Moving to Surrey when your child has Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

General information

The key point to be aware of, is that you need to have proof of a Surrey address before you can apply for a school place for your child. This could be a:

  • Utility bill (gas, electricity, water)
  • Council Tax statement
  • Copy of a tenancy agreement signed by both landlord and tenant or
  • Solicitor’s letter advising the completion date of a house purchase.

When finding a school within Surrey, it is always recommended that you visit as many schools as possible and ask the questions that are important to you. With regard to your child’s SEND, you may find our information sheet ”Choosing a school for a child with SEND” helpful.

To find local schools please visit Surrey County Council’s website and search for ‘Directory of Schools’. Schools can be viewed by type and location and there is a section for schools which cater for SEND.

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For children and young people currently living in the UK and with an existing Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

If your child already has an EHCP, provided by your current Local Authority, you will need to contact the relevant Surrey Special Educational Needs team, as soon as your Surrey address has been confirmed:

South West (Guildford, Waverley)

  • Address:
    Quadrant Court
    35 Guildford Road
    Woking, GU22 7QQ
  • Tel: 01483 517890
  • Email: swsen@surreycc.gov.uk

South East (Mole Valley, Reigate & Banstead,
Tandridge)

  • Address:
    Consort House
    5-7 Queensway
    Redhill, RH1 1YB
  • Tel: 01737 737990
  • Email: sesen@surreycc.gov.uk

North West (Runnymede, Surrey Heath, Woking)

  • Address:
    Quadrant Court
    35 Guildford Road
    Woking, GU22 7QQ
  • Tel: 01483 518110
  • Email: nwsen@surreycc.gov.uk

North East (Elmbridge, Epsom & Ewell, Spelthorne)

  • Address:
    Elmbridge Civic Centre
    High Street
    Esher, KT10 9DS
  • Tel: 01737 737940
  • Email: nesen@surreycc.gov.uk

Once you move, the provision in your child’s EHCP becomes the responsibility of Surrey County Council. Your old authority has 15 working days to transfer your EHCP to Surrey. If you give your old authority 15 working days’ notice of your move, it must transfer the EHCP on the day of your move.

You retain your parental right to state a preference for a maintained mainstream or special school (whichever is specified in the EHCP). Surrey County Council must tell you within six weeks of the date of transfer when they will review the EHCP and whether they will reassess your child. Otherwise the EHCP will remain the same, apart from the change of the name of school, until the next Annual Review.

A child with an EHCP will be automatically allocated a named SEND Case Worker.

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For children and young people currently living in the UK with special educational needs and/or disability but no EHCP

All Surrey schools have statutory duties to support children with SEND and are able to do so. You will need to apply for a school place via the usual admissions processes which can be found here: Surrey School Admissions Process.

If you are applying outside the normal admissions timetable, you will need to apply for an “in year” admission and you can do this up to four weeks before you need the place.

The school will assess your child and may then decide to put support in place such as SEND / SEN Support to meet their needs. If the school does not agree that your child has special needs or needs additional support, please contact our service to discuss this further.

Whether or not you believe your child may qualify for an EHCP, it will be extremely useful for you to be able to provide up to date reports (within the last 18 months, or two years at the most) from any professionals who have been involved with your child’s education or special educational needs. Other reports can also be useful, for example medical reports from a consultant paediatrician.

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For families living overseas, who are looking to relocate to the UK

As a first step you may like to gain an understanding of the SEND system in England. Please see the link to Surrey County Council’s Local Offer website for a general overview.

The majority of children with SEND are supported within school via SEND Support Arrangements. Please see our Information Sheet “SEND Support in Mainstream Schools” for more information on this.

Many families relocating to the UK send their children to a local mainstream school whilst any assessments are carried out. Others choose to educate their child at home until the results of any assessments are confirmed, especially if they feel that their child would not cope in a mainstream school.

A small number of children with more complex needs are supported via an Education Health and Plan (EHCP). The formal assessment process to receive an EHCP takes 20 weeks from the date the Local Authority receives the request. It would be helpful to submit evidence with your request for assessment to show your child has a higher level of needs which cannot be met within schools’ own resources. This is explained in our Information Sheet “Education, Health and Care Plans”.

If your child already has the equivalent of an EHCP in your country of residence and/or attends a special school, you should send copies of all the relevant paperwork to the appropriate Surrey County Council SEN Team (details above), including any recent reports from professionals. The Council will then decide whether to base its own initial judgement on this paperwork, or whether to carry out its own assessments.

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Special schools (for those with EHCP’s)

Special school places are allocated annually for Key Stage transfer places (i.e. infant to junior; junior to senior) through a Forum process. Children who require special school places and who arrive in Surrey outside of the Key Stage transfers can be considered by a Local Area Forum which meets fortnightly. If your child is assessed and it is decided that their SEND can only be met in a special school but there are no maintained (Surrey) special school places available, the LA will then look at alternative provision.

It is important to note that if Surrey County Council issues an EHCP following the assessment, this by no means guarantees a special school place. The majority of children with EHCPs attend mainstream schools.

The placement panels for Surrey special schools take place between June and September and if this is something that was considered appropriate in your current authority, you are advised to speak to your SEND Case Officer as soon as possible following your move. Some families negotiate for their child to remain in their current school until a placement is found, to minimise disruption to them.