Download: Annual reviews in advance of a transfer between phases of education (model 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.

After the review, the EHC plan should state that they will continue to attend their 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 they will attend from the start of the next academic year.

As described in more detail here, where the LA is amending the EHC plan it must notify the parent or young person of its decision within four weeks of the meeting. A draft of the proposed amendments must be sent together with the decision letter, in order for the parent or young person to make comments on the content of the EHC plan. The LA must finalise the amended EHC plan within eight weeks of sending the parent or young person the proposed amendments. This process must be completed 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 model letter.

Who should I write to?

You should write to the most senior person at the LA, usually called the Director of Children’s Services. You can find information and contact details for this person by clicking here.

Remember to keep a copy of any letter or email you send. If you don’t get a reply within five working days, or if you need further advice, you can book an appointment to speak with us.


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