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Information about Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments in Portsmouth

In Portsmouth we are proud of the work we do to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

In 2014 new legislation was introduced, meaning that education, health and care needs assessments (EHCNA) were required to be completed in a 20-week timeframe.

Historically, Portsmouth has issued a high number of EHCPs within the 20-week statutory timeframe.

The 2023 calendar year saw an unprecedented 38% increase in requests for Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessments. Combined with a shortage of educational psychologists, this has unfortunately led to delays in the completion of EHC needs assessments in Portsmouth.

The national SEN2 data for 2023 has been published.  Portsmouth has reported a figure of 1.6% for EHCNA completed within 20 weeks. This means that Portsmouth’s performance is in the lowest 5 local authorities in the country

The council is implementing a recovery plan to deal with the backlog of assessments and return to delivering a high percentage of assessments within the 20-week timeframe previously seen in Portsmouth and progress is already evident in 2024 data.

The council has increased the size of the statutory SEND service to assist with the increase in demand. It is a priority to recruit into vacant roles including educational psychologists, who are key to this area of work.

Sarah Daly, Director of Children, Families and Education for Portsmouth City Council  said:

“We are committed to supporting every Portsmouth child to reach their potential and we apologise to those families’ experiencing delays in education, health and care needs assessments since last year. 2023 saw an 38% rise in requests for EHC assessments, and staff shortages also added to the delay.

We are implementing a recovery plan to deal with the backlog of assessments. We’ve recruited agency educational psychologists to carry out assessments and provided extra funding to complete assessments for pre-school pupils, so they have the support for when they start school. We are committed to reducing the wait for assessments and over time returning to the more positive position seen in Portsmouth prior to last year.”

We will keep you updated on progress via Portsmouth SEND Local Offer as we move forward with our recovery plan.

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