29th March 2022

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments (EHCNA)

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Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments (EHCNA) Cover Photo

Experts at Boyes Turner answer the important questions...

1. What is an EHCNA?

It is a holistic assessment of a child or young person’s education, health and care needs carried out by their local authority. It involves a number of professionals and people within education, heath and care, and is the first step of the Education, Health and Care Plan process. The aim of the assessment is to establish the extent of the child or young person’s needs and what level of provision is required to meet those needs.

2. Who can request an EHCNA?

The following people can make a request for an EHCNA:

  • the child or young person’s parents
  • the young person themselves (i.e. someone over the age of 16) or someone on their behalf if they lack mental capacity to do so
  • a person on behalf of the child or young person’s school
  • Professionals involved with the child or young person, such as foster carers, health and social care professionals, and early years practitioners can also brings the local authority’s attention to them. This is particularly the case when such professionals think an EHCNA might be needed.

3. What evidence do I need if considering requesting an EHCNA?

The local authority needs to be satisfied that the child or young person:

  • may have special educational needs and,
  • may need an EHCP

The local authority should consider the following:

  • evidence of the child or young person’s academic attainment and rate of progress information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person’s needs
  • evidence of action already being taken by the placement to meet needs
  • evidence that where progress has been made it has only been because of additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided
  • evidence of child or young person’s physical, emotional and social development and health needs
  • when a young person is over 18 the local authority must consider if they require additional time to complete their education or training.

Whilst there is no formal requirement for supporting evidence to be submitted, we have found from our experience that it is worth sending what you have relevant from the following along with a written request for an EHCNA:

  • school reports
  • therapy reports
  • medical reports

Generally, such reports should be recent i.e. within 2/3 years, with the exception for diagnosis reports. Some local authorities might request you complete a form in order to request an EHCNA. Whilst there is no legal requirement for local authorities to require a form to be submitted, we have found it is fine to complete a local authority form and submit a separate written request for the EHCNA, along with any evidence you wish to rely on.

4. What information and advice must the local authority gather during an EHCNA?

  • from parents or the young person
  • educational advice (usually from the head teacher or principal)
  • medical advice from a health care professional (usually from a paediatrician)
  • psychological advice from an educational psychologist
  • from social care. It is not sufficient for their response to be that the child or young person is not known to them.
  • where the child is in or beyond Year 9, advice and information in relation to provision to assist them to prepare for adulthood and independent living
  • from anyone the child’s parent or young person reasonably requests – such as if they are on a wait list for an assessment, or school or college has identified a need
  • if the child or young person has a visual and/or hearing impairment, educational advice from a suitably qualified person e.g. Teacher of the Deaf/Visually impaired

If advice from any of the above already exists it is not necessary for the local authority to seek further advice if they, parents or young person and the relevant expert are satisfied the existing evidence is sufficient for an EHCNA.

5. What options are there if the local authority does not agree to carry out an EHCNA?

Parents or the young person can appeal to the SEND Tribunal and/or attend mediation with the local authority. The latter can potentially be productive if there is additional evidence for the local authority to consider.

If you are considering requesting an EHCNA, or have the received the local authority’s decision and would like advice, then please contact us at senexpertsolicitors@boyesturner.com – our expert SEN solicitors are here to help.