Assessment for an education, health and care plan

On this page you can find out about education, health and care (EHC) plans, how to ask for an assessment for a plan and what happens during an assessment.

What is an education, health and care plan?

For some children with complex needs even the wide range of services available in nurseries and schools is not enough to help them achieve their full potential.

If your child is still not making progress, even with support from school, you can ask us to assess him or her for an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

An EHC plan is a legal document which describes your child’s needs. It sets out the education, health and care services needed to meet those needs and the type of educational place that would best suit your child.

Your child could have a plan from birth to 25 if he or she stays in education, and the plan will change and develop as your child gets older.

What an EHC plan will mean for your child

The plan brings together in one place all the information we need to help us support your child. There can be a lot of organisation needed and the plan is a single clear guide to providing services to meet your child’s individual needs.
The Support in school for children with SEN page has more information on the type of support available for children with EHC plans who continue to attend mainstream Newham schools

Asking for an assessment for an EHC plan

Who can ask for an assessment

You can ask us for an assessment, if you think your child might need extra support.

Your child’s nursery, school or college can also ask for an assessment if it has tried all other options for support.

Others who can ask for an assessment include:
  • young people aged 16 to 25, getting support after a learning difficulties assessment and still in education
  • foster parents, health professionals or others who think a child needs an assessment.
To ask for an assessment, write to us at:

0-25 SEND Service
London Borough of Newham
Newham Dockside
1000 Dockside Road
E16 2QU

What happens next

When you ask us for an assessment, we will need to decide whether or not your child needs one. A panel of education, health and care professionals makes this decision.

We will choose an EHC co-ordinator, who will collect all the information the panel needs to make a decision. The co-ordinator will ask for information from you, your child, his or her school or college and from any other professional connected with your child.

The panel makes its decision based on:
  • how complex your child’s needs are
  • the level of support your child has already received
  • whether or not your child can be given support in his or her current school or nursery.
Once we decide, we must tell you of our decision within six weeks of receiving the request.

If we think your child does not need an assessment, his or her teacher (with other professionals if necessary) can work with you to develop a support plan or improve your child's current plan. Find out more about support plans on our page on support plans.

If we decide that your child needs an assessment, the co-ordinator will contact you to explain what happens next and to fix a date for a meeting.

Specific interventions to support SEN

We do not advocate any specific approaches when providing support for children or young people with SEN.  

Schools use a range of interventions depending on the specific needs of the child or young person. Schools make decisions about the support and interventions they use under the guidance of the Education Psychology Service and other specialist services. The provision in schools is ultimately quality assured by Ofsted.

In addition to placing children and young people in maintained specialist provision within Newham, the Borough also places children and young people in specialist provision outside Newham where appropriate.​

Assessment for an EHC plan

What happens during the assessment

The co-ordinator will have all the information that was collected for the panel. He or she will meet you and your child to explain about EHC plans and how they are made, and will want to talk to you both to find out about your child’s background, progress and whether other support might be needed.

Other support could come from:
  • education, health and care professionals
  • any other relevant person.
The co-ordinator will then ask these professionals for any information he or she needs.

During the assessment, you can expect that:
  • you and your child will be fully involved
  • we will collect all information efficiently so that we do not have to ask you for it  twice
  • you will get information, advice and support to help you make the right choices for you and your child
  • if your son or daughter is over 16, he or she will get information, advice and support in his or her own right if he or she has capacity.

Personal budgets

At this point you can also decide whether, if your child gets a plan, you want to talk to us about a personal budget. Personal budgets give you more choice and control over the support your child gets.

A personal budget can work in different ways depending on the services you want.

What happens next

Once all the information is ready, the co-ordinator will arrange a meeting of the panel to make a decision about whether your child needs a plan.

When the panel is deciding whether to give your child an EHC plan it will look at the information we collected during the assessment to see whether:
  • it adds anything to the information about your child’s SEN given by you and your child’s school
  • it shows that the special education your child currently gets meets his or her needs
  • if your child is not making good progress, he or she can get specialist services in mainstream education or whether your child needs to go to a special school.
We will write to you to tell you about our decision. We have to do this within 16 weeks of you asking for an assessment.

If you need help with the EHC plan

If you would like help with any part of the EHC Plan assessment or process, contact:
  • Newham Parent Partnership Service on 020 3373 2871 or 020 3373 2869; or 
  • Barnardos London Independent Support Service (BLISS) on 0808 800 0037 or by email​.
They can provide you with an Independent Supporter (IS). The IS is independent from us and has been specially trained to help parents, carers and young people understand all parts of the new EHC plan. 

The IS could help you to make your written contribution, go through draft plans or reports, support you at meetings or help you with anything else that means you can be fully involved. ​

What happens if your child needs an EHC plan

You will meet the co-ordinator a facilitator who will work with you to put together the plan, using the information collected during the assessment. To find out more, go to our page on Making your EHC plan.


What happens if your child does not need an EHC plan

When we write to you to tell you about our decision we will explain why we think your child does not need a plan.

We will also tell you about your right to appeal this decision and the time limit for doing so. We will give you information about mediation and the other services that you need to consider before you make an appeal, along with other information, advice and support available.

We will also give you and your child’s school the information we collected during the assessment. You and the school can use this to help build or change a support plan. Your child’s teacher, and workers from other organisations will be involved in this. For more information on support plans, go to our Support plans page.

What to do if you are not happy with our decisions

If you are unhappy with any part of the process or our decisions, go to our Appeals and complaints page.
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Contact us

  • 0-25 Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEN) Service
    London Borough of Newham
    Newham Dockside
    1000 Dockside Road
    E16 2QU

    020 8430 2000