Transition Review

(Please also see the Annual Review and Annual Review Flow Chart Information Sheet)

Transition Reviews largely follow the same process as an Annual Review of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

There are variations for particular age groups or specific situations.

These relate to:

  • children moving from one phase of education to another requiring their EHCP to be amended by the 15th February
  • children and young people moving to Post 16 provision requiring their EHCP to be amended by the 31st March
  • children in Year 9 (and following years) whose Annual Reviews are to be treated as Preparing for Adulthood (PFA) and must include consideration for employment, independent living and their inclusion in their community and society
  • young people moving between Post 16 institutions must be reviewed and amended 5 months before the transfer is due to happen
  • when a child or young person has been released from custody.

Transition review

The LA must conduct a ‘transition review’ when the child or young person is transferring from one stage of education to another. This is to ensure the EHCP accurately describes the child or young person’s needs and provides the support they will require in their next placement. It also gives the child or young person and their parents an opportunity to raise any concerns they may have.

The process and timescales for EHCP reviews are outlined in the SEND Regulations 2014. Taking these into account, the review meeting should be early in the autumn term – ideally no later than October but by 22 November. Parents must be given at least two weeks’ notice of the meeting date.

The person arranging the meeting must request advice and information about the pupil from parents, the school, the local authority, and healthcare and social services professionals (if appropriate). For the transfer review, it’s also a good idea to have updated assessments from therapists or specialist teachers working with the pupil. All information gathered must be circulated to parents and other attendees at least two weeks before the meeting.

At the meeting the pupil, parents, school, local authority representative, and other professionals (if attending) will discuss the EHCP and the type of setting the pupil would like to move to. If a particular setting has been identified by the parents or young person as their preferred placement, this should be noted. The school will prepare a report of the meeting and the requested EHCP amendments for the local authority.

The Annual Review and the Transition Review can be carried out in the same meeting, however, there must be a clear differentiation between the Annual Review part of the meeting and the Transition Review part of the meeting.

The process is as follows:

  1. LA reviews the plan;
  2. LA sends proposed amendments and a copy of the plan (with section I left blank) to the parent or young person;
  3. Parent or young person has at least 15 days to make representations about the proposed amendments/content of the plan and to either request that a particular school (from the list in section 38(3) Children and Families Act 2014) is named or to express a preference for an independent
  4. LA issues a final amended plan, with notice of appeal rights, by the statutory deadlines in Regulation 18:

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.

(3) Where a child or young person is due to transfer from a secondary school to a post-16 institution on 1 September 2015 the local authority must amend and review the EHC plan under paragraph (1)(a) before 31 May 2015.

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 EHCP?

Regulation 18 of the SEN Regs requires that the EHCP 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.

These dates are end dates and have been deliberately set to allow an appeal to the First-Tier SEND Tribunal to be concluded before the end of the summer term.

This generally means the Local Authority (LA) should start the Annual Review process in either the summer or autumn term of the year before the child or young person moves setting, so year 1, year 5 or year 10, but by the 22 November.

So, where a child or young person is moving to a new phase of their education, the process is as follows:

  1. LA reviews the plan;
  2. LA sends proposed amendments and a copy of the plan (with section I left blank) to the parent or young person;
  3. Parent or young person has at least 15 days to make representations about the proposed amendments/content of the plan and to either request that a particular school (from the list in section 38(3) Children and Families Act 2014) is named or to express a preference for an independent placement (see our information sheet on choosing a school for a child with SEN for more information);
  4. LA issues a final amended plan, with notice of appeal rights, by the statutory deadlines in Regulation 18 (see above).

Once the final amended plan has been issued by the Local Authority (“LA”), if the parent or young person does not agree with the amendments, or wants further amendments made they can challenge this with an appeal to the First-Tier SEND Tribunal (please see our information sheet on appeals).

What is a preparing for Adulthood Review?

From Year 9 onwards, the LA has a duty to ensure that the annual review meeting “consider[s] what provision is required to assist the child or young person in preparation for adulthood and independent living” (Regulation 20(6) and Regulation 21(6) of the SEN and Disability Regulations 2014).

The aim of this is for young people with SEN to be supported towards greater independence and employability.

The 2014 SEND Code of Practice has some useful examples of what this might be (see paragraph 8.10):

  • support to prepare for higher education and/or employment;
  • training options such as supported internships, apprenticeships and traineeships;
  • support in finding a job, and learning how to do a job (for example, through work experience opportunities or the use of job coaches);
  • help in understanding any welfare benefits that might be available when in work;
  • preparation for independent living including where the child or young person wants to live in the future, who they want to live with and what support they will need;
  • considering local housing options including housing benefits and social care support available;
  • support in maintaining good health in adult life;
  • support in participating in society: this is a wide-reaching concept and includes such things as understanding how to get about (using transport and benefits options relating to this) and making and maintaining relationships.

The support required should be set out in the EHCP. Reviews in year 9 onwards should identify what action should be taken, and by whom, to provide the support the young person needs (paragraph 8.11 of the Code).

Remember that anything which educates or trains a young person is capable of being special educational provision. Health Care provision and Social Care provision which educates or trains a young person must be specified and quantified in section F of the EHCP.

The LA must not cease an EHCP simply because a young person is aged 16 or over.

Young people with EHCP may need longer in education or training in order to achieve their outcomes and make an effective transition into adulthood. This is something else that the local authority must take into consideration at annual reviews for young people aged 19 to 25 years.

What if a child or young person doesn’t attend a school or other type of education provision?

If a young person has an EHCP and is aged under 18 but is not receiving education and training (for whatever reason), the local authority must review the plan “to ensure that the young person continues to receive education or training” (see SEN Reg 29).

Whilst this is not, strictly, an annual review, the local authority must conduct the review in accordance with SEN Regs 18 and 19: which means that the local authority must follow the steps set out in the annual review process.

Where a child or Young Person has been released from detention:

  • While in custody the EHCP should continue to be used to actively monitor a CYP’s progress towards their outcomes.
  • The LA should conduct a monitoring meeting and continue to do so every 12 months. 
  • Taking a similar approach to that used for an annual review in the community would be appropriate.
  • On the child/young person’s release the LA must review their plan as soon as possible on release. Reviewing the EHCP as soon as possible on release to ensure it still reflects the CYP’s needs and has an appropriate education placement is important.

Paragraph 9.170 (page 195) of the 2015 SEND Code of Practice says:

“Local authorities must also review and maintain an EHC plan when a child or young

person has been released from custody. The responsible local authority must

involve the child’s parent or the young person in reviewing whether the EHC plan still

reflects their needs accurately and should involve the youth offending team in

agreeing appropriate support and opportunities.”