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This is a detailed investigation to find out exactly what a
child’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) are and what special help a
child needs. A statutory assessment is only necessary if the school
or early education setting cannot provide all the help that a child
A child’s school or early education setting can ask Medway
Council to carry out a statutory assessment. This should be
discussed with the child's parents before asking the council to
carry out the assessment.
If a parent feels that a child’s school or early education
setting may not be able to provide all the extra help needed or the
child is not making enough progress and so is falling
significantly further behind other children of the same age,
parents can ask the council to carry out a statutory
When a parent, early education setting, school or Academy asks
Medway Council to carry out a statutory assessment, it has six
weeks to decide whether to do so. The child’s needs and progress at
school will be considered carefully in line with the guidance in
the SEN Code of Practice and the Special
Educational Needs: Request for statutory assessment guidance
booklet (pdf 550KB), using information provided by
the school and parents. To use this file you will need Adobe
Acrobat Reader. If you do not have it on your computer, please use
Initial information will also be requested from Social
Services and Child Health Services, even though there may be
no involvement from those services. The school or early
education setting will tell the council about any special help
they are already providing to the child.
Parents should always talk to the child’s teachers or the
Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) /
Inclusion Manager at the school before asking the council. The
school can help parents to write to the council or parents can ask
the local parent partnership service or a voluntary
agency for help.
Who may need a statutory assessment?
Very few children need a statutory assessment. If the council
carries out an assessment, a number of professionals to give their
views on the child. These could be:
- staff from the child’s school or early education setting;
- a doctor;
- staff from the council's Children and Adults Directorate (who
will only give advice if they know the child);
- anyone else whose advice the council considers
Parents have the right to be present at any interview, medical
or other test during the statutory assessment. Sometimes the
professionals may ask to see the child without them
as children sometimes behave differently when a parent is
Parents will also be asked for their views again. This is
separate from asking whether a parent thinks their child should be
Parents should feel free to suggest any other people or
organisations they know whose views may be helpful in the
assessment of the child. Medway Council may then ask for their
views. Parents may also send the council any private advice or
opinions collected about the child and these will be taken into
account as part of the assessment.
Parents' views are very welcome and they should feel free to ask
questions at any time. The parent partnership service or a council
officer can help them.
The council will help parents to think about how to give their
views. There may be guidelines to help parents take part in a
child’s assessment. It is important that parents get as much advice
and support as they need. Parents may want to consider asking:
- the local parent partnership service;
- voluntary organisations working with children and young
- other parent support groups.
The council may also ask what the child thinks about their
special educational needs. This can play an important part in the
council’s assessment. If the child needs help to give their views
to the council, the parents, a teacher or another professional can
The assigned SEN Officer at Medway Council will help
to explain the assessment process and may be contacted during
What happens after the assessment?
Once the council’s SEN officers have collected all the advice
and comments about a child’s educational needs, they will decide
whether to make a Statement of SEN for that child.
A statement of SEN sets out a child’s needs and all the
special help they should have.
After the assessment, the council may decide it is necessary to
write down all the information it has collected in a document
called a Statement of Special Educational Needs (usually called a
If the council decides not to make a statement, it will explain
its reasons and provide the parents how it thinks the child’s
needs should be met in school, in an early education setting or in
any other way, as appropriate.
How long will the statutory assessment take?
Statutory assessment is carried out in accordance with specified
A request for statutory assessment must be considered
within six weeks of the date of request.
If statutory assessment is agreed, a decision about the issue of
a Statement of Special Educational Needs must be made within 18
weeks (from the date of the request).
If it is considered appropriate a final Statement of
Special Educational must be issued within 26 weeks (from the date
of the request).
The statutory assessment should take 26 weeks from start to
finish. There may be some exceptions to this timetable
when the overall time may be longer than 26 weeks. If this is
likely, the council will advise parents of the reason for the
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