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Sam’s story

Sam* is 18 years old and has serious medical difficulties. She and her mother accessed our Mediation service after the local authority decided not to carry our a needs assessment.

Why Sam needed an EHC needs assessment

Sam was under the care of several medical professionals for her medical condition and associated depression. She had been out of school for two years and was eager to resume her studies at a local college. However, because of her condition she was not always able to attend and required support including some home tuition to catch upon lessons she missed. The local authority’s position was that she did not require special educational provision and that the college could meet her needs for support.

How the mediation went

Sam and her mother attended the mediation, as did the head of the SEND service. The college had intended to send a representative but she was unable to attend. Sam and her mother had prepared a statement that explained the background to Sam’s condition and why they believe she has special educational needs that require provision.

Sam described the way her symptoms affect her and make it difficult for her to have a ‘normal’ life, attend school, socialise. The local authority agreed that Sam has SEN and requires SEN provision but was unsure how an EHC Plan might help. Sam’s mother described what the college had suggested it could provide in the way of support from its own resources and what would require additional funding. Sam’s mother also spoke of the need for the consistency and integration an EHC Plan would provide and of Sam’s need to be able to take more time with her studies than other young people without her difficulties. Sam spoke of her aspirations and the course she would like to move on to over the next few years.


The local authority agreed to carry out an EHC needs assessment. Sam and her mother agreed that the statutory timescale for the assessment should begin once Sam is in college, so that it can reflect her needs in the educational setting.

*Sam is not the young person’s real name.

Check out our mediation service

We help families resolve disputes with the local authority or health service.

Our service is free of charge for families and is for children and young people aged 0 – 25 with SEND or who may have SEND.