Phase transfer and late plans

The expression ‘phase transfer’ means when a child or young person is moving between phases of education, such as from nursery to primary, primary to secondary etc.

It is a defined term in the SEN Regs: SEN Reg 2(1)

“transfer between phases of education” means a transfer from—
(a) relevant 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

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014, 2(1)

Where a child or young person is within 12 months of a transfer between phases of education the local authority must review and amend the EHC plan. This will be, at the very least, to name the school, post-16 or other institution, or type of school or institution, which the child or young person will attend following that transfer. The LA must issue the child or young person’s finalised EHC plan before:

  • 31 March in the case of a transfer from secondary school to a post 16 institution;
  • 15 February in the case of a child’s transfer in any other case,

SEE BELOW FOR WHERE THIS IS WITHIN LAW:

These dates are end dates and have been deliberately set to allow an appeal to the Tribunal to be concluded before the end of the summer term. The Code emphasises the need for timeliness (see below).

In order for an EHC plan to be reviewed and amended by the 15 February in a calendar year (in the case of a child), the annual review process must first take place, followed by the procedure for finalising the amended EHC plan once a proposal is issued, which has a time limit of 8 weeks as described above.

Therefore, for children who are going into phase transfer, it is likely that the annual review meeting will need to be called in the autumn term at the beginning of the child’s last academic year in the setting they are leaving to enable these statutory time limits to be met. Failure to issue the amended EHC plan by the time limits in the year of a phase transfer is a breach of statutory duty by the LA.

SEND Code of Practice (page 198/199) states:

Transfer between phases of education

9.179 An EHC plan must be reviewed and amended in sufficient time prior to a child or young person moving between key phases of education, to allow for planning for and, where necessary, commissioning of support and provision at the new institution.

The review and any amendments must be completed by 15 February in the calendar year of the transfer at the latest for transfers into or between schools. The key transfers are:

  • early years provider to school
  • infant school to junior school
  • primary school to middle school
  • primary school to secondary school, and
  • middle school to secondary school

9.180 For young people moving from secondary school to a post-16 institution or apprenticeship, the review and any amendments to the EHC plan – including specifying the post-16 provision and naming the institution – must be completed by the 31 March in the calendar year of the transfer.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014:

Reviews and re-assessments

Circumstances in which a local authority must review an EHC plan

18.—(1) Except where paragraph (3) applies, where a child or young person is within 12

months of a transfer between phases of education, the local authority must review and amend,

where necessary, the child or young person’s EHC plan before—

(a) 31 March in the calendar year of the child or young person’s transfer from secondary

school to a post-16 institution; and

(b) 15 February in the calendar year of the child’s transfer in any other case,

and where necessary amend the EHC plan so that it names the school, post-16 or other institution,

or type of school or institution, which the child or young person will attend following that transfer.

(2) Where it is proposed that a young person transfers from one post-16 institution to another

post-16 institution at any other time, the local authority must review and amend, where necessary,

the young person’s EHC plan at least five months before that transfer takes place so that it names

the post-16 institution that the young person will attend following the transfer.