Asking for an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment

The majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met within local mainstream early years’ settings, schools or colleges through the resources delegated to them by SEN Support funding. SEN Support is the system used by schools and other education settings to identify, assess and support the majority of children and young people with special educational needs. It involves a cycle of ‘assess, plan, do, review’ and the child or young person and their parents/carers should be involved in this process. Find out more about SEN School Support and Early Years SEN Support

You should work with your child’s school/early years setting before requesting an EHC needs assessment to make sure all possible strategies have been put in place and all available resources have been used appropriately.

Sometimes a child or young person requires a more intensive level of specialist help that cannot be met from the resources available in the educational setting that they attend. This is the time to consider an EHC needs assessment. An EHC needs assessment can be requested for children or by young people up to the age of 25, provided they remain in further education.

Requesting an EHC needs assessment

An assessment can be requested by:

  • a parent;
  • a young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25;
  • an early years setting or school, but only after talking with you first;
  • any professional working with the child or young person.

You may find it useful to look at our Criteria for an EHC needs assessment before you make a request for an assessment.

If you request an EHC needs assessment for your child then you will need to give consent to share information about your child with relevant people in health, education and social care. This will be discussed with you further if you contact us to request an EHC needs assessment. Any personal information collected by Essex County Council will only be used for the purposes of co-ordinating the assessment process and planning and providing support. All information will be held securely and retained only for as long as is necessary. You can find out more about how we look after your information on the Essex County Council website

Help throughout the EHC needs assessment process

The Essex SEND Operations Service will aim to work with you to support you through the process. The SEND Information, Advice and Support Service also provides information, advice and support to parents, carers, children and young people in relation to special educational needs and disability. If you wish to contact them you can do so by email at or by telephone on 0333 013 8913.


Contact (formally Contact a Family) is a national charity for families with disabled children. Contact have a helpline to advise parents on all aspects of caring for a disabled child, as well as a website full of resources covering a range of topics and also run workshops and information sessions across the UK. You can call their freephone helpline on 0808 808 3555 and talk to one of their education advisers.

How to request an EHC needs assessment:

Request forms can be found below:

  1. EHC Needs Assessment request form – For Early Years settings
  2. EHC Needs Assessment request form – For Primary schools
  3. EHC Needs Assessment request form – For Secondary schools
  4. EHC Needs Assessment request form – For post 16 settings
  5. EHC Needs Assessment request form – For Parents/young people

You are not required to use one of our request forms but we hope that you will find them useful as they indicate the information we will need in order to give full consideration to your request for an EHC needs assessment.


It is very helpful if a consent form is sent in with all requests for an EHC needs assessment. This form supports SEND Operations Service to make the EHC needs assessment process run more smoothly. The consent form can be found below.

EHC needs assessment consent form

Requests for an EHC needs assessment should be sent to your local SEND Operations Team.

Please contact an area office if you would like to talk about this process.

Contact details for the SEND Operations team:

Mid Essex (Braintree, Chelmsford, Halstead and Maldon): 0333 013 9949 or
North East Essex (Colchester and Tendring): 0333 013 7667 or
South Essex (Basildon, Billericay, Brentwood, Castle Point, Rochford and Wickford)0333 013 4736 or
West Essex (Epping, Harlow and Uttlesford): 0333 013 9911 or

Further guidance

EHC needs assessment criteria

EHC needs assessment guidance