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Council Services:

EHC needs assessments and Dynamic Assessments

EHC Needs Assessment

Sometimes the needs of a child are severe and complex and it is clear that his/her needs cannot be properly met without intervention and support over and above that which is routinely available in school. In these circumstances an Education, Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment may be requested from the Local Authority. The details of this process are set out in the SEND Code of Practice 2014 and can be found on the SEND local offer website.

The decision to request an EHC needs assessment will usually be agreed at an SEN Support review meeting arranged by the pre-school setting, school or college. This meeting should usually be held as part of the ‘assess, plan, do, review’ cycle and provides an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions which are already in place to support the child’s needs. If it is felt that there continues to be concern about progress despite targeted intervention over a period of time, then those present at the meeting might consider requesting an EHC needs assessment.

Requests for EHC needs assessments are usually made by the pre-school setting, school or college. If the Local Authority decides to carry out this assessment Educational Psychologists submit a formal, typed report known as ‘psychological advice’. To prepare this advice, we may need to spend additional time talking with the teacher or key worker, parents/carers, and/or the child/young person.

This psychological advice will describe:-

  • Our sources of information about the child/young person;
  • What we have learnt about the child /young person and his/her progress in education;
  • Desirable outcomes for the child/young person; and
  • Recommendations about approaches and strategies which may help meet those outcomes.

The Local Authority will consider the information we provide along with that submitted by parents/carers, and other education, health and social care professionals.

The EHC needs assessment may lead to an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) being issued. This will describe clearly the child’s special educational needs and how they should be met. If an EHCP is issued it must be reviewed at least annually.

Currently if the child/young person’s needs are being met through the delivery of the EHCP it is unlikely that we will need to continue to work with him or her or be involved in the annual review of the EHCP. From time to time concerns may arise and these are likely to be discussed with us either during routine visits to the education provision when any further involvement might be agreed, or through telephone discussions with a key professional or parent.

Dynamic Assessment

Key Elements

Four key elements for learning:

  • the importance of social context
  • language shaped thinking
  • learning how to learn (i.e. processes)
  • limitations are set by belief systems.

Dynamic Assessment is the assessment of thinking, perception, learning and problem solving. Dynamic Assessment occurs during an active teaching process. It’s aimed at seeing what needs to be in place to help a child learn.

We achieve this by using materials based on puzzle/game like activities.

During Dynamic Assessment

Children discuss the skills they’re using to solve the problems presented. The assessor will guide the learning.

This is to help the child:

  • identify skills and transfer them to other problems within the assessment;
  • generalise these skills into broader learning contexts and suggest where such skills could be applied.

Activities are not timed. They do not provide a standardised score.

The focus is on the learning process. We are seeking to identify ways in which the child can become a more effective learner.

We identify what is already in place that increases learning and develop these during the assessment process.

The purpose of Dynamic Assessment

It’s an assessment of learning processes, rather than the end product of learning.

It seeks to move from assessing ‘knowledge’ or a ‘learned skill’ that does not readily transfer, to assessing problem solving skills that can:

  • be developed and;
  • be transferred via guided support/learning.

Dynamic Assessment helps the child become a more effective learner and provides information for teaching strategies.

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Last updated: 2 November 2017

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