Special educational needs assessments

Tower Hamlets has a special educational needs (SEN) section which is responsible for carrying out EHC needs assessments, issuing and maintaining Education Health & Care plans (EHC plans). EHC plans are issued for a very small number of children whose special educational needs are severe enough to warrant additional support from the local authority as well as that provided by their school.

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

A request for an EHC assessment would usually be made by the school or early years setting with parental agreement, but can be made by the child’s parents or carers with a request for a statutory assessment.

Parents who are concerned about their child’s progress are advised to discuss their child’s needs with the special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) at the school. The SENCo will be able to provide information about how the school is supporting the child’s difficulties. Schools are expected to adopt the “assess, plan, do and review cycle” as described in the SEN Code of Practice, we would expect that there is more than one cycle of this.

If, after appropriate intervention and support from the school, the child continues to need additional and more specialised support, the SENCo may consider making a request for a needs assessment. They will discuss this with you in school and seek your evidence. The request and the evidence to support this request is then submitted to the local authority.  

If agreed, a statutory assessment will use evidence presented with the request and gather further information about the child from a range of professionals, for example; speech and language therapists; child development clinic or any other agency that might be involved with your child.  A caseworker will contact you and ask you to for your views and that of your child. They will arrange an initial co-production meeting. Once all the information is gathered, the SEN panel will decide whether an EHC plan is required.

Education Health and Care Plans

Once the statutory assessment has been completed, the SEN panel considers whether the information gathered for the assessment indicates that an EHC plan of special educational needs to be issued. A draft plan will be written and the caseworker will again contact you to discuss the contents of the plan with you. Once you are happy with it the plan will return to panel to consider the level of support or type of placement most appropriate for the child’s needs. If the panel issues an EHC plan, it will specify the type and amount of support to be provided, and the final plan will also name the child’s school.

If a plan is not issued, the panel may instead issue a School Support plan, which summarises the child’s special educational needs and specifies the provision to be made by the school from its own resources.

The local authority seeks to meet pupils’ special educational needs within mainstream schools as far as possible, and all parents have the right to have their child educated in a mainstream school.

Parents of children with plans also have the choice to state their preference as to whether their child is educated in a Tower Hamlets special school or at a maintained mainstream or special school outside the local authority.

Online enquiry

Please email: SpecialEducational.Needs@towerhamlets.gov.uk

You will then be contacted in five working days.

Parents and carers can use the form above to request an assessment for their child with special educational needs, but if you are a professional and wish to notify us of a young person who may have special educational needs, please use this notification form. We will request further information from you following the receipt of this form.

Further information

How to contact us

Tower Hamlets Special Educational Needs section

Tower Hamlets Town Hall
160 Whitechapel Road
E1 1BJ

Tel: 020 7364 4880
Fax: 020 7364 4303
Email: SpecialEducational.Needs@towerhamlets.gov.uk

See the Parents Advice Centre page for help with the special needs statutory assessment process.