Enquire allowed me to understand what my child was entitled to educationally and how the school should be supporting my son – helped relieve my anxieties.
Understanding the basics 3: Assessment
Parents contact Enquire’s helpline at various times in their child’s life but we often hear from parents first when they are worried their child may have additional support needs or they feel their additional support needs have not been fully identified. This can be an emotional and worrying time and families are often not sure what they should do about getting their child assessed. Here are 6 key things you need to know about assessment and where you can find out more:
- Assessment is not a one off activity. Assessment happens throughout a child’s time at pre-school and school (or before pre-school for some children). If you have any worries about your child’s learning or support needs speak to the teacher at their pre-school or school first.
- Under the Additional Support for Learning Act, local authorities must make sure they have arrangements to identify and meet the needs of children who require additional support.
- Parents have the right to ask their local authority to carry out a specific assessment at any time (this could, for example, be a medical or educational psychology assessment).
- A local authority can refuse a request for an assessment if they think it is unreasonable. They may think it is unreasonable if they don’t think it is relevant, if it repeats a previous assessment or if there has not been a significant change in the child’s circumstances since an earlier assessment.
- If your child is over 16 and has capacity (i.e. is able to understand what is being asked and any decisions made) they have the right to ask for their needs to be assessed.
- Although a formal diagnosis of a particular condition or need may be helpful for informing and planning the support a child needs, a school should develop strategies or provide support to help a child (including while the assessment takes place) whether or not there is a formal diagnosis.
We’ve pulled together lots of useful information about assessment in a new factsheet. It explains what assessment involves, how to ask for one and what happens after a child has been assessed. You can also talk to one of our advisors about any questions you have about assessments by calling our helpline on 0345 123 2303.