Apart from when an EHC plan is first issued, the move between phases of education is the most common time that parents, carers or young people have to think about what school or college should be named in the EHC plan.
There should always be an annual review of the EHC plan before a transfer to a new phase of education.
What is a new phase of education?
This is defined in regulation 2 of the SEN and Disability Regulations 2014 (the “SEN Regs”) as a transfer from:
(a) early years education to school;
(b) infant school to junior school;
(c) primary school to middle school;
(d) primary school to secondary school;
(e) middle school to secondary school; or
(f) secondary school to a post-16 institution.
Very often this process is called a “phase transfer”
What happens to the EHC Plan?
Regulation 18 of the SEN Regs requires that the EHC plan must be reviewed and amended before—
(a) 31 March if the transfer is from secondary school to a post-16 institution
(b) 15 February in any other case, or
(c) If a young person is moving from one post-16 institution to another post-16 institution at any other time, at least five months before that transfer takes place.
This generally means the local authority (“LA”) should start the annual review process in the autumn term of the year before the child or young person moves setting.
LBR will send a school preference form at the end of summer term for Y5 and request for this to be returned by September so that they can start consultations in the autumn term
Y11 and other leavers will have annual reviews even if these are early, by the end of the first term (autumn). Normally Nov/Dec/Jan
Under the law, there is no requirement for parents of a child with an EHC plan, or young people with an EHC plan, to go through the normal admissions process. EHC plans should be dealt with separately to this.
If the LA refuses to name your choice of school, they may name a school that you would be particularly unhappy with. It is important to remember, however, that even if you do list several preferences the LA can refuse to name these, and they can legally name a school they feel can be suitable that you have not given a preference for.
You do have the right to appeal.
A refusal to name a particular school at phase transfer can be appealed to the SEND Tribunal.