When a child or young person with an EHC plan moves into a different local authority’s area, Surrey County Council must transfer the Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) to the new Local Authority (LA).
The new LA may require proof of address before you can start applying for schools in their authority, such as:
- 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
For children and young people currently living in the UK and with an existing Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
When moving to a new LA within England, it is important that you let Surrey County Council (your current SEN team) and your new LA (*new SEN team) know that you are moving, as soon as possible. This should be at least 15 working days beforehand so that the transfer happens on the day of your move.
The EHCP transfer must take place on the day you move unless you have not given 15 days’ notice. If you have not given notice the 15 days starts from the day you inform them of the move.
*If you are unsure of the details of your new LA’s SEN team, you can check the details on their ‘Local Offer’ page.
What the new Local Authority must do:
Once you move, the provision in your child’s EHCP becomes the responsibility of the new LA. As soon as the EHC plan has transferred, the new LA has the same legal duties as if they had issued the EHC plan themselves.
The new local authority must tell you what it is going to do within six weeks of your move.
If it is not doing a full reassessment of your child’s needs, it must review the plan before one of the following deadlines, whichever is the later:
- Within 12 months of the plan being made, or
- Within 12 months of the previous review, or
- Within three months of the plan being transferred
Your child should not be left without education in the meantime.
The SEND Code of Practice states:
“The requirement for the child or young person to attend the educational institution specified in the EHC plan continues after the transfer. However, where attendance would be impractical, the new authority must place the child or young person temporarily at an appropriate educational institution other than that specified –for example, where the distance between the child or young person’s new home and the educational institution would be too great –until the EHC plan is formally amended. The new authority may not decline to pay the fees or otherwise maintain the child at an independent or non-maintained special school or a boarding school named in an EHC plan unless and until they have amended the EHC plan”SEND Code of Practice, (9.159)
After a review or re-assessment, the new LA could decide:
- Keep the EHC plan the same
- Make changes to the EHC plan. You will have a chance to make representations about these changes and object to any amendments you disagree with in the same way you would after an annual review
- Cease to maintain the EHC plan
Whichever decision the LA makes, if you disagree with it you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (the “SEND Tribunal”).
For children and young people currently living in the UK with special educational needs and/or disability but no EHCP:
All Local Authority 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 admissions processes which can be found on the LA’s website or their ‘Local Offer’ page.
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 your new IASS 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.
Special schools (for those with EHCPs):
Special school places are allocated annually for Key Stage transfer places (i.e. infant to junior; junior to senior) through a process put in place by the new LA. For details of this process in your new LA, you would need to contact the SEND team, as processes can vary from authority to authority.
It is important to note that if your new LA issues an EHCPfollowing the assessment, this by no means guarantees a special school place. The majority of children with EHCPs attend mainstream schools.