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If you are looking for information about our new SEND Sustainability Plan see 'SEND sustainability plan'

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments

Information about how to apply for an assessment of additional education needs in Wiltshire

Page jump to:

  1. How to apply for a needs assessment
  2. Documents used in requesting a needs assessment
  3. What happens after the request
  4. What are Discussion and Decision Groups
  5. What happens if the the assessment decision is to issue a plan
  6. What is an EHC Plan
  7. What if the assessment is not to issue a plan
  8. Who can help with this process
  9. Moving counties with an EHCNA or EHCP

What is an EHC Needs Assessment?

Most children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) will have their needs met in local mainstream early years settings, schools or colleges. Every educational setting in Wiltshire must provide high quality teaching that is personalised and age appropriate for all children and young people, including those with SEND.

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 emphasises the need for a graduated approach to meet the needs of children and young people with SEND through early and relevant intervention.

This means that the education setting will follow a series of 'assess, plan, do, review' cycles using their own resources. The educational setting will keep records of the support delivered, using documents such as a 'SEND Support Plan'.

If the child or young person under 25 has still not made expected progress, then a request for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) assessment may be considered. This will help the local authority decide if it is necessary to provide support using an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

How to apply for an EHC Needs Assessment

Contacting the SEND Service

If you need to speak to the service for support with the assessment process please visit the following page:

Contacting the Wiltshire SEND team

If you are the young person or the parent / carer

The young person, their parent or carers, and other people who know the child/young person well, may request an EHC needs assessment in writing, by post or email.

We always recommend that you speak to the SENCo in your child's school or educational setting before you ask the local authority to consider a request to start a needs assessment. Although a parent carer or young person can request an assessment, where possible it is better that an educational setting makes the request. This is because they will have the evidence that they have used the graduated approach to SEN Support.

If you are considering requesting an EHC Needs Assessment, you should contact the SEND Team to discuss the request on 01225 712620. SEND Lead Workers can help and advise you on next steps.

The form below can be used by parents to request an assessment.

To request an assessment as a parent use: Parent/Carer request for an EHCNA – Wiltshire (OpenDocument text format) [46KB] (opens new window) and submit this along with any supporting evidence you wish to contribute, including any views your child or young person may wish provide.

To request an assessment as a young person aged 16 and under 25 use: Wiltshire Young Person's request to carry out an EHCNA (OpenDocument text format) [39KB] (opens new window)

If you are submitting a parent/ carer or young person application for an Education Health and Care needs assessment please ensure it is sent to (opens new window) or the address below. Any deviation from these addresses may incur a delay in the processing of the application.

You can also write to the SEND Team on how to request an assessment using these contact details:

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Service
Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Bythesea Road
BA14 8JN

Phone: 01225 712620

If you are a school or educational setting

Educational settings such as schools, in partnership with the young person and/or their parents or carers, can request an EHC Needs Assessment using the Wiltshire Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment request e-form and by adding relevant up-to-date evidence.

The e-form has a checklist for you to complete prior to starting the request, to make sure you have all the evidence to hand.

EHC needs assessment request form for schools and settings

Use the 'report this page' feature if you have issues as this will help us develop and improve this system. To discuss the process before making a referral you can call the SEND team by phoning 01225 712620.

Such requests should be discussed at the review meeting as part of the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle. Parent/carers and professionals involved in the support for the child/young person should be invited to the meeting.

In considering whether an assessment is necessary, the local authority must have regard to the views, wishes and feelings of the child and the parent or the young person. Here is a guidance document with suggestions on how to gain the views of the child or young person as part of the assessment process. There is also a template that could be used with the child:

Click the link below to access the template.

Template: Information about me document (OpenDocument text format) [794KB] (opens new window)

Guidance document: Guidance document (OpenDocument text format) [43KB] (opens new window)

Documents to help complete a request for an EHC assessment

Walk through video for schools and settings

We have made a walk-through video on how to complete the e-form for schools and settings to watch before making a request for an EHC needs assessment.

View the walk-through video (opens new window)

The phone number referenced in this video to discuss requests has recently changed and the SEND team now uses 01225 712620.

What happens once an EHC Needs Assessment is received?

If you have submitted a request using the e-form, you will get an automatic receipt by email and a copy of the form. If you have submitted a word-processed form, a representative from the SEN Team will confirm receipt of the request by email / letter.

The local authority has six weeks from receiving the request to decide whether to go ahead with the EHC needs assessment.

The request will be considered by the weekly Discussion and Decision Group Meeting (DaD1).

Early Help Contact as part of an Education Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA)

Wiltshire Council will be offering a new approach to providing support and advice to parents and carers and young people as part of the Education Health and Care Needs Assessment.

An early help adviser will make contact by phone and have a conversation focussing on a child or young person's social care needs. They will discuss what is working well, what needs require additional support and share information on various services or organisations which may be helpful. This conversation will be entirely voluntary so people can choose to take part or decline the invitation to talk. If the adviser cannot reach a family they will be sent a letter in the post. Wiltshire Council is taking this approach to help children and young people with SEND access information and advice early.

This service will only be available for parents/carers and young people who are not already working with a social services professional. This new approach started on 1 December 2022. The new approach is called Early Help Contact and will be used as part of the Education Health and Care Needs Assessment. Wiltshire Council Early Help Hub is in partnership with the SEND service in adopting this approach.

What is the Discussion and Decision Group? (DaD1)

This group meeting is chaired by an SEN Team manager and is held weekly. The panel has representation from the SEND Service, the educational psychology service, specialist education services and school SENCos. Other professionals from social care and health services may also attend.

The group will need to see written evidence that the school or setting has put in place all actions and interventions at the SEN support stage and how these actions have been monitored. The criteria used for this is in line with the SEND Code of Practice. They will also want to know about the parent or carers views, wishes and aspirations and the child's or young person's views.

Following the meeting, the SEND Lead Worker who is overseeing the request will contact the parent or carer in writing, or the young person over 16 (if they made the request), to let them know the group's decision. The letter will always offer the opportunity to speak with the parents and with the setting to discuss the decision and next steps.

Leaflet that explains more about Discussion and Decision Groups: SEND Discussion and Decision Groups (DaDs) Tri-Fold Leaflet_FINAL Digital (PDF) [1MB] (opens new window)

What happens if the decision is to issue an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

An EHCP may be needed if your child or young person's needs cannot be met through the support they are currently getting in their mainstream educational setting. Your education setting will have done everything they can and your child or young person still requires additional support. It may be that, despite the support provided, your child or young person is not making progress in their learning or development, or that the progress they are making is due to significant levels of support.

If we decide to issue an EHCP, we will notify you and young person and everyone who was notified of our decision to consider whether an EHC needs assessment is necessary. We will allow enough time to prepare the draft plan and issue the final plan within the 20-week time limit.

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) explained

An EHCP sets out clearly the parent, child or young person's views and aspirations for the future. It includes information and advice from professionals from education, health or social care, who know or are working with the child or young person. It describes the child or young person's special educational needs and their strengths. It states the outcomes that the EHCP will support them to achieve. It also sets out the support to be given to the child to achieve the outcomes that are written in the EHCP. It is a legal document that the education setting must follow. It is also important that the plan prepares the child or young person for adulthood.

What happens if the decision is not to issue an EHCP

If we decide not to issue an EHCP, this means that it has been decided that the child's needs can be met by the ordinary available funding, provision and support within their mainstream educational setting. The SEND Lead Worker will contact the parent/carer as soon as possible and usually by phone, to let them know of this decision.

They will also issue a letter notifying the parent/carer or the young person, the education setting they attend and the health service, giving the reason for the decision. A copy of the statutory assessment papers will also be included.

If you are concerned about this decision and the support your child may receive without an EHCP, you can request a 'way forward' with a Local Authority representative to discuss and plan future support for the child or young person within the setting.

If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

You may find the following page useful:

Mediation and appeals

Who can help?

If you require additional support when requesting an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment:

  • have a discussion with the SEN Co-ordinator at your child's school or educational setting about the different options available to support them. If possible, it is best to request an assessment in partnership with the school or setting. It is no quicker to request an assessment on your own, as the local authority will still need to get advice from the school or educational setting.
  • call the SEN Team on 01225 712620 if you would rather start the process yourself, you're not sure about your options or your child does not attend an educational setting.
  • You can also find out more about contacting the team by visiting, Contacting the Wiltshire SEND team.
  • you can get impartial support and advice from Wiltshire Special Educational Needs Information, Advice and Support Service Wiltshire SENDIASS (opens new window) or Wiltshire Parent Carer Council (WPCC) (opens new window)

Moving counties and admissions information

Information and guidance for professionals and parents regarding SEND educational placements in Wiltshire can be found by visiting:

Moving in or out of Wiltshire with an EHCP

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