Common problem:

Refusal to undertake an EHC assessment


'My daughter is struggling at school.  She will be starting Year 6 in September.  Her school have told me that they have been providing extra help for her.    She is now saying that she does not want to go to school and I am worried that she will become a school refuser.  


The Local Authority has refused my request to undertake an EHC needs assessment of my daughter's needs on the basis that my daughter's needs are well known and have been recognised and that they can be met within the mainstream school local offer including the provision of teaching assistant support.'


You can appeal


You have two months in which to submit an appeal against the Local Authority's refusal to secure an EHC assessment.  The two months starts from the date on the letter from the Local Authority refusing the assessment.


The first step is to look at your Local Authority's Local Offer website.  Establish what is meant by the 'mainstream school local offer' i.e. what is the level of support that a local mainstream school is expected to be able to provide for a pupil with special educational needs through the school-based stage called 'SEN support', without the need for the pupil to require an EHC plan?  


In some cases, your daughter's school may have provided their own 'Local Offer' (SEN Information Report), so start with that document.  Alternatively, check the school's website and download the school's Special Educational Needs policy.  This should set out how the school responds to identifying the needs of children on SEN Support.  This will help you to understand the school's approach and provide a starting point for a discussion with the school (if the school is not supporting your request for your daughter to have an EHC assessment)


In most cases, while this is not a legal requirement, the Local Authority will expect the school to be able to provide the equivalent level of support (including teaching assistant support) to £6,000 before a request for an EHC assessment will be accepted. In addition, the school will be expected to provide a costed Provision Map which shows exactly what support your daughter is receiving (including how much 1:1, how much in a group - including the size of the group).


Key Issues:


Try to get the school to support your request for your child to have an EHC assessment.  Is your daughter's school is supporting your request for her to have an EHC assessment?  Did the school submit a request or was the request for your daughter to have an EHC assessment made by yourself?  If the school is supporting your request, ask the school for a copy of their submission to see if anything vital has been omitted.


If the school does not support your request, you can still appeal.


As your daughter is approaching secondary transfer, the Local Authority should take the forthcoming transition into account when reaching their decision.  How your daughter will cope with a larger school environment, with many different subject teachers and where she will be expected to move around to different classes instead of being based in one class?


What support will the secondary school be able to offer her when she transfers?  High schools are organised in a different way to primary schools.  In most secondary schools, children will have multiple teachers who will need to get to know the children wth special educational needs and the difficulties they experience.  What support can be provided for your daughter and will she access this without an EHC plan?


For an example of a Refusal to Assess appeal in this type of situation, see here.  For an example of a completed appeal form for this type of case, see here.


For further information about appeals see here. 


Five to Sixteen