Most children’s needs can be met by their mainstream school or pre-school.

In some cases, they cannot provide all the help your child needs.

The local education authority (LEA) can be asked to make an assessment of a child’s educational needs.

This is a detailed investigation to find out exactly what your child needs to ensure they have a broad and well-balanced education.

The request can be made by your child’s pre-school or school who should always speak to you first. You can approach your LEA, but it’s best to talk to your child’s teacher or special educational needs (SEN) co-ordinator (SENCO) before doing this.

The LEA then decide whether to carry out an assessment.

If the LEA decide that the child needs special help, they write a ‘statement’ of special educational needs.

Help available can cover many aspects, and may include special equipment, therapy or home-based learning schemes.

How long does the process take?

As a guide, the timetable for assessment is as follows:

  • it takes about six weeks for the LEA to decide whether to assess your child
  • if the decision is to assess, it takes about 10 to 12 weeks to decide whether to make a statement or not
  • it takes about eight weeks to reach an agreed final statement

Even if they decide that your child does not need a formal statement, you can still get extra help for your child.