Most children identified as having special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) will have their needs met within the SEN support available in all settings.
Education Settings can make a referral for an Education, Health and Care assessment if children have significant and complex needs that cannot be supported through the funding already available. The funding available is £6,000 in schools budgets and up to £8,000 through the additional funding available from the Local Authority (refer to Step 1).
An EHC plan is a legal document. It covers birth to 25 years (if a young person stays in education) and it is a holistic plan that covers education, health and social care support. EHC Plans are aspirational and outcomes focussed.
The EHC plan replaces the statement of special educational needs and, in college or further education, a Learning Disabilities Assessment (LDA).
EHC assessments are for children/young people with long-term significant special educational needs and or disabilities (SEND) that affect their everyday life. They require multi-agency support from different agencies e.g. education, health and care or a combination of at least two of these agencies.
Schools and settings need to follow the graduated approach, assess, plan, do and review. They need to implement support through the SEN Support Plan using their resources (£6,000) and they can also apply for additional funding through the Local Authority if the child or young person requires a higher level of support but does not have the significant level of need for an EHC assessment.
If a child or young person has been identified as having a high level of need which requires a multi-agency response, settings may consider making a referral for an EHC assessment to the Local Authority SEN Team.
Schools/settings should contact the SEN Team for advice when considering making a referral so that a quality discussion can take place around how realistic the request is and to go through the evidence required and the eligibility criteria.
In considering whether an EHC assessment is necessary, the local authority should consider whether there is evidence that despite the school/setting having taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the pupil, they have not made expected progress.
To inform their decision the local authority will need to take into account a wide range of evidence, and should pay particular attention to what is required.
For more detailed information please read the Guidance on making a referral.