Ask for an EHC needs assessment

Ask for an EHC needs assessment

If your child has been getting help in education through SEN 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.

Who can ask for an EHC needs assessment 

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

  • foster carers
  • health and social care practitioners
  • early years practitioners
  • youth offending teams or probation services
  • those responsible for education in custody
  • school or college staff
  • a family friend

If your child is aged between 16 and 25 they can apply themselves. They can do this:

  • on their own following our guidance
  • with help from a friend or family member
  • with help from someone who helps them, such as a teacher, personal assistant or care worker

Things you may want to include with your request 

You may want to include:

  • copies of reports you’ve had from health professionals in the past 12 months
  • details of your child’s result in any national tests they’ve taken 
  • school reports

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

How to request an assessment

If you’re a young person submitting your own request, fill out the:

If you’re a parent or carer submitting a request for your child, fill out the:

Send your application to

Useful resources

You can find useful resources to help you with gaining your child or young person’s views from:

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 Advice and Support Service, SEND And You (SAY), 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 assessment, we have up to six weeks to give you a written decision about whether we’ll carry one out. In that time, we’ll ask for information that helps us make that decision from:

  • you
  • your child’s school or other education provider
  • any other education, health and social care professionals working with your child

We'll ask you for:

  • your child’s history
  • your views about your child’s needs now and in the future
  • your child’s aspirations, goals, wishes, hopes and ambitions

We'll also look at: 

  • your child’s rate of progress
  • their special educational needs
  • what has already been done to meet their needs by their education setting and any health or care services 
  • the difference the support from their education setting and any health or care services has made

How we make a decision

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

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

If we don't have enough evidence to make a decision, we'll ask you for more information. We may also ask:

  • the child
  • the child's parent (if that's not you)
  • Community Health Services
  • the local authority responsible for social care for the child
  • the early years setting (if appropriate)
  • the school or other education setting

We'll then review your request. This can take up to six weeks.

If we agree your request

If we agree that an assessment would be helpful, we’ll ask professionals working with your family to identify the additional support your child needs. Find out more information about what an EHC assessment involves.

If we refuse your request

If we don’t think your child needs an assessment, we’ll write to you with the reason for our decision. We also have a duty to notify:

  • any named practitioners or clinicians who currently support your child 
  • the health service (the relevant Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) or NHS England where it has responsibility for a child or young person) 
  • council officers responsible for social care for children or young people with SEND 
  • the manager of your child’s early years setting, head teacher of your child’s school or the principal of your child’s post-16 institution

You have the right to appeal if you disagree with our decision not to proceed with an EHC needs assessment. If you need support with this, contact

See the Decision and Moderation Group's terms of reference (pdf, 99KB) (opens new window) .