See Code of Practice para 9.170 forward (CoP9.170)
When a child, or a young person, transfers between various phases of education such as:
- infants to junior schools
- junior to secondary schools
- secondary to post 16
- post 16 – post 19
The Education, Health & Care Plan (EHCP) needs to be amended to name the new school in Section I of the EHCP.
Local Authorities (LAs) see this as a good opportunity to amend the EHCP as a result of what has gone on in the last few years. Normally this will be a time of reflection to look at the outcomes that are desired for the future.
Our experience has shown that this is also the time that LAs seek to claw back provision from an EHCP, to dumb it down or remove provision overall. This is normally done on the basis that ‘schools like to have the flexibility without being tide down specifically’ or ‘secondary schools do it differently ‘. This is wrong and normally illegal. An EHCP has to be specific, detailed and quantified.
Clearly, this is a time when parents need to be very aware of what is happening to their childs/young person’s EHCP. If in doubt, ask!
The Sen Code of Practice (CoP) and the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA) require LAs to issue amended EHCPs at various times.
All infant to junior and junior to secondary school transfers must be notified to the parents by 15th February in the year of transfer (ie 15th Feb 2010 for Y7 start in September 2020), the named school for the next phase of education. The EHCP needs to have been reviewed and amended such as to ensure that the school named by the LA has sufficient time for planning and commissioning of staffing and provision at the new school.
It may be that the LA simply identify in Section I of the EHCP wording such as ‘A maintained secondary school in the local area’, whilst this is not illegal, it is not very helpful for a child with special educational needs and any LA in that situation needs to have some very hard questions asked of it to understand why they are not in a position to name a school.
Normally this is because the schools in the local area, that might normally be expected to take a child with that set of needs, are oversubscribed and the LA is unclear as to what school they want the child to attend.
This is potentially quite dangerous as it is at this point that children, who should have specialist provision, are placed in mainstream despite the LAs knowing that they should not be there because the LA just does not have the necessary provision.
This needs to be addressed vigorously and urgently.
Post 16 Provision
Young persons (over 16 years of age) with an EHCP who are moving onto further education or an apprenticeship must have their EHCP amended by the 31st of March in the year of the transfer (i.e.31st of March 2020 for entry to FE College in September 2020).
It is not unusual at this stage for the LA to seek to drastically change EHCP provision to conform to their idea of FE sector provision. There is no reason in law why an FE college cannot provide speech and language or occupational therapy or specialist provision of any kind the only issue of one of funding and will.
Please ask if you are in any way concerned.