The term “Phase Transfer” applies to those children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) who are transferring between various phases of education:
- Early years to school
- Primary school to middle school
- Infant to Junior School
- Junior to Secondary School
- Middle to secondary school
- Secondary to Post 16 education
In order to transfer the EHCP from one school to another, the LA has to go through a formal legal process. This is known as the phase transfer review (PTR) process.
All phase transfers, with exception of secondary transfer to Post 16 education, must ensure that the EHC Plan is reviewed and amended by 15 February in the year that the transfer takes place. This is to ensure that if the LA does not name the school the parents want, the parents have time to appeal the decision to SENDIST before the transfer takes place and the new school starts in the September (see Education Advocacy Information about Appeals)
For transfer from secondary education to Post 16 education, the deadline is the 31 March in the year that the transfer takes place. The rest of the process is the same.
These dates, 15 February and 31 March are deadlines that are set out in legislation, they must be adhered to by the LA’s. If they are not adhered to then you can seek a judicial review against the authority in the name of the child. This means that it is likely that you would get legal aid regardless of the parental income. This should have the effect of making the appeal free.
To make this process work in a timely fashion the task of reviewing the EHC Plan must take place in the autumn term (or earlier) in the year before the transfer takes place. This is essential if the deadlines are to be adhered to:
- Summer Term – LA tells school when the PTR has to be completed by. Top Tip – If you have not got an AR date by the end of the summer term ask for one and keep asking until you get one.
- Do your research about what school you want and why and whether there is a place available. Ring Education Advocacy if you need help.
- PTR at the school – autumn term. The school will give you at least 10 days’ notice of the PTR and distribute all the papers that they will be relying on at the PTR. If you don’t have the papers at the 10-day prior point, then talk to the SENCO.
- Make sure you book your advocate if you have one.
- The school hold the PTR.
- The school has 10 days to send the PTR report to the LA. Top tip – make sure you know the date that the school sent the AR to the LA.
- 4 weeks from the date of receipt of the AR review from the school the LA issues the draft amended EHC Plan. Top tip – if you don’t have a draft plan within 4 weeks then start pushing for an answer – every day. Make a note of your calls.
- Parents/the young person have 15 days from date of draft amended EHC Plan to respond with comments on the content and to name the preferred placement for phase transfer
- 8 weeks from the date of the draft amended EHC Plan, the LA should issue the final amended EHC Plan, naming the placement for phase transfer or naming the type of placement if a specific placement is yet to be identified.
Parents and/or the young person has two months from the date of the final amended EHC Plan to lodge an appeal if unhappy with the placement named and/or the contents of the EHC Plan.
Top Tip – Use this opportunity to get the EHCP right for the next phase of education. If you’re not happy with what the plan says or the provision now is the time to sort it out. Do not allow yourself to be talked out of appealing by an authority promising something will take place at some stage in the future.
The following timeline example should help you keep things in check for those phase transfers other than secondary to post 16 education:
- 23 November – latest date in the autumn term that the Annual Review meeting should take place
- 21 December – draft amended EHC Plan issued as a result of the annual review meeting
- 4 January – parents respond to the draft amended EHC Plan
- 15 February – final EHC Plan issued
- 14 April – final date to lodge an appeal – but at Education Advocacy we would suggest lodging any appeal as soon as possible. Do not delay!
For those phase transfers from secondary to post 16 education:
- 6 January – latest date that the Annual Review meeting should take place
- 3 February – draft amended EHC Plan issued as a result of the Annual Review meeting
- 17 February – parents and/or the young person respond to the draft amended EHC Plan
- 31 March – final EHC Plan issued
- 30 May – final date to lodge an appeal – but at Education Advocacy we would suggest lodging any appeal as soon as possible. Do not delay!
If you do not have a final EHCP by the 15 February or the 30 March in the year of transfer then contact us immediately as the LA will probably be denying you access to a right of appeal and placement at the school of your choice. We can challenge that if necessary through Judicial Review.
Section I of an EHCP name the school/placement that a child/ young person will attend.
The Local Authority (LA) must issue a draft EHC Plan. The complete contents of the EHCP can be reviewed at this stage, not just the placement. They must ask parents or the young person to name the school of their preference for the move to a different phase of education. The draft plan will not name the school.
The LA must then issue a final amended EHC Plan, which will name the new placement for the phase transfer. This must be issued within 8 weeks of the draft amended Plan being issued. Once the final amended EHC Plan is issued, if the LA has not named the placement of preference then parents and/or the young person have the right to appeal. There is also the right to appeal against the other parts of the EHC Plan (see Education Advocacy information on EHC Plans).
At Education Advocacy, we can advise you on this process, from the preparation of your annual review contribution through to an appeal, if it is necessary. It is important to remember that this process is not just about the naming of a new placement, but it is also about the contents of the EHC Plan; the contents of the Plan are crucial to the naming of the right placement and securing the appropriate provision for you child.
See our further information about EHC Plans and Annual Reviews.