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Get help with your child's progress

If your child isn’t progressing as well as they should, is having difficulty at nursery, school or college, or has a disability, they can get extra help. Your child may be eligible for a Special Educational Needs (SEN) Support Plan or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).


If the school or college thinks your child needs more help they may ask us to do an assessment for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan - an EHCP sets out the help and resources your child needs, and sets outcomes for their education, health and care.

Ask for an assessment

Ask the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) at your child’s nursery, school or college if you think your child needs an assessment. (The SENCO is a teacher who is trained to identify children with special educational needs and make sure the children get all the help they need.)

You can also ask the Special Educational Needs Assessment Service (SENA) directly to assess your child. We will ask the nursery, school or college for information to help us decide if your child needs an assessment.

The SENA service write an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) if an assessment is carried out and agreed, and will commission the extra help and resources to meet identified needs. They can also provide advice and guidance to families and educational settings about statutory duties.

Special Educational Needs Assessment Service (SENA)
Telephone: 0116 305 6600

How we decide if your child needs an assessment

SENA will:

  1. Contact your child’s nursery, school or college to find out more about your child
  2. Look at your child’s Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Support Plan, if they have one
  3. Decide whether to assess your child for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan
  4. Write to you within 6 weeks to tell you whether or not we’re going to do an assessment

If we don’t do an assessment

We will write to you to explain our decision. 

Depending on the reasons we will either:

  • offer to meet you to discuss our decision and what your child needs
  • discuss with you what other help your child needs and put it in place
  • discuss your child’s SEND Support Plan with their school, nursery or college if we think you haven’t been listened to. We may also arrange a meeting in the nursery, school or college

The assessment

One of our SENA service officers will meet with:

  • you 
  • your child’s school, college or nursery
  • health professionals
  • social care professionals

They’ll also look at your child’s SEND Support Plan.

A panel will look at the evidence and decide whether your child needs an EHC Plan. 

This will take no more than 16 weeks.

SEND assessment pathway infographic    Opens new window

You can see the updated criteria that SENA service officers work by - further quality assurance processes have been introduced to ensure we continually improve.

One-page profile

You’ll be asked to create a one-page profile as part of the assessment.

Someone to help you

You can get someone to help you during the assessment. They are called an ‘independent supporter’.

If your child doesn’t need an EHC Plan

We will write to you to tell you our decision and how you can appeal.

Disagreeing with our decision

You can appeal if you disagree with our decision not to:

  • do an assessment
  • create an EHC plan

Also see

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