Some local authorities (“LAs”) devise a list of certain schools which they will consult with when a parent or young person requests that a special school is named in Section I of the EHC Plan.

However, remember that when a parent or young person makes a request for any of the schools or institutions specified in section 38(3) of the Children and Families Act (“CAFA”) 2014, the LA must consult the school or institution (section 39(2) CAFA 2014). It can’t refuse to consult on the basis that the school or institution is not on their procurement list. 

It is also worth remembering the overall time limits for the EHC plan process. The LA must issue the finalised EHC plan within 20 weeks of the initial request for the EHC needs assessment. Delaying any consultation with the requested school will potentially mean that the LA misses this time limit and it will not be lawful for it to extend this time limit on the basis that it has not made a decision about something in the EHC plan (including what school should be named).

If your LA refuses to consult a school or institution you have made a request for under section 38(3), you can use our model letter to complain.