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Requesting an EHC Needs Assessment, Identifying and Assessing SEND

Special Educational Needs/Disabilities

If you are concerned your child is finding school work difficult or not making progress, it is always best to talk to their teacher. Some children may need extra help with their education, and schools have responsibility for meeting children’s needs, ensuring that they have the opportunity to enjoy their education and have the opportunity to achieve successful learning outcomes. In doing this, schools follow the government’s SEN Code of Practice (2014).

Graduated Response Documents for Early Years & Schools

Reviewed June 2020

What should I do if I think my child needs more support at nursery, school or college?

You should contact your child’s school. All schools have a designated Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo), who will also be a teacher, and can advise regarding support. The vast majority of pupils with special educational needs can be supported by the school, from their own resources and liaising with outside practitioners (for example, with the Sensory Consortium Service, if your child has a visual, hearing or multi-sensory impairment). The school will usually put an Individual Education Plan into place, which should be agreed with you.

If your child is below school age, and you are concerned about their development (for example acquiring language skills, or they are not hearing or seeing properly, you will be able to access advice and support at your child’s nursery, pre-school, Children’s Centre or other early years setting, or from your health visitor or family doctor.

If you disagree with your SENCo about your child’s needs, you may wish to talk to the Reading Information, Advice & Support Service for SEND (formerly The Parent Partnership) for advice and support. Tel: 0118 937 3241 email:

What happens if the school can’t provide what my child needs?

An application for a needs assessment can be made whether or not the child has made progress; some children will need an EHCP before they even start school. Also, it is not just the school that can apply; the parent can and the young person can if 16 or over. Practitioners will work with the child and the family to discuss the child's strengths and areas of need and find out the child and the families' aspirations. This is all in the criteria. 

Parents also have the right to request a Needs Assessment, in writing to:

Special Educational Needs Manager, Floor 2, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU

Please also include any evidence/supporting documentation with your request.

Tel: 0118 9372674 Email:

Only pupils with significantly greater difficulties in learning may require a Needs Assessment in order to identify and provide for these needs. Our SEN panel will consider whether the criteria is met to start an Assessment, using the information provided. This information will include evidence of the help that has been provided for a child for a reasonable amount of time, along with supporting reports and information from outside practitioners including an Educational Psychologist. If the Panel agrees to the request, our SEN team will carry out the assessment, keeping you informed throughout.

What does an Education, Health & Care (EHC) Needs Assessment involve?

It involves a number of educational and health practitioners seeing your child. They might see your child on their own or with the school, they should provide reports based on outcomes and aspirations. They will then advise us on your child’s needs.

The complete Needs Assessment process will in the majority of cases be completed within 20 weeks from the date the request was received by the Special Educational Needs department. Please refer to the Timeline Needs Assessment document for an overview of key steps in the entire process.

The Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP)

If it is agreed that an assessment should go ahead because additional resources or educational provision are required that is over and above what a school may reasonably provide, this may result in Education, Health & Care (EHC) Plan being made by the Local Authority, in partnership with the family, school and supporting practitioners. We will then work with parents and practitioners to identify additional support needed at school, or in some cases there may be a need to identify an alternative suitable school. The Plan should outline additional support needed, and should be aspirational and outcome focussed.

How often is an EHC Plan reviewed?

EHC plans are reviewed every year or – if your child is under five years of age – every six months. The school will invite you to the review meeting, as well as any supporting practitioners.

I am unhappy with my child's Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP). Who can I talk to?

If you are unhappy with your child's Education, Health and Care Plan you can contact Reading SEND IASSThey can advise you about the Independent Dispute and Resolution Service.

Reading IASS (formerly Parent Partnership Service) - Contact information

T: 0118 937 3421 E:   W: Reading IASS


This is a statutory service commissioned by local authorities which is designed to help settle disagreements between parents or young people and local authorities over EHC needs assessments and plans and which parents and young people can use before deciding whether to appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal about decisions on assessment or the special educational element of a plan. Mediation can cover any one or all three elements of an EHC plan and must be offered to the parent or young person when the final plan is issued, but they are not able to appeal to the Tribunal about the health and social care aspects of the plan.

You can also contact our regional - KIDS SEND Mediation: Resolving disagreements for children and young people with SEND

Are there any specialist schools or resource bases in Reading?

There are a number of special schools and resource bases in the Reading Borough, which each have their own admissions criteria:



Contact number

The Avenue Special School

All age special school for children with complex needs, including autism.

0118 937 5554

The Holy Brook Special School

Primary special school for pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

0118 937 5489

Phoenix College

Secondary special school for pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

0118 937 5524

Blessed Hugh Faringdon School

Secondary mainstream school with a resource for pupils with an autistic spectrum condition.

0118 957 4730

Christ the King Primary School


Primary mainstream school with a resource for pupils with an autistic spectrum condition.

0118 937 5434

EP Collier Primary School

Primary mainstream school with a resource for pupils with speech & language and communication difficulties.

0118 937 5470

Highdown School

Secondary mainstream school with a resource for pupils with a visual impairment.

0118 937 5800

Manor Primary School

Primary mainstream school with a resource for pupils with cognition and learning difficulties

0118 937 5494

New Bridge Nursery School

Mainstream nursery with a resource for pupils with an autistic spectrum condition.

0118 937 5580

Prospect School

Secondary mainstream school resource for pupils with moderate learning difficulties

0118 959 0466


Thames Valley School

All age special school for children with a diagnosis of Autism

0118 9424 750