Children and young people (YP) with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) do not go through the normal admissions system if your child/YP has an EHCP.
Parents or young people have a legal right to request that a school or college is named in an EHCP or express a preference for an independent school, college or other institution.
You can request a setting of your choice when:
When you receive the draft EHCP, the name of the setting in section I will be left blank. You will be asked for your preference (choice) of setting, which may be a mainstream or specialist setting.
You have the right to express a preference for any setting in the following categories:
The LA must consult with your chosen setting, this normally involves sending the setting a copy of the EHCP and reports. The setting will decide if they can meet your child/YP’s needs, the final decision to name a setting in the EHCP is the LA’s.
The LA must name your preference if it is:
If the setting is named on the EHCP, then they must give your child/YP a place.
If you would like a setting that is completely independent, you can ask the LA to consider it. This is called ‘making representations’. The setting will need to agree to offer your child/YP a place and you will have to prove that no other setting is suitable.
Sometimes the LA may not name the setting you want, this could be because:
There is a general right in law to a mainstream setting if this is what you would prefer.
The LA can only name a special school against your wishes if:
The LA cannot refuse mainstream on the grounds that it is ‘not suitable’.
If your child/YP is moving schools or leaving school to go to college, the LA must ask your preference for the next stage of education. Options should be discussed at the annual review prior to transfer. The annual review should take place in the autumn term of their final year at the current setting.
There are set legal timescales for the LA to issue an amended final EHCP naming the new setting for entry in September. These are:
If the LA does not name the setting you would like you have the right to mediation and appeal to the First Tier Tribunal for Special Educational Needs and Disability. You will need to do this within 2 months of the LA’s decision or one month from the mediation certificate, whichever is later.
If you need more help or advice, please contact us