Considering whether to make a statutory assessment

Where despite the educational establishment having taken appropriate and focussed action to identify, assess and meet the SEN of the child or young person, they have not made expected progress, consideration should be given to requesting an EHC assessment following the information provided in the SEND Handbook and Criteria.   

The Local Authority takes account of the following information when deciding whether a child or young person with a disability or SEN requires a statutory assessment around their Education, Health and Care plan:

The child or young person:

  • has or may have severe or complex long term needs that affect their everyday life; and/or
  • requires or may require provision and resources that are not normally available within a mainstream educational setting; and/or
  • requires or may require intensive help and support from more than one agency; and/or
  • despite relevant and purposeful levels of support being provided by their educational establishment, they are making limited or no progress.


In the case of:

  • an EHC assessment: it may be necessary for special educational provision to be made for the child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan; or
  • an EHC plan: it is necessary for special educational provision to be made for a child or young person in accordance with an EHC plan.

In order that the Local Authority has the information it needs to decide if these criteria are satisfied, it would expect to see proof of:

  • the action taken by a child or young person's school, where they are of statutory school age, including evidence that appropriate interventions, support and resources, which are available through the Local Offer and school's SEN funding, have already been put in place, including the Assess/Plan/Do/Review cycles;
  • the child or young person's failure to make expected progress; and
  • the special educational provision required to meet the child or young person's needs cannot reasonably be provided from with the resources normally available to their setting.
Requesting an EHC needs assessment

If the team around the child (TAC) or young person including yourself believe they are not making expected progress despite interventions, then they can make a request to the local authority for an EHC needs assessment. 

Once your local authority identifies that your child has SEN or receives a request for an assessment, they have up to six weeks to decide whether to carry one out. During that time, they will ask you and others – such as your child’s or young person’s school or other setting – for information to help them make that decision in conjunction with the SEND Handbook.

It is most helpful to use the early help approach, however, any young person over 16 years or parent of a young person under 16 years may write to the local authority direct to request an assessment.  You can do this by contacting the SEND Teams.  You should include as much information as to why you are making the request as possible and be aware that the local authority will need to seek other information from other sources to support the request.   

In Cumbria a multi-agency panel will consider request for assessment and will make their decision using the information gathered through the early help process and referring to the SEND Handbook.

If your local authority decides not to carry out an assessment, they need to inform the referrer of the outcome of the request within six weeks of receiving a request for an assessment. If the outcome is that the local authority will not be conducting an assessment the local authority is expected to help you find other ways that your child and young person can be supported in their school or other setting.

Page last reviewed: 01/04/2023

Skip back to top of page