Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) FAQ's

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Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment (EHCNA) FAQs

What is an EHCNA and how to request one?

This is the first step in the EHC Plan (EHCP) process. It is asking the local authority to carry out a holistic assessment of a child or young person’s education, health and care needs, to determine if they may need support from an EHCP. This can be submitted by the parents or school. Some local authorities have set forms, but a letter and copies of relevant school/educational/medical etc evidence is sufficient. From the date of receiving the request, the local authority must decide within 6 weeks if they will complete an EHCNA.

What happens if a child or young person is performing well academically but has needs in other areas – can I still request an EHCNA?

When looking at SEND, this covers four broad areas of needs:

  • Cognition and Learning
  • Communication and Interaction
  • Social, Emotional and Mental Health
  • Sensory and Physical

So, in short, you can still request an EHCNA even if they are making expected progress academically but are displaying needs across other areas of SEND. Note that formal diagnoses are not required.

If a child or young person is masking/suppressing at school, then it is important to gather evidence to show how their needs also present at home.

What support does a school need to provide if there is no EHCP in place?

Maintained mainstream schools must use their best endeavours to provide SEN support. There needs to be a whole school approach and an identified Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo). There needs to be an Assess/Plan/Do/Review approach. Chapter 6, page 91 of the SEN Code of Practice has useful guidance on this.

What if the local authority refuses to assess?

If the local authority refuses, the child’s parent(s)/the young person have an initial 2 months in which to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal, also known as the First-tier Tribunal (Health, Education and Social Care). They must first obtain a mediation certificate. Sometimes mediation (before lodging an appeal) can result in the local authority changing its mind.

What happens once they agree to assess?

If the local authority agrees to assess they then have 6 weeks to gather advice and information from the relevant and required professionals about the child or young person’s education, health and care needs.The experts must set out what level of provisions are required to meet those needs. Once this information and advice is received then the local authority must confirm, (by week 16 of the original request, subject to any delay due to an appeal) if the level of need and provision requires an EHCP or not. A further right of appeal will be granted once the local authority has issued its decision.

The Boyes Turner Education Team can be contacted on 0118 467 6547 or via


I am so happy at the outcome, I don't think we would have had such a comprehensive service from any other law firm, and you took the worry away...I do not regret a single second of the whole process, apart from the bit before you got involved. 

James' mother, Boyes Turner client

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