Transferring to the next school phase for children with an Education, Health and Care Plan
This guide explains the process for parents and carers who have a child with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and who are going through a phased transfer at the end of the next academic year;
- starting school for the first time
- transferring from lower/primary to middle/secondary, middle to upper or secondary/upper to post 16 education.
If your child fits into any of the above, you will need to start thinking about which school you would like your child to attend.
The admissions procedures for children and young people with an EHC Plans are set out in the Children and Families Act 2014 and are slightly different from those of other children. The difference is that schools must give priority to applications for children and young people with EHC Plans. Most children and young people with an EHC Plan are expected to attend their local mainstream school, where a mainstream school is identified as being appropriate to meet your child’s needs.
If your child is entering school for the first time it is essential that you get an admission pack from your local mainstream school and complete the admissions forms. If your child is currently in Year 3 (if attending a lower school), Year 5 (if attending a primary school), Year 7 (if attending a middle school,) or Year 10 (if attending an upper/secondary school) the process is described below.
What do I need to do?
During the summer term in the penultimate year at their current school, you will be invited to a review meeting called a ‘Transfer Review’. This will be held during the second half of the Autumn Term of the final year if in an Early Years setting. At this meeting the school that you would like your child to transfer to will be discussed. This may seem very early, but it is essential that sufficient time is allowed for the support to be put into place for your child’s new school to meet your child’s needs fully.
You will need to start thinking about which school you would like your child to attend during this summer term.
Before selecting a school, you may find it helpful to read their Ofsted report. You can also ask a school to send you information relating to the SEN policy. You can attend open days or evenings or you can contact the school directly to arrange visits. It would be helpful if you contacted the schools you are interested in and find out who is the best person to talk to about your child’s particular needs.
Before visiting the school, make a note of all the things you want to talk about at the meeting. You could also take a copy of your child’s EHC Plan and the latest annual review paperwork. When visiting schools, think about how the school can meet your child’s particular needs.
Questions you might ask on a school visit
- How will my child be helped in school?
- How will I be involved in my child’s learning?
- How is support organised in school (in class, in a small unit, in groups)?
- What equipment and materials will be available?
- Is there a breakfast club or after school activities that my child can be involved in?
- Does the school specialise in a particular area such as science or sport?
- How will the school keep me informed of my child’s progress?
What happens at the Transfer / Annual Review?
Parents or carers should make clear to the Local Authority their preferred school during this meeting. At these reviews, teachers and specialists will work with you and share ideas about the best way to meet your child’s needs in the future. Your child’s EHC plan will be amended based on the information provided at his / her Transfer Review, which will be processed according to statutory timescales. This is part of the preparation for the move to a new school. At the Transfer Review you should complete a form with your views also stating your school preference.
What happens next?
Using the Transfer review paperwork, the SEN Team will carefully consider the schools you would prefer your child to go to. You will receive a Proposed Amended EHC plan reflecting discussions held at the transfer review meeting. Please check the Proposed Amended EHC plan carefully and contact the SEND Team within 15 days if you have any questions or comments. At this time you will be asked to confirm your school preference if you have not already done so.
Under the SEN Code of Practice 9:79 the Local Authority (LA) must comply with parental preference, wherever possible as long as:
- the school you choose is suitable for your child’s age, ability, skills and SEN
- your child’s presence will not have a negative impact on the education of the other children already at the school
- placing your child in the school will be an efficient use of the LA’s resources
If you make a preference for your child to attend a school with a Resourced Provision or a Special School, the LA will consider the evidence and a decision on the most appropriate placement to meet your child’s needs will be made at the Local Authority SEND Panel.
You may want your child to go to a school that is not run by Central Bedfordshire Council, for example:
- amnon-maintained special school (usually run by charities)
- an independent school
- a school maintained (run) by another Local Authority
However, if there is a suitable local (state) school that can meet your child’s needs, the Local Authority has no legal duty to send your child to a non-maintained or independent school.
The Local Authority makes the application to a school sending a copy of the Proposed Amended EHC plan and the Annual Review paperwork. The school has 15 calendar days to reply. The Local Authority has a duty to specify the name of the school to which your child will transfer on their EHC plan by the 15th February in the final year of their current school. (For young people transferring to a post-16 setting the deadline is 31st March). If you would like to discuss the school that has been named, please contact the SEND Team.
Once a school is named on your child’s EHC Plan the current placement can start to organise a transfer plan working very closely with you and your child.
What happens if I disagree with the school named by the Local Authority (LA)?
If you disagree with the LA’s decision of the school named on your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan you may appeal to the SEN and Disability Tribunal.
This is an independent tribunal who hear and decide parents / carers appeals against the decisions of the Local Authority about children’s special educational needs, where parents / carers are unable to reach an agreement with the Local Authority.
For further information or advice, you can contact the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal Service– 01325 289350. Information is also available on the Government website.
Please note there is a time limit of two months for making an appeal from the receipt of the Amended Final EHC plan
Your right to appeal to the Tribunal will not be affected by any involvement in local mediation arrangements and can run at the same time.
Preparing your child for moving school
Many children and young people can be anxious about moving from one school to another, but there are lots of ways in which you can help them prepare for this change:
- remind them that all children in their year will be going through the same thing and will have similar worries.
- get them into routines. work out with them when they need to get up in the morning to get to school on time.
- go through the journey to school with them, so they know how long it takes and are familiar with the route. if there is a friend going to the same school, they could do this together.
- get school things ready the night before.
- be clear about what will happen after each school day.
- agree when and where homework will be done.
Sharing what you know about your child
You know your child best and you will have important information that you can pass on to the new form teacher or Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) who will help your child settle. You can prepare information about:
- your child’s strengths and interests
- strategies that have worked in the past
- how you have been able to help
- who else is involved with your child, for example, medical professionals / social workers
- any other useful information you would like teachers or staff to know about