Statutory Assessment

Information on the Statutory Assessment process and online request form.

A Statutory Assessment is a formal and detailed process to find out what your child’s special needs are, and what additional help they may need in school.

A child may need a statutory assessment before going to nursery school if they have very severe or complex needs, or for children and young people already at school if the extra support they have been getting for their special educational needs is not helping.

A Statutory Assessment is only necessary in a very small minority of cases and a request for a statutory assessment does not always lead to a statement of special educational needs being issued.

While the Education Authority is carrying out Statutory Assessment, your child will continue to receive help and support from the school through their Individual Education Plan (IEP).

What happens during the process?

During Statutory Assessment, important decisions need to be made that may shape your child’s education in the future and this process takes time to complete. The decisions must be based on detailed information.

The Education Authority will gather any information available from:

  • You - to get your views about your child
  • Where appropriate, your child
  • Teachers at your child’s school
  • An educational psychologist  
  • Medical professionals
  • Specialist teachers from the EA’s specialist services if they are involved
  • Social services if they know your child
  • Anyone else working with your child that you think we need to talk to.

This information is called advice and should let us know what your child can and cannot do and what special help they may need.

The Education Authority will consider all of the available information and decide whether or not an assessment is required. If the decision is made not to proceed with a Statutory Assessment you will be informed of the reasons for the decision in writing. If you do not agree with the decision you will be given details on how to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal

How long does a Statutory Assessment take?

If the Education Authority agree that your child needs a statutory assessment, it aims to complete the assessment within 26 weeks. The Education Authority will provide parents with details of a named SEN Link Officer with whom you will be able to discuss any questions or concerns regarding the assessment.

A flowchart is available which provides information on the Statutory Assessment process, including timescales.

Does a Statutory Assessment always lead to a Statement being issued?

The information gathered during the assessment may indicate ways in your child’s needs may be met without the need for a Statement. If this is the case, the Education Authority will issue a ‘Note in Lieu’. The decision to issue a Note in Lieu can be reassuring to parents or carers. When issuing a Note in Lieu the Authority provides parents with a full explanation of its decision and how their child’s Special Educational Needs can be met by school and, if required, EA SEN Services. Parents will be given a right of appeal if the Education Authority decides to issue a Note in lieu to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.

A flowchart is available which provides information on the Statutory Assessment process, including timescales.

What is a Proposed Statement?

If the Education Authority (EA) decides that a Statement is needed for your child, it will write a first version called a “Proposed Statement.” This will describe your child’s special educational needs and the support proposed for your child.  The EA support will be over and above what is ordinarily available in a mainstream school.  A copy of the Proposed Statement will be sent to you along with copies of the advice received.

You can contact the EA if you think it needs to make changes to the Proposed Statement. You have 15 days to make comments, to ask for a meeting or to accept the Proposed Statement. 

At this time, EA will ask you which school you would prefer your child to go to that can meet his or her Special Educational Needs.  This may be the same school that they are already attending, a different mainstream school or specialist provision.

If you have agreed, EA will consult with your preferred school, if appropriate, by sending the Proposed Statement to the school and ask the school if it can meet your child’s special educational needs as written on the Proposed Statement.

Once the school replies you will be notified and EA will send you a final Statement. However, if it has not been possible to place your child in the school of your preference, your SEN Link Officer will contact you to discuss further options.  You are welcome at all stages to contact your SEN Link Officer for help, advice or guidance.

Request for Statutory Assessment

Online form to request statutory assessment of a child or young person.

Last updated: 28/09/2021