​The majority of children and young people with SEN or disabilities will have their needs met within local mainstream early years’ settings, schools or colleges through the resources delegated to them by SEN Support funding.

SEN Support: where a child or young person has been identified as having special educational needs, schools should put in place a four part cycle of Assess, Plan, Do, Review. This is a graduated approach to understanding the child or young person’s needs and removing their barriers to learning.

Find out more about SEN Support 

Sometimes a child or young person needs a more intensive level of specialist help that cannot be met from the resources available and this is the time to consider an EHC needs assessment. Some children may require an EHCP assessment very early on and in these cases the local authority should liaise with the appropriate professionals and start the process without delay. Anyone can contact the SEND Team to ask for advice on the best route to requesting an EHC needs assessment; this will most often be through a multi-agency meeting with those involved, at the educational setting (e.g. school). Following this meeting, either the educational setting or the parents may submit a request. If the young person is over 16, they can ask for an assessment themselves. An EHCP brings the child or young person’s Education, Health and Social Care needs into a single, legal document. The child or young person must have special educational needs to be eligible for a plan.

Our "Golden Binder" contains all the guidance, forms and templates to be used for:

  • Requesting an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment for the first time, and
  • the Education, Health and Care Plan templates to be used by SEN, Education, Health and Social Care professionals and to be completed with a family once it has been agreed that a plan is needed. 
  • Transferring a statement to an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • Reviewing Education, Health and Care Plans

We recommend that the accompanying guidance is referred to when completing requests for a EHC Needs Assessment or completing the Education, Health and Care Plan templates. This guidance is contained in the relevant chapters of the Golden Binder.

View the Golden Binder

You can contact the SEND Team (opens a page on this website) 

This document is based on the ‘Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0-25 years, statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities.’ January 2015.

It should be read alongside this code and other local guidance such as:

Support for Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (often known as the "Golden Binder)

Guidance on reasonable adjustments

Guidance on making school trips accessible

Threshold guidance for young people aged 16-19+ (opens a pdf)

The guidance is intended to be used by schools, AfC officers, health professionals, social care professionals and families. It is a guide to the difficulties and challenges that pupils are likely to be experiencing when identified as needing special educational needs (SEN) support or statutory action (that may lead to an education, health and care plan (EHCP). The aim is to ensure transparency and parity between schools in terms of identification and ensuring clear expectations regarding the support provided at each step. Any specific interventions or assessments named in the guidance are intended as examples rather than as endorsements or requirements. Needs and strategies included in this document are not intended as checklists, but as guidance that can be interpreted flexibly according to the needs of the pupil.

SEN Threshold Guidance 2nd edition (pdf)

SEN Threshold Guidance 2nd edition - summary of changes (pdf)