Please note this piece was written prior to the temporary closure of education institutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic – as such it should be read in light of the developing situation and bearing in mind that both school and local authority resources are under additional strain which is likely to lead to delays. However, the deadlines referred to below still apply to EHC plans which should have been amended in advance of phase transfers for the next academic year.

At this time of year, many families will be thinking about their options, as children and young people with special educational needs (“SEN”) prepare for a move from one phase of education to another. We are fast approaching the 31 March deadline by which LAs have to issue final amended Education, Health and Care (“EHC”) plans for those transferring from secondary education to post-16 education. The deadline for all other phase transfers passed on 15 February.

IPSEA has received a number of queries concerning young people who have been told they cannot remain at their current special school, because their local authority is not permitted to fund school places for those aged 19 and over.

IPSEA does not believe this is correct.

There is guidance to local authorities which appears to suggest this – but on analysis, the guidance does not match up with the law. IPSEA is concerned that LAs are using the guidance to refuse young people places to which they may be legally entitled.

IPSEA has prepared a detailed analysis of the law and guidance which can be downloaded here – this may be of interest to families, advisers and special schools.

If you have further questions, IPSEA has lots of resources online or you can book an appointment to speak with us. Your local IASS service should also be able to advise and assist you.