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SEND support step 2: my referral

Most children with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) will have their needs met in mainstream nurseries, schools and colleges. But if your child has complex or long-term needs which cannot be met in mainstream education or needs help from social care and health services, then he or she may need an assessment for an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

On this page you can find out who can ask for an assessment and how, and how we decide whether to assess your child.

What is an EHC plan?

An EHC plan is a legal document. It contains a description of your child’s needs and the support he or she needs from education, health and care services. It covers birth to 25 years (if a young person stays in education).

The EHC plan replaces the statement of special educational needs and, in college or further education, a learning disabilities assessment.

Who can ask for an assessment for an EHC plan?

  • Your child’s school or nursery
  • A health professional or other person involved with your child
  • You, if you are a parent, carer, foster parent
  • You, if you are a young person aged 16 or over and still in education

 

How to ask for an assessment for an EHC plan

Your child’s school may ask us to assess your child, if he or she has complex or long-term needs. Before it does, it will ask you and your child to come to a meeting with staff.

At the meeting you will talk about:

  • the support your child already gets and support for the future
  • your child’s progress
  • what support is available through the Local Offer
  • whether there is a need to ask (refer) for an assessment for an EHC plan

If you want your child to be assessed, you can ask your child’s school about it or you can ask us directly. You can contact our SEN team on 020 8496 6503, 6505 or 6504.

The whole process, from the date we receive your request to the date a plan is complete, takes 20 weeks.

How we decide whether to assess your child

There is no automatic right to an assessment. We have to decide whether an assessment is the right thing for your child individually.

We make this decision at what is called a ‘referral meeting’.
 

 

What happens at the referral meeting

The referral meeting will include:

  • you (as a parent or carer) and your child
  • someone from your child’s nursery or school
  • any professional involved with you or your child
  • an officer from the council

If you are a young person aged 16 or over and still in education, the referral meeting will include:

  • you
  • someone from your college
  • any other professional, and
  • an officer from the council

At the referral meeting we will talk about whether your child qualifies for an assessment.

When we decide whether your child qualifies, we will look at:

  • whether your child has complex special educational needs and/or disability which affect her or his everyday life
  • whether your child needs support that is not normally available in your child’s nursery, school or college
  • whether your child needs intensive support from other services such as health and/or care
  • your child’s progress with the support he or she is getting now
  • what support is already in place under the Local Offer and what progress, if any, your child is making

If it is clear that your child qualifies for an assessment, we will make a decision at the meeting. If it is not clear then we will ask a panel of education, health and care professionals to make the decision.

The same process applies if you are a young person aged 16 or over.

We must make a decision about whether to assess your child within six weeks of the referral meeting, and we must write to you to tell you about the decision within that time.

What happens if your child needs an assessment

If your child needs an assessment, you will move on to Step 3: my story.

What happens if your child does not need an assessment

If your child does not need an assessment, his or her needs will continue to be met at Step 1: SEND support, where his or her school or nursery will look again at the kinds of support that will best help your child.

The nursery or school may change the support, involve other services through the Local Offer or ask for extra help from us.

Appealing a decision

To find out more about appeals, go to our appeals and complaints page.

Contact

SEN Team
First floor Wood Street Health Centre
Linford Road
Walthamstow
E17 3LA

Tel: 020 8496 6505 / 6503
Email: senteam@walthamforest.gov.uk

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