SEN Assessment Team

Last updated: 20/02/2023

The SEN Assessment team is responsible for carrying out  new Education, Health and Care Plan assessments and   reviewing and maintaining existing Education Health & Care Plans (EHCP).

Who to contact

Contact Name
Nicola Ponton
Contact Position
Principal SEN Manager
01635 519713

Where to go

West Berkshire Council
Market Street
RG14 5LD

Time / Date Details

When is it on
Office hours are 9-5 Monday-Thursday and 9-4.30 on Fridays.
Time of day
Session Information
We try to be flexible if meetings need to take place outside of these hours.

Other Details


Age Ranges
Referral required

Local Offer


If a child or young person has needs that clearly are not able to be met in school without significant help, then an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment may be needed. This is a formal process with procedures and a timetable, set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice. An Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment is carried out by the Local Authority in partnership with parents and will include advice from all relevant professionals, each with specialist skills, to determine what your child’s special educational needs are and what help will be needed to meet those needs.

The Special Educational Needs Assessment Team has responsibility for managing the Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment process, for issuing Education, Health and Care Plans where appropriate, and arranging suitable education provision (either extra support in mainstream school or a specialist placement). The team is also responsible for maintaining Education, Health and Care Plans and making any changes which may be needed following Annual Reviews. 

 The SEN Assessment team also:

  • Offers a point of contact for parents, pre-schools, schools, colleges and professionals
  • Advises professionals and parents of statutory requirements for Special Educational Needs and Disability
  • Provides challenge and support to schools and colleges
  • Attends Education, Health and Care Panel meetings. The Panel meets to consider a range of topics including determining whether EHC requests meet the criteria for an assessment, setting budgets for EHCs plans and considering requests for changes to funding or placement.
  • Has responsibility for the appropriate delegation of resources to support children’s needs
  • Has responsibility for determining eligibility for SEN transport and arranging this if applicable
  • Supports young people with the transition from school to further education and training

We are a small, friendly team consisting of four Case Officers, four Education, Health and Care Co-ordinators , an Assistant Manager for Secondary provision, an Assistant Manager for Transition/Post 16,  Assistant SEN Manager for Early Years and Key Stage 1 and the SEN Manager who leads on Key Stage 2 and transition to Secondary School. We tend to work over different age ranges and we aim to ensure consistency so that parents, children, young people and professionals get to know their contacts within the team and establish good working relationships with us.

Contact Name
Nicola Ponton
Contact Telephone
01635 519713
Contact Email
SEN Provision Type
Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, Medical, Specific Literacy Difficulties, Speech & Language Difficulties, Behavioural, Emotional & Social Difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Physical Disability, Hearing Impairment, Moderate Learning Difficulties, Severe Learning Difficulties, Visual Impairment
Local Offer Age Bands
0 to 1
1 to 4
5 to 7
7 to 11
12 to 14
15 to 16
16 to 18
19 plus
Needs Level

General Provider

Is your service accessible? (consider in general terms how you make your service accessible, in addition to any specific premises issues)

As a team we work in a variety of settings, and can meet at Council premises, schools, children’s centres, in the family home or other locations depending on where is most appropriate. In addition to face to face meetings we also use emails, telephone calls and have the facility to video conference. We are able to provide interpreters or accessibility arrangements for individuals as required.

What are the eligibility criteria for your service? (please include any age restrictions, types of need catered for etc)

Any parent or educational setting can contact the team at any time to ask questions or discuss concerns. If we are not the right team to help we will happily direct you to the team you need. To be eligible for an EHC Needs Assessment a child or young person must meet the attached criteria. (See document downloads)

How are referrals/applications made to your service? (include details of who can refer/apply and referral and application process)

Who can request an assessment? Parents, carers and education providers can request an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment if they think more support is required than is available within the setting’s resources, to help the child or young person make progress. The SEN Code of Practice states that anybody can bring a child or young person who has (or may have) SEN, to the attention of their Local Authority. This might include, for example, Health or Social Care professionals, Youth Offending Teams, or, Probation Trusts and those responsible for education in custody. When can a request for an assessment be made? It can be requested when the education setting or a parent has concerns about a child not making adequate progress at school despite having received help. It can also be requested when a child or young person has a disability which means significant adaption’s need to be made to enable them to access the curriculum or school environment. How can a request for an assessment be made? A parent should first discuss their concerns with the school or educational setting. If concerns persist, a parent can write to the Special Educational Needs Assessment Team to request a needs assessment. The school Pre-school or further education provider can apply by submitting an Education, Health and Care assessment application.

What is your service standard for responding to referrals/accessing services? (include timescales for responding to referrals and accessing services)

When we receive an application for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment one of our Case Officers will telephone parents within five working days to ensure we have relevant information and to talk through what happens next. The application for an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessments will be considered by the EHC Panel following its receipt. What happens if a request for an assessment is agreed? An Assessment Co-ordinator will be allocated and will contact parents to arrange an initial meeting. What happens if a request for an assessment is refused? The parents will be told of the decision, stating the reasons and giving information regarding the right to appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal. A flow chart illustrating the EHC assessment process can be found in the document downloads.

Who provides / funds your service?
Local Authority
Are children, young people, parents / carers charged for your service?
Inspection outcomes/quality awards

As a Local Authority, West Berkshire undergoes appropriate inspection.

Feedback and complaints procedure

The Special Educational Needs assessment team is part of the wider Children’s Service. As such, the Council’s complaint’s procedure applies. We are also happy to take feedback directly. There are some circumstances in which a family can appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal, outside of the Council complaints policy. A mediation service and Parent and Young Person's Partnership (parent support) are available as part of the tribunal process.

How will I know my child will be safe using this service?

All of the team are subject to enhanced checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Quality checks

  • DBS check

West Berkshire Council do not promote or endorse any of the services listed in this Directory. For more information on this please read our disclaimer.

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