On this page you will find information and practical advice about the EHC needs assessment process, existing plans and the review process.

Applying for an EHC needs assessment and plan

If you are concerned that your child is not making expected progress, despite already having some SEND support in place at school, or if you feel that not enough is known about your child's SEND and what support they might need, then you can request an EHC needs assessment.

An EHC needs assessment may lead to an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) being written for them, but this is not guaranteed.

What is an EHC needs assessment?

An EHC needs assessment is a chance to look more closely at your child's special educational needs and the support that they need to help them learn. The process can take up to 20 weeks and can be applied for at anytime.

The assessment may lead to an EHCP being written for your child, but if this is not agreed should still provide useful information about your child's SEND and advice to their school about how to further support them.

The law says that if a child has or may have special educational needs and may require specialist provisions to be made for them, the local authority must do an EHC needs assessment.                  

This means that you do not have to prove that they have SEND, only that they might and that they might need additional support to meet this. This will come from evidence at school that they are not making expected progress and find learning more difficult than other pupils their age.                  

It is a good idea to talk to your child's school first to make sure that they have done all they can to support them. You can also ask them if they agree that an EHC needs assessment would be a good next step. We can help you to prepare for a school meeting.                  

If you both agree that an assessment is needed, then you could request this together. If school do not agree, then you can still ask for one.                  

What is an EHCP?

An EHCP is a legal document for children and young people aged 0 to 25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), who need more support than their school can provide under usual SEND processes.                  

The plan outlines what their educational, health and social care needs are, the support required to meet them and their learning aims and goals for the future. By law the educational setting named in the plan must follow what is written into it.                  

You might find this video from the Council for Disabled Children (CDC) helpful:

How do I apply for an assessment?

In Leeds, the Special Educational Needs Statutory Assessment and Provision (SENSAP) team conduct all EHC needs assessments.                  

You can apply directly yourself by completing a form known as the EHC2, or in partnership with your child's school, who would complete a form known as an EHC1.                  

The EHC2 is a way for you to tell Leeds City Council about your child's SEND. They will then use this information, along with feedback from the school and your child, to make their final decision about whether to go ahead with the assessment or not. It is important they can fully understand the difficulties and the support that you think your child needs. We can help you with how to complete the EHC2 form.                  

You can contact SENSAP for an EHC2 form on:

  • 0113 3785256 or                  

What do I put on the EHC2 form?

Click here for our advice on completing the EHC2 form.               

What is the assessment process?

There are four steps to the assessment process:

  • Leeds City Council has six weeks from receiving the request to decide if they think that an assessment is needed.                  

    A decision making meeting is held to discuss the request and review the information. You will be informed of the date of this meeting in writing.                  

  • If the assessment is agreed, then Leeds City Council has a further six weeks from the date of the decision meeting to gather further evidence and information. This will help them to assess your child's needs, so that they can make a decision on whether they think that an EHC plan (EHCP) is needed.                  

    If an assessment is not agreed, this is known as 'refusal to assess' and you could appeal against this decision to the SEND tribunal.                  

  • In Leeds, a next steps meeting will then be arranged. You will be informed of this meeting in writing.                  

    If the decision is to issue an EHCP, then the meeting will be used to give feedback on a draft version of the plan. This feedback will be discussed at the meeting along with any changes or additions that may need to be made. You will have 15 days from receiving a draft EHCP to let Leeds City Council know if you are happy with it.                  

    If the decision is not to issue an EHCP, then the meeting will be used to discuss why this decision was made and to ask the school to look at how they can better support your child. This will be then be recorded in an enhanced support document, which is similar to an EHCP except that it is not a legal document.                  

    If you disagree with this decision, you can appeal against 'refusal to issue a plan' to the SEND tribunal.

  • Within 20 weeks of the request for an EHC needs assessment, the final version of the EHCP must be written. Once final it becomes a legal document that must be upheld.                  

What if I have been refused an assessment?

If you have recieved a decision letter from Leeds City Council saying that they do not agree to the EHC needs assessment, this would be known as 'refusal to assess' and you could appeal against it to the SEND tribunal.                  

Another option would be to re-visit your EHC2 application to make sure it contains enough detailed information about your concerns and your child's SEND, to show why an assessment may be needed. It could be that things have changed, or more information has come to light since you made the initial application. We can provide advice on completing the EHC2.                  

What school or setting can I choose?

Children and young people with an EHCP can still receive their education within a mainstream school. Having a plan does not mean that they have to attend a specialist placement.                  

Sometimes a child or young person's needs are more complex and require more specialised and targeted support. This is when a specialist provision or placement could be considered.                  

While the EHCP is still in draft form, Leeds City Council will tell you what they think the nearest suitable school is that can meet your child's needs. This could be the school they are already attending, or a new school or setting.                  

You can also tell Leeds City Council your preference. It may be that you want them to remain at their current school, or feel there is a more suitable placement elsewhere.                  

The schools or settings will then be contacted (consulted with) and asked if they think that they can meet the needs written in the plan. They then have 15 days to respond with a decision about offering a place.                  

We can help you look at specialist school and provision options.

We also recommend that you visit potential schools and settings to see if you think that they are suitable and can help you to prepare for a visit.                  

What if I have a private assessment?

If you have had a private assessment done, then you can submit this to the local authority as part of the assessment process to be considered.                  

The code of practice (9.47) says:                  

The local authority must not seek further advice if such advice has already been provided (for any purpose) and the person providing the advice, the local authority and the child’s parent or the young person are all satisfied that it is sufficient for the assessment process.

This means that the assessment should be taken into account. If the local authority chooses to also employ or commission an educational psychologist, then they should consult any other psychologists known to be involved with your child, such as those involved with the private assessment.                  

Exisiting EHCPs and reviews

Once an EHCP has been finalised, it becomes a legal document that must be followed.

Plans should be reviewed at least once every 12 months (every 6 months for under 5's), this is often referred to as the 'annual review'.

What is person-centred planning?

When planning SEND support for your child, good practice would be to use person centred planning.                  

Person centred planning puts your child at the centre of the planning and any decisions that affect them.                  

You can find out more in this video from the Council for Disabled Children (CDC):                  

What if I am unhappy with the process or the plan?

If you are unhappy with any of the decisions taken throughout the EHCP process, and it has been less than 2 months from the date on your decision letter, or 1 month from the date on your mediation certificate, you can appeal to the SEND tribunal.                  

You can appeal against:                  

  • Refusal to assess
  • Refusal to issue a plan
  • The contents of the final plan
  • The placement named in a final plan
  • The plan being ceased (stopped)

You should consider mediation with the local authority first, to see if you can reach an agreement before the appeal is heard by the SEND tribunal.                  

For more information on tribunals you can visit our mediation and tribunal appeals page.                  

If you are outside of the appeal timescales (over 2 months) and are unhappy with what is written in the EHCP, you could request an early review of the plan. You can do this by either speaking to the schools SENCo or the SENSAP team on 0113 3785256 or sensap@leeds.gov.uk.                  

What if the plan isn't helping?

If there is a plan in place but things have not improved for your child then you could consider the following:                  

  • Would it be helpful to ask for a meeting with the school or setting to discuss your concerns?

    We can help you to prepare for a meeting.                  

  • Do you feel that the plan is ok but feel that the school or setting might not be following it properly?

    You can contact the SENSAP team to discuss your concerns on 0113 3785256 or sensap@leeds.gov.uk                  

  • Do you feel that the plan is not suitable and needs changing?

    You could ask for the plan to be reviewed. You would do this by contacting the school or setting SENCo or the SENSAP team on 0113 3785256 or sensap@leeds.gov.uk                  

    We can help you to prepare for a review.                  

What happens in an EHCP review?

The review is a 12 week process that looks at the plan, what progress has been made towards the outcomes and whether any additions or changes are needed.                  

It is also a way for you to raise any concerns or suggest changes if you’re not happy with the content of the EHCP.                  

If you feel there has been a significant change that means the plan may need to amended before the next scheduled review, you can ask for an early review by either speaking to the SENCo at the school or setting, or the SENSAP team on on 0113 3785256 or sensap@leeds.gov.uk                  

The following steps must take place in a review:

  • Leeds City Council will ask for your views about the EHCP and also the views of your child and the school.
  • A review meeting is arranged.
  • Information is gathered about the EHCP and sent out at least two weeks before the meeting.
  • The review meeting takes place.
  • Within two weeks, the school (or, for children and young people attending another institution, the local authority) must prepare and send a report of the meeting to everyone invited. This report must set out recommendations on any amendments required to the EHC plan, and should refer to any difference between the school or other institution’s recommendations and those of others attending the meeting.
  • Within four weeks, Leeds City Council will inform you of their decision to keep the EHCP as it is, make changes to it or cease (stop) it.

We can help you to prepare for a review.

You can find out more about reviews in this video from the Council for Disabled Children (CDC):

How do I prepare for the review?

Click here for our advice on preparing for a review.         

IPSEA have also produced an annual review checklist that you might find useful.

What if I am unhappy with the outcome of the review?

If you disagree with the outcome decision of the review, you can appeal against it to the SEND tribunal.

What happens to plans for Young people aged 19-25?

Young people with EHCPs may need longer in education or training to achieve their outcomes and make an effective transition into adulthood.                    

At the age of 19, it not automatic that a plan will continue. The local authority will consider whether they think it is still necessary and should look at the four outcomes of preparing for adulthood. These are:                    

  • moving into paid employment and higher education
  • independent living
  • having friends and relationships and being part of their communities
  • being as healthy as possible

If a plan is continued beyond age 19, it must be reviewed at least annually and must contain outcomes which should enable the young person to complete their education and training successfully and move on to the next stage of their lives.                    

This happens at different stages for individuals, so not all plans will need to remain in place until age 25. A plan can remain in place until the end of the academic year in which the young person turns 25 if needed.                    

For young people with more complex needs who are likely to continue to need specialist support in adult life, services such as children's services, adult social care, housing and health will need to work together to plan and fund a smooth transition.                    

When a young person’s EHCP is due to come to an end, the local authority should put effective plans in place for the support they will need to recieve across adult services. They should ensure that reviews of EHCP's and care and support plans are fully joined up for young people who will have both. This is so young people do not have to attend multiple reviews, held by different services, provide duplicate information, or receive support that is not joined up and co-ordinated.                    

For more information about this visit our preparing for adulthood page.                    

What do i do if we are moving/ have just moved to Leeds?


First you need to contact the SENSAP team, which is the team within Leeds City Council that issues and maintain EHCP's. You can email tham at sensap@leed.gov.uk or telephone 0113 378 5256.                    

If you havent moved yet, you should aim to get all your paperwork to them at least 15 days before you do.                    

If you have a school or setting in mind for your child, let SENSAP know and ask for them to consult with them. The setting will have 15 days to respond and you can ask SENSAP to consult with more than one setting. SENSAP will also advise you on what they think the nearest suitable school or setting is, that has available space.                    

You must also contact the admissions team on 0113 222 4414 and tell them that you are you are moving/ have just moved to Leeds.                    

You can visit our specialist educational provisions page or the Leeds local offer website to see what is available in Leeds.                    

You can view our specialist provision list to see what Leeds based, out of authority and post 16 provision is available.


Useful resources

Leeds Sendiass are not responsible for the content of sites or services offered by third parties.

You can find more links on our Useful SEND resource page.