CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Annual reviews in advance of a transfer between phases of education (template letter 12)

What is a ‘phase transfer’?

Local authorities (LAs) have a legal duty to review and amend an education, health and care (EHC) plan when a child or young person transfers from one phase of education to another.

Phase transfer is the moving between particular stages of education:

  • early years education to school
  • infant to junior school
  • primary to middle school
  • primary to secondary school
  • middle to secondary school
  • secondary school to a post 16 institution

For those transferring from secondary school to a post-16 institution, the EHC plan must be reviewed and amended by 31 March in the year of transfer.

For all other phases of transfer, the deadline is 15 February in the year of transfer.

When a young person is already attending a post-16 institute and it is proposed that they move from one post-16 institution to another at any time, the LA must review and amend the EHC plan at least five months before that transfer takes place.

These deadlines are set out in Regulation 18 of The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014.

What this means is that after the review, the EHC plan should say that your child, or as a young person that you, will continue to attend the current setting until the end of the academic year (or another date if different). In Section I, it should name the setting or the type of setting that your child, or you, will attend from the start of the next academic year.

As described in more detail here, where your LA is amending (or changing) the EHC plan, it must:

  • Notify you as the parent or young person of its decision within four weeks of the meeting. 
  • Send to you a draft of the proposed amendments together with the decision letter, so that you can make comments on the content of the EHC plan.
  • Finalise the amended EHC plan within eight weeks of sending to you the proposed amendments.
  • Complete this process by the deadlines set out above. This means that discussions about transfer need to begin early in the autumn term of the year before transfer to allow plenty of time for the review and amendment process to happen.

What if the LA has not started the annual review process on time?

If you haven’t been notified that a review of the EHC plan is going to take place by the autumn term, you can write to the LA using our template letter.

Who should I write to?

You can use this letter to write to the top person at the LA, usually the Director of Children’s Services. You can find this information and contact details for this person online. It may help to copy in the LA’s monitoring officer, your ward councillor, and the LA case worker or officer you have been dealing with as well.

Your LA’s Local Offer should clearly set out how a formal complaint can be made in its complaints procedure. This can be found on your LA’s website. You should follow the LA’s complaints procedure as well as writing to the Director of Children’s Services. See our making a complaint about a LA page for more information.

Remember to keep a copy of any letter or email you send.

If you don’t get a reply after five working days, or if you need further advice, you can book an advice line appointment with IPSEA.


If you haven’t been able to find the answer to your question on this page, see our FAQs.