How a parent or young person can make a request for an EHC Plan


The first step to getting an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) is to make a request for an Education, Health and Care needs assessment. This is an assessment of a child or young person’s education, health and care needs. 

A request for an Education, Health and Care needs assessment can be made by:

  • a child’s parent/carer

  • a young person over the age 16 but under the age of 25

  • a person acting on behalf of a school or post 16 institution (SENCO and Inclusion Manager)

  • Anyone else who thinks that an EHC needs assessement may be necessary. For example, foster carers, health and social care professionals, early years practitioners, youth offending teams etc.


If a child or young person has a learning difficulty or a disability which is holding them back at school or college, and the parents / carers of the child or the young person (or the young person themselves) believe that the educational setting is unable to provide the help and support which is needed, then a request should be made to the Local Authority for an EHC needs assessment.


For children under 16, the parent / carer makes the request. This includes children from age 0 to 5, where parents should make a request if they believe that the child will need extra help at nursery or when they start school.


In the case of a young person (over 16 and up to 25), they can make the request themselves. If the young person is not able to understand, remember or communicate decisions about the educational support they need, their parent or carer can make the request on their behalf. 

The first step to request an EHC needs assessment; is done by writing a letter to Southwark SEN. Parents/carers or the young person themselves should set out why you believe your child or the young person has or may have special educational needs, and why you believe special educational provision is required and to be made through an EHC Plan.


You can download this template letter (docx, 593kb) to help you make a request. 


When submitting your letter you can attach any reports you have that support your request. For example, school reports, tracking information and any other documents produced by professionals working with your child.  For further advice or assistance, please contact the SIAS team.


Once the request is received, the Local Authority will contact the setting that the child / young person attends and other agencies involved in supporting the child and young person to gather information about their special educational needs. They will use this information to decide whether they feel it is necessary to initiate an EHC needs assessment and are required to notify you of their decision within 6 weeks of you submitting the request.


The local authority must take into consideration the following when making their decision:


  • Evidence of the child or young person's academic progress

  • Information about the nature, extent and context of the child or young person's special educational needs or disabilities

  • Evidence of the action already being taken by the setting to meet their needs

  • Evidence of the child’s or young persons physical, social and emotional development and health needs

  • ​​​If the young person is over 18 years, whether remaining in education or training would help them to progress and help them make a successful transition into adult life

Your request and supporting information should be submitted to the Local Authority's Special Educational Needs (SEN) team and emailed to

The Local Authority will write to you with their decision, they will either agree to carry out an EHC needs assessment or decide not to initiate the assessment.


If the Local Authority have agreed the EHC needs assessment:

The child or young person will be assessed by different professionals including an Educational Psychologist. These professionals will produce reports, which outline their special educational needs and the support that they require. These reports will then be reviewed by the Local Authority who use this information to determine whether the child or young person requires an EHC Plan or whether their needs can be met within the SEN support resources already available in a educational setting.


The Local Authority is required to notify you of their decision as to whether or not they will be issuing an EHCP no later than 16 weeks from your initial request. 


If the Local Authority have not agreed:


a) Refuse the initial EHC needs assessment request or

b) Following the EHC needs assessment refuse to initiate an EHC Plan,


Before bringing an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal for some disputes including a refusal to assess or issue an EHC Plan, you must consider mediation, however, it is not compulsory. Mediation is a less formal way of trying to settle disagreements between you and the LA. This involves attending a meeting with the LA and an independent mediator, who will try and help you reach an agreements on the points of disagreement. Mediaton can also be attended by relevant individuals from an education setting, health and social care.


You can appeal the decision. You will be given information about the appeals process at the time the decision is made and SIAS can assist you with this.

 Click here for more information about the appeals process.

Yes, of course. You can contact the Southwark Information, Advice and Support (SIAS) Team. 

SIAS can support families and young people directly with queries relating to the EHC Plan. 


Telephone: 020 7525 3104



To find out more information about the SIAS Team, click here