The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Services offer information, advice and support for parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). This service is also offered directly to young people.

The service is free, impartial and confidential.

KIDS SENDIASS have developed resources providing information and advice for parents, carers, professionals and young people.

It is a legal requirement that all local authorities have a SENDIAS service and KIDS provide a number of these services across the country. Each KIDS SENDIAS service has a local page with their contact details, local information and local resources.

Find your local SENDIASS service here


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My SENDIASS for young people aged 16 - 25 with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities. 

Find out more about the SENDIAS minimum standards and our policies

Visit the links here for latest COVID-19 updates and resources.

What is an EHC needs assessment?

An Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment is used by a local authority to assess if a child needs an EHC plan.

When is an EHC needs assessment necessary?

Most children and young people with SEND can be provided with the right level of support without the need for an EHC plan. This is called SEND Support.

A local authority must carry out an EHC needs assessment if a child’s special educational needs may require more support that a mainstream education setting can normally provide.

Who can ask for an EHC needs assessment?

  • The early years setting, school or post 16 setting, once this has been discussed with parents or carers
  • Parents by writing to the local authority
  • A young person over the age of 16 but under the age of 25

We have a sample request letter and guide for parents and young people at the bottom of this page.

What happens during an EHC needs assessment?

Once the local authority have received an EHC needs assessment request they will review the information provided and request additional evidence if needed.

The local authority gathers information on a child or young person’s needs from:

  • The child and young person
  • The child or young person’s parent or career
  • The nursery, school, college that your child attends
  • Educational psychology
  • Other professionals as appropriate including Speech and Language or occupational therapy
  • Health professionals involved with the child or young person
  • Social care services

Advice and information requested by the local authority should be provided within six weeks. See here for a timeline of the EHC process.

What happens after an EHC needs assessment?

If the local authority decides to issue an EHC plan you will receive a draft plan. Find out more about draft EHC plans here.

The local authority may refuse to issue an EHC plan. This is usually because there is either not enough evidence that an EHC plan is needed or that they feel the child or young person’s needs can be met in other ways, for example through additional support provided by the school. Parents, carers and young people over the age of 16 have the right to appeal this decision and you can find out more about how to do this here.

    Read our full guide on EHC needs assessments

    View our EHC needs assessments visual guide 

    View our EHC time line

   Template parent request letter

Other topics

Education Health and Care Plans

EHC Annual Reviews

SEND Support in Schools

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