How long does a statutory assessment take?

A statutory assessment normally takes about 6 months to complete. There are legal time limits set for the Education Authority to comply with, but these have quite a bit of flexibility.

However, if there are unnecessary delays in the process, free legal advice about how to deal with delay is available from the Children’s Law Centre.

If you have any questions about the statutory assessment process you should contact the Children’s Law Centre on 08088085678 or email: info@childrenslawcentre.org for advice.

What can I do if I am refused a statutory assessment?

A refusal of a formal request for statutory assessment will result in a right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) for the parent/carer.

The appeal must be made within 2 months of receipt of the letter notifying the parent/carer of the refusal to carry out a statutory assessment.

How do I get a statutory assessment for my child?

A parent/carer of a child can ask for a statutory assessment. This request should be made in writing and should be dated.

There is a 6 week time limit for the Education Authority to respond to this written request for a statutory assessment to say whether or not they will carry out the request.

A school can request a statutory assessment and will do so when it has tried all available teaching and learning strategies within the schools own resources and is of the opinion that the needs of the child cannot be met by the school alone and help from the Education Authority is required.

When is a statutory assessment likely to be carried out?

Many children do not require a statutory assessment in order to ensure that their needs are met at school. This is because the school itself can take action to help the child to learn at school.

On the other hand, when a child’s needs are significant and/or complex it may be necessary for the Education Authority to carry out a statutory assessment to find out whether extra support, provided directly by the Education Authority is required e.g. a classroom assistant.

Often a child will already be on Stage 3 of the Code of Practice when a request for a statutory assessment is made. However, the 5 stages are not “hurdles” which have to be crossed in turn and in some complex or serious cases it is appropriate to request a statutory assessment when no previous action has been taken at stages 1-3.

What is a statutory assessment?

A statutory assessment is a process of gathering full, up to date information about a child’s needs and the impact of their learning difficulty on the child’s school experience.

The Education Authority gather information called “advices” from parents/carers, the child’s school, relevant professionals such as an educational psychologist, a child’s therapist, medical professionals involved with your child, social services and any other relevant persons.

When the Education Authority have collected all of the advices they will examine the findings and decide whether it is necessary for the Education Authority to take the lead responsibility for the child’s special educational provision by making a statement of special educational needs.