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Assessment of special educational needs

Statutory assessments are undertaken for when there are indications that a pupil has significant, long-term, special educational needs.

The assessment can be undertaken when there is convincing evidence that, with the help of external specialists, the pupil’s special educational needs can be addressed.

A statutory assessment is a multi-agency investigation that aims to define the long-term needs of a pupil.

It may or may not result in a Statement of Special Educational Needs being drawn up.

Before the assessment

Before deciding to proceed with a statutory assessment, the local authority reviews evidence of:
  • Action taken by the school or setting to meet the pupil’s needs
  • The nature, extent and cause of a pupil’s learning difficulties
  • Evidence of rate and style of progress made

After reviewing the evidence it may decide that it is not appropriate to carry out a statutory assessment.

The assessment process

If the LA decides that a statutory assessment is justified, detailed advice will be sought from:

  • Parents/carers
  • Schools
  • Health services
  • Social Services
  • Other sources as is appropriate for each individual pupil

After reviewing the advice received, the LA may decide that the pupil’s needs can be met through Early Years Action/ School Action and Early Years Action Plus / School Action Plus.

If as a result of the statutory assessment the LA decides that a pupil’s needs cannot be met through Early Years Action/ School Action and Early Years Action Plus/School Action Plus, the LA will draw up a Statement of Special Educational Needs.

Statement of needs

A Statement of Special Educational Needs describes all the pupil’s learning difficulties, the main objectives to be worked towards, and the appropriate provision to be made.

The provision to be made will come from a variety of sources and will include that which is usually provided at Early Years Action/School Action and Early Years Action Plus/School Action Plus.

For some pupils direct intervention by the local authority or the health authority may also be appropriate.

The local authority remains responsible for arranging the provision in a Statement of Special Educational Need irrespective of who provides it.

Further information

More detailed information about the Statutory Assessment Process can be found in the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (DfES/581/2001), which is available on the Department for Education website (PDF).

Last updated: 03 November 2015. Was this information helpful?

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