Coronavirus: information and updates

Applying for an EHCP without an educational psychologist report

You can apply directly to your local authority for an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment. You do not need a report from an educational psychologist or the support of your child's school to do this.

The EHC report might recommend your child gets an EHC plan, sometimes also called an EHCP. Your child can get special educational needs (SEN) support without an EHCP.

Warning EHCP needs assessments and coronavirus

Problems caused by the pandemic may make your child's needs more obvious, significant or intense. 

Legally, local authorities must still do EHC needs assessments even if this is hard for them. This must be completed within the usual timeline of 20 weeks. You must be consulted on any delays in this process.

If there are delays to your child's EHCP assessment, ask your local authority to explain why. Contact your SENDIASS if they do not give you an explanation. 

IPSEA updates on coronavirus, school closures and SEN provision

Applying for an EHC assessment on your own

You might want to apply directly to your local authority for an EHC assessment if the school says that your child is:

  • making expected progress and you disagree
  • not making expected progress but that is not because of your child’s SEN

Asking the local authority for an EHC needs assessment (IPSEA)

Model letter, asking for an EHC needs assessment (IPSEA)

Your rights

Legally, your local authority must assess your child if you ask for an assessment if your child:

  • has or may have special educational needs, and 
  • may benefit from an EHC plan

This is in the Children and Families Act 2014.

SEND code of practice: 0 to 25 years (GOV.UK)

Private assessments

Your local authority will provide an educational psychologist during the assessment process.

If you prefer, you can pay for a private assessment but check how much this will cost.

  1. Find an educational psychologist in the directory of chartered psychologists (British Psychological Society).
  2. Check that they are registered with the Health and Care Professional Council.

How the system should work

Parents’ experiences of getting support for their child often varies.

If your child finds it harder to learn than other children their age, they can get support for their: 

  • communication and interaction
  • cognition and learning
  • social, emotional and mental health
  • sensory and physical needs

Warning In Wales the process is different

SEN is known as Additional Learning Needs (ALN). All children covered by ALN will be assessed for an Individual Development Plan (IDP). This includes health and social care needs and provision for children up to the age of 25.

ALN in Wales

Support at school: SEN and EHCP

Most children who get an EHC plan have Special Educational Needs (SEN) support first. If the school thinks that your child is not making ‘expected progress’ with SEN support, they should help you to apply for an EHC assessment. 

To get an educational, health and care (EHC) needs assessment, you need to apply to your local authority. Your local authority must consider your application, even when your child’s school does not support you. You do not need a report from an educational psychologist, but it can help. 

Getting an EHC assessment can be easier if your school agrees that your child needs one.

More on SEN and EHCP at school

Waiting for an assessment

Sometimes a school may think that an EHC assessment is the best option for your child, but wants to get more evidence first. 

Check with your child’s school to see if they think your child may need an EHC needs assessment in the future. They may think that waiting and getting more evidence will make your application stronger.

If your teacher and SENCO do not think that your child needs an EHC assessment

You can write to the:  

  • head teacher
  • school governor responsible for SEN

If you can, say how your child is not meeting the goals set for them in the SEN process. Include:

  • information from your SEN review meetings and agreements 
  • parts of your child’s developmental history that explain the difficulties they are having at school

For example:

“We’ve had 3 meetings where we’ve set targets, and we’ve made plans. But my child still is not meeting their goals and targets. We said that we’d look at these if they were not being met. 

We've had advice from the speech and language therapist and educational psychologist but I think my child needs an EHC needs assessment to get more support.”

If the school still does not support you, you can still apply to the local authority for an EHC needs assessment.  

Last reviewed by Scope on: 30/07/2021

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