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What happens during an assessment and how is an Education, Health and Care Plan prepared?

The whole assessment process must take no longer than 20 weeks (except in exceptional circumstances) from the Local Authority receiving the request for assessment.  If the Panel make a decision to carry out an assessment you will be allocated and SEN Case Officer who will take you through the process from start to finish. 

You will be asked to sign a contract form that will give us permision to share information between the people who will be involved in the assessment.  We will also explain how the assessment process will work, including how long each stage of the process will take and also make a list of the people who are already involved in supporting your child. 

The SEN Team, in conjunction with your child's school (if they attend school), will then organise a date for an Assessment Planning Meeting.  You know your child best and therefore you are a very important part of this meeting - this is your opportunity to tell us all of the people who support your child, what your worries and concerns are, what people like and admire about your child, what is important to and for them and what is working well and what are the issues and questions that need to be addresses.  Your allocated SEN Officer will normally be responsible for overseeing this meeting and they will record what everyone says.

During the Assessment Planning meeting, everyone will decide together who will do what and a list will be made of the reports that will be produced during the rest of the assessment.  Everyone who will be writing a report has 6 weeks to do so, but they should share it with you before anyone else.

After 6 weeks, a Support Planning meeting is held.  Again you and the professionals supporting your child will get together - this time to share the information that people have gathered during the assessment of your child. 

The Support Planning meeting will discuss the short and long term outcomes that your child will work towards - these will be suggested by the people who have completed assessments and recorded by the SEN Case Officer.  For each outcome, a list of the support that your child will need to achieve it will be made - this may include individual support in school, a specific literacy programme or some sessions of Speech and Language Therapy. 

The local authority will contact you when the plan has been drafted and you will have the final say about what is included.  You have 15 calendar days to inform the local authority of any changes you wish to make, including naming the preference of school. 

You can access impartial information, advice and support through the process by the SENDIAS Service.