Asking for a statutory assessment 

When should I ask?

If you believe:

  • that your child has a learning difficulty or a disability which is holding them back at school; and
  • that the school is not able to provide the help your child needs

You should also ask your Local Authority (LA) for a “statutory assessment” if your child is under school age, and you believe that they will need extra help when they start school.

Should I speak to the school first?

Yes, definitely. Speak to your child’s class teacher and the head teacher about your worries before writing to the LA.

What if the school offers to write on my behalf?

The head teacher is able to write and ask for a 'statutory assessment', but if you do it yourself you can be sure that the request has definitely been made, and you will know when it has been made. However, if the head teacher is willing, you could ask him or her to write a letter which supports your parental application.

Who should I write to?

Write to the top person at the LA, usually called the Chief Education Officer or the Director of Education. You can find out what the top person is called in your LA by asking at the school or the local library.

When should I hear back?

The LA must reply within six weeks.

Remember: Always ask in writing. Keep a copy of your letter. Make a note of the six week deadline for the LA’s reply. Ring IPSEA if you don’t get a reply after six weeks or if you want further advice.

Model letter 

You can download a word format copy of this letter here. 

Dear Sir or Madam,

(child’s name) (date of birth)

Request for formal assessment

I am writing as the parent of the above child to request an assessment of his special educational needs under the 1996 Education Act.

(child’s name) attends ..................... school.

I believe that (child’s name)'s special educational needs are as follows:


My reasons for believing that the school cannot on their own make the provision required to meet my child’s needs are:


I understand that you are required by law to reply to this request within six weeks and that if you refuse I will be able to appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal.

Yours sincerely,

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