How to ask for an EHC needs assessment, how we make a decision, what happens next.

If your child is getting help in education through SEND support and, despite everyone's best efforts, still isn't making progress, you can ask the council to carry out an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.

We expect education settings to have put in place any actions and support that are identified for your child at the SEND support stage.

Who can ask for an EHC needs assessment

You or any professional working to support your child can ask for an EHC needs assessment. This could include:

  • early years, school or college staff
  • health and social care practitioners
  • youth offending teams or probation services
  • those responsible for education in custody

If your child is aged between 16 and 25 they can apply either by themselves or with support from a family member, friend or someone who supports them.

How to request an EHC needs assessment

To request an EHC needs assessment, we ask that you fill in the following documents:

You may also wish to include:

  • copies of reports you've had from professionals and school within the past 12 months
  • completed support plans (see our SEND support plan templates)

It's not compulsory to include any of these, but they can help support your request.

Email these forms to Go to (opens new window)

To help you fill in the forms, see:

Useful resources

You can find useful resources to help you and your child talk about hopes, dreams and aspirations on Children and young people's outcomes framework.

The Council for Disabled Children has videos about:

Help with requesting an EHC needs assessment

The assessment team will support you if you have questions about how to request an EHC needs assessment. Call 0117 922 3700.

Bristol's Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service, SEND And You (SAY) Go to (opens new window), can give you free, confidential advice about filling in the form.

What happens after you ask for an EHC needs assessment

Once we get your request for an EHC needs assessment, we'll email you to tell you we've got it. We have up to 6 weeks to give you a written decision about whether we'll do an EHC needs assessment.

The process:

  1. We record your EHC needs assessment request.
  2. We email you, the parent or carer, the young person, health and social care services and the young person's education setting to tell you we've got the request.
  3. We contact you within 6 weeks of getting your request to tell you our decision.

How we make a decision

We'll look at your request to see if there is evidence that the child or young person:

  • may have a special educational need, and
  • may need specialist help to meet these needs through an EHCP

We expect education settings to:

  • have put in place any actions and support the child or young person's needs
  • monitor the impact of any support put in place for the child or young person
  • provide clear evidence from information gathered through the Assess, Plan, Do and Review cycle

Information gathered through the Assess, Plan, Do and Review cycle may show that despite everyone’s best efforts significant progress has not been sustained by the child or young person.

If we decide to do an EHC needs assessment

If we agree that an EHC needs assessment would be helpful, we'll have 6 weeks to get information about your child or young person from professionals linked to them. 

Find out more about what an EHC assessment involves.

If we decide not to do an EHC needs assessment

If we decide not to carry out an EHC needs assessment, we'll send you a letter which will explain why. You and your child will continue to get support from the education setting through SEND support. 

We've made a guide to Ordinarily Available Provision (OAP).

This guide sets out the provision that we expect to be made for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Bristol schools.

OAP should be made in all Bristol schools or educational settings, for children who receive SEND support.

If you would like free impartial information and advice, you can contact SEND and You, the local SENDIASS (SEND Information, Advice and Support Service).

They provide free, confidential, and impartial advice for parent and carers, their child and young people aged 16 to 25 years about SEND.

You have the right to appeal if you disagree with our decision not to do an EHC needs assessment. Find out more on Guide to resolving disagreements about SEND provision.

If you need support with this, email

See the pdf Decision and Moderation Group's terms of reference (98 KB) .