By 15 February, councils must issue a final EHC plan for every child going through a phase transfer at school, i.e., from primary to middle or junior, from primary to secondary, or from middle or junior to secondary.
If your child has an EHC plan, you have the right to request a particular school, college or other institution in Section I of your child's EHC plan providing the placement is a:
- maintained nursery school
- maintained school and any form of academy or free school (mainstream or special)
- non-maintained special school
- further education or sixth form college
- independent school or independent specialist college (where they have been approved for this purpose by the Secretary of State - known as Section 41 schools or colleges)
Councils must comply with your preference and name the school or college in the EHC plan unless:
- it would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or
- the attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or
- it would be an inefficient use of resources.
The final EHC plan should name the school placement in Section I. If you do not agree with the school placement named in your child’s EHCP, you can challenge the council’s decision by appealing to the First Tier Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal.
The 15 February statutory deadline must be met so there is enough time for you to challenge the council’s decision, and for the appeal to be heard and a decision made before the start of the next academic year.
If the council misses the 15 February deadline, you should contact them straight away to find out what is causing the delay and request that a final EHC plan is issued immediately.
An appeal cannot be lodged without a final EHC plan and a covering letter detailing appeal rights.
We frequently act for parents, helping them in their dealings with councils, particularly in relation to the issue of final EHC plans if responses are not being received. We can also represent parents at SEND tribunal appeals, where there is disagreement about the school placement named in the EHC plan.
If your child is transferring schools and you need support, contact us as soon as possible.