Our daughter has an EHC plan, and has just started year 6. We are worried about which secondary school she will go to.
Local authorities (“LAs”) have a legal duty to review and amend an education, health and care (“EHC”) plan when a child or young person transfers from one phase of education to another – in this case, from primary to secondary. There is more information about this in the section about annual reviews in advance of a phase transfer.
For a transfer from primary to secondary school, the annual review must be completed by 15 February in the year of transfer. You must receive at least two weeks’ notice of the meeting, then within four weeks of the meeting the LA must notify you of their decision to maintain, amend or cease the EHC plan (at phase transfer it will need to be amended to name the new school). They must then send you details of the proposed amendments to the EHC plan without delay, and then finalise the EHC plan within eight weeks of the date they sent you the amendments. In order for the EHC plan to be amended and finalised by 15 February, discussions about transfer need to begin early in the autumn term of the year before transfer to allow plenty of time for the review and amendment process to happen. You can use our model letter to make a complaint if the LA has not begun the phase transfer in time, and request the review meeting is held without delay.
As part of the annual review process the LA will send you a notice setting out the changes they intend to make to the EHC plan. You will be able to request the school you want for your daughter. The LA must agree to your request unless one of the exceptions set out in the law applies.
If you disagree with the LA’s proposed school, or any other amendments they propose to make to the EHC plan, you can use our model letter to set out your objections.
It is important the review is concluded well before the end of year 6, because if the LA do not name the school you want in the final EHC plan, you will need to appeal to the SEND Tribunal. You will want the appeal to be concluded in good time for you to prepare for the September term.
It is not uncommon for LAs to ask parents to complete a ‘general preference form’ so their preference(s) can be considered. However, these forms apply to children and young people without EHC plans through separate legislation. Therefore, parents who have children with EHC plans are not required to complete general preference forms. You can find out more about your rights to request a particular school here.