The statutory assessment

Information for families in Wales

Under the Welsh education system a statutory assessment is the first step to getting a statement of special educational needs.

In England, statutory assessments have now been replaced with Education, Health and Care needs assessments. If you're new to the SEN system in England then you might want to start on our page An introduction to special educational needs.

What is a statutory assessment?

The statutory assessment is a full investigation of a child's educational needs carried out by the local authority where your child lives.  A statutory assessment is a legal process. It isn't to be confused with other assessments which the school or other professionals may arrange for your child.

Which children need a statutory assessment?

Children should have a statutory assessment if they have special educational needs and the school may not be able to provide all the extra help they need at School Action Plus.

For example your child may need support from one adult for most of the school day, or a large amount of help from specialist services, such as speech therapy.

What happens during a statutory assessment?

The local authority gathers information about your child's needs. They must ask for information from:

  • parents
  • the school.
  • an educational psychologist
  • a medical doctor
  • social services (who will only provide information if the child is already known to them).

The local authority can also ask other for further assessments for example from a speech and language therapist. You can ask the local authority to contact others for information about your child, and send in any additional reports or information you have.

How does the process start?

The school or the parent can write to the local authority to ask for a statutory assessment. The local authority has six weeks to consider the request and decide if they will assess your child.

Who should make the request, the parent or the school?

The process is the same whether a parent or the school requests a statutory assessment. However if you make the request yourself you will know exactly when the process has started. It is a good idea to tell the special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) you are doing this, and to ask if the school will support your request.

What if the local authority say no?

The local authority can refuse if they don't think your child needs an assessment. They may decide your child's difficulties are not severe enough or that school can provide the necessary support on School Action or School Action Plus. You can appeal against this refusal to an independent tribunal. Contact our helpline on 0808 808 3555 or post us a query on Facebook for further advice.

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All about the statement of special educational need

Information for families in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland

Although this information applies to Wales, we also support Scotland and Northern Ireland. Give our helpline a call on 0808 808 3555 for information and advice on any aspect of raising a disabled child or call your local contact. Find out our details in the In your area section.

In England, statutory assessments have now been replaced with Education, Health and Care needs assessments. If you're new to the SEN system then you might want to start on our page an introduction to special educational needs.