Skip to main contentAccessibility Statement

Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plans - WNC

Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plans - WNC logo


West Northamptonshire Council, One Angel Square, Angel Street, Northampton, Northamptonshire
United Kingdom

Get directions

How to contact this service


West EHC Team Contact Details:

Tel: 01604 368948Daventry and South Northants Email: [email protected]Northampton Email: [email protected]

Assessing a Child's Special Educational Needs

A parent, education-provider, or the young person themselves, (over the age of 16) can request an assessment to find out if they need specialist support.

You should always speak to your child's teacher or pre-school leader in the first instance if you are worried about their learning.

The outcome of the assessment can either identify that the level of support required can be delivered through the educational local offer or, that the local authority needs to make special educational provision when an education, health and care (EHC) plan will be written.

Who Can Request an Assessment of the Child's Needs?

The following people can request that the local authority conduct an Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND) assessment for a child or young person:

    • The child's parent or carer.
    • A young person over the age of 16, but under 25, acting on their own behalf.
    • A professional acting on behalf of a setting, school or post-16 institution*.
    • Professionals (this could include foster carers and health and social care professionals) who think an assessment may be required can bring the child or young person to the attention of the local authority who will consider if an assessment is required*.

*This should be done with the knowledge and agreement of the parents or young person, where possible.

Educational settings must make themselves familiar with the SEND Code of Practice and in particular that they have taken relevant and purposeful action to identify, assess and meet the special educational needs of the child or young person and that the child or young person has not made expected progress.

To inform their decision making, the local authority will need to consider a wide range of evidence from the education provider, such as: 

    • evidence of the child or young person's academic attainment (or developmental milestones in younger children) and rate of progress.
    • the information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person's SEN,
    • the evidence of the action already being taken by the educational setting to meet the child or young person's SEN.
    • evidence that where progress has been made, it has only been as the result of much additional intervention and support over and above that which is usually provided.
    • evidence of the child or young person's physical, emotional and social development and health needs, drawing on relevant evidence from clinicians and other health professionals and what has been done to meet these by other agencies. 

If the local authority have already undertaken an EHC assessment for the student during the previous 6 months, they are not required to carry out another assessment, but may choose to do so if appropriate.

Online applications

School and education settings

The online system enables schools and educational settings to submit requests for statutory assessment securely and efficiently after considering the details above. We invite all educational settings from Northamptonshire to use this form and actively encourage its use for speed and consistency.

You can upload your supporting evidence documents to the form, but if your file size is too large you may need to send it to the appropriate EHC team using a secure email. Please ensure that you include your supporting evidence from professionals with the online form, failure to do so will delay the process. If you have uploaded your documents to the form you don't need to email them to the locality admin team.

Parents and Carers

We recommend that you speak to the SENCo in your child's school before you ask the local authority to conduct an assessment.

This online form can be used by parents to ask the local authority to conduct an education, health and care needs assessment for their son or daughter, aged under 16, as an alternative to writing to request it. The local authority will then check if the assessment is necessary, following the Code of Practice 2015.To conform to the SEND Code of Practice, applications for students aged over 16 must be made by the young person. 

Parents will be told of the decision within 6 weeks of receiving the request.

If you decide to use this form, it may help if you prepare any supporting evidence you have, as you can submit them at the same time. This evidence is likely to be letters and reports from medical and other professionals who have worked with or assessed their child. You can save your form and then return to it if needed.

This form was designed with the help from Northamptonshire Parent Forum Group.

The Assessment Process

The EHC assessment process has 5 stages and takes a maximum of 20 weeks.

Stage 1 - Is an assessment needed? Weeks 1 to 12Stage 2 - Preparation and information gathering: Weeks 1 to 12Stage 3 - Analysing all the information: Weeks 8 to 16Stage 4 - Consultation: Weeks 16 to 20Stage 5 - Final plan: Week 16 to 20

For more information about the individual stages, visit Assessing a child's special educational needs.

If the local authority decides not to assess, they will write and explain why and will offer a telephone call or meeting to discuss this decision. They will include in the letter the information that we used to make our decision, such as feedback from professionals.

There is a right to appeal the decision. Please see information about mediation and complaints - an appeal may not be necessary.

Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plans

An EHC plan identifies a child's special educational needs, together with health and social care provision when these services are involved.

The focus of an EHC plan is on what is important for the child or young person - what they want to achieve now and in the future.

Content of the EHC plan

The EHC plan includes the aspirations of and outcomes for the child or young person as well as a description of their needs, barriers to learning and provision required to overcome these.

The plan may cover health and social care services alongside education, if appropriate, for the individual child or young person.

The required sections of a plan are described in the SEND Code of Practice 2015 chapter 9 (content of EHC plans).

Personal budgets

A personal budget is an amount of money identified by the local authority to deliver provision set out in an EHC plan where the parent or young person is involved in securing that provision.

Any requests for a personal budget must be discussed with the SEN officer at the draft stage of the process. They are optional and will require the agreement of the Local Authority and education provider.

You can request a personal budget by downloading the form:

Consultation process

When the Local Authority issues a draft plan, parents or carers are invited to identify a setting for the young person. If the request is for a place in:

    • a maintained school
    • a maintained nursery school
    • an academy school
    • an alternative provision academy
    • a pupil referral unit
    • a non-maintained special school
    • an independent educational setting approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act

Then the local authority must comply with that preference and name the school or college in the EHC plan unless:

    • It would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person.
    • The attendance of the child or young person there causes disruption to the efficient education of others or the efficient use of resources.

The local authority must consult the governing body, principal, or proprietor of the school or college concerned and consider their comments very carefully before deciding whether to name it in the child or young person's EHC plan. A copy of the draft plan will be sent to the school or college to inform the consultation. If another local authority maintains the school concerned they too must be consulted.

The nursery, school or college and, where relevant, the other local authority, should respond within 15 days.

Parents and young people may make a representation for a place at a non-maintained early years provision, independent schools, specialist colleges or other post-16 providers. The local authority must consider this request, but are not under the same conditional duty to name the provider. 

EHC quality survey

When your child's plan has been finalised, we would welcome your comments on the process and your experiences. Please complete this short survey if your child's plan was finalised after 1 September 2021. If your son or daughter is aged over 16 when their plan was completed, they are also invited to complete a short survey. 

West Northamptonshire (Northampton, Daventry, South Northants)

What if I disagree with the content of the EHC plan?

Opportunities to amend the EHC plans are made available to parents, carers or young people at the draft stage. We would hope that any disagreements can be resolved at this stage by liaison with the allocated case worker and SEN Officer.

However, parents, young people and carers have the legal right to appeal under specific circumstances.

Find out more about mediation and disagreement resolution arrangements.

EHC annual review process

Education, health and care (EHC) plans should be used to actively monitor children's and young people's progress towards their outcomes and longer term aspirations.

EHC plans must be reviewed by the local authority a minimum of every twelve months. These reviews must focus on the child and young person's progress towards achieving the outcomes specified in their plan. The review must also consider whether these outcomes and supporting targets remain appropriate.


Annual Reviews of EHC Plans

Completing the ‘All about Me’ Section of EHC Plans

EHC Plans and Preparing for Adulthood (PfA)

EHC Plans and Personal Budgets

Northamptonshire SEND Desciptors and Ranges

Northamptonshire's EHC Plan Process

Northamptonshire SEND Panels

One Page Profiles and the Voice of the Child

West Northamptonshire
Additional languages
Translation and/or Interpreting Available on Request
Age range
Suitable for ages from 0 to 25 years
Referral Route
  • Education or School Referral
  • Self Referral
Type of Service
Local Government Department
Eligibility Criteria
  • Age Range - School
  • Age Range - Early Years
  • Age Range - Adulthood
  • Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND)
Provider Category
Specialist Services - For those who require longer-term support
Special Needs
Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND)

Publication on the Local Offer does not endorse a provider, so please take reasonable steps to ensure that any service found on the Local Offer is suitable for your family member. For more information please read our disclaimer.

Last updated 22 September 2023