post 16 course?
  • Are you hoping that there will be a better understanding of how others can support your child?
  • Are there any provisions in particular you would like to see in an EHC Plan?

Next we will give information on how you can describe the support you believe is required

The support you believe is required

Support Required

The local authority will want to find out what strategies are needed to be put in place, to engage and encourage your child to participate in activities recommended by the provision.

Some things to consider include:

  • Does your child require a safe place or a quiet space to work?
  • Can he/she only retain or process small amounts of information at a time? Does it help to break instructions down?
  • Is visual representation more effective?
  • Will he/she only listen to one particular person?
  • Are they easily distracted?
  • Does he/she understand time and timings, or would they need help with this?
  • Do he/she understand the consequences of their actions?

Consider what support strategies work well for your child at the moment and include any support strategies which have worked well in the past, for example:

  • Flexible timetable, one to one support, small group work, visual prompts
  • What particular routines do they have at school and at home?
  • Has the school put in place anything which has made a positive difference?
  • Do you do anything at home which you have found to work well?

And on the flip side, are there any methods or strategies that yourself or the school have tried which have found to be of no effect or caused distress.

This helps the local authority to consider if the recommended provision is going to be effective or if it would need ‘tweaking’ to fit the best interests of the child.

Support Services

Provide the details of any services or professionals involved such as:

  •  The Educational Psychology Service
  • The Sensory Specialist Teacher Team
  • Health Professionals
  • Social Care

Attach all reports and documents and refer to them throughout the summary.  

Below you will find some additional guidance on points to consider for the form:-

What does your child/young person need to stay safe and well? 

Consider what support strategies work well for your child at the moment and include any support strategies which have worked well in the past, for example:

  • Flexible timetable, one to one support, small group work, visual prompts
  • What particular routines do they have at school and at home?
  • Has the school put in place anything which has made a positive difference?
  • Do you do anything at home which you have found to work well?

And on the flip side, are there any methods or strategies that yourself or the school have tried which have found to be of no effect or caused distress.

This helps the local authority to consider if the recommended provision is going to be effective or if it would need ‘tweaking’ to fit the best interests of the child.

What are your hopes and aspirations for your child/young person?

Where possible, it is really important to have a conversation with your child about their aspirations. It doesn’t matter if they are unrealistic, as it is looking at how to tailor provision to keep them interested and focused on progressing towards future goals.

  • What aspirations do you have for your child/young person?
  • What would you like your child or young person to achieve within the next 6 months or so?
  • What would your child like to be/do in the future?
  • For your young person, would he/she like to go to college or university?
  • Would he/she like to live independently?
Are there any other services/professionals involved supporting your child/young person?

Here it is very important that you list the names and professions of anyone who is or has been involved with your child. If the local authority decides to carry out a needs assessment, they will be contacting those listed to request up to date reports during the assessment phase and it is very important that they get everybody’s input.

If you have any reports, letters, feedback or evidence that you feel would support the request, please feel free to include these along with the form.

Examples of people or services who may be involved with your child:

  • Medical professionals
  • Mental health (EWMHS)
  • Social care
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physiotherapists
Are you waiting for any appointments for your child/young person?

If you are awaiting any appointments, please list them here as the local authority will then know there may be further information to come.

Any aspiration is an aspiration – please do not be afraid to express yourself throughout this form as this is a reflection of your child and your family and you want the local authority to get to know your child as much as possible, so they can reflect this in the Plan.

Can I submit a private assessment or diagnosis report?

Yes. Your views are important as you know your child best. It is also vital your child’s views, wishes and feelings are taken into account.

Sometimes practitioners have conflicting views about how to support a child or young person, and the local authority will be using their best judgement when working through this specialist advice. 

It can be helpful to also share the reasons you decided to get a private assessment/diagnosis, and where advice differs from the local authority or school assessment information think about how you can explain the importance for it to be taken into account when carrying out the assessment, for example does the practitioner have specific relevant expertise? 

It is important to note that if a request for a plan is made, the LA would need to then consider all advice and information available. Under 9,4 of the SEND Code of Practice the LA should consider with professionals what advice they can contribute to ensure the assessment covers all the relevant education, health and care needs of the child or young person, as well as the views, wishes and feelings of the parent. If the parent views the privately obtained report as crucial then it would need to be considered by the LA.