CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Letter to LA when it has or will breach the deadline for reviewing and amending the EHC plan in advance of a phase transfer (template letter 12)

This template letter is for general advice purposes and will need to be tailored to your own individual circumstances. Please read all of the information on this page and, if possible, we recommend you take advice on using this letter. 

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 you as a young person, 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, or your LA has already missed the above deadline, you can write to your 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 on the Association of Directors of Children’s Services website. 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.

Should I make a formal complaint as well? 

Delay in finalising an EHC plan by the relevant phase transfer deadline and to your right to mediate and/or appeal if you don’t agree with what it says, is a very serious matter and means the LA is not complying with the law. Therefore, when a final EHC plan is late taking the time to complete your LA’s complaints process may not be appropriate, in which case we recommend you use our template letter to alert the LA to the issue and take advice on starting a process calledjudicial reviewinstead of making a formal complaint.  

You may prefer to complain or be thinking about complaining because, while being slow, the LA hasn’t breached the legal deadline yet but first check your LA’s complaints procedure for how long this would take. This can be found in your LA’s Local Offer on its website.  If necessary, after following the LA’s complaints procedure you can escalate the complaint to theLocal Government Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO). If a complaint goes through all stages of the LGSCO’s process, it can take many months to resolve. So again, if the situation is urgent – for example because the final EHC plan is late - we recommend you considerjudicial reviewinstead of making a formal complaint.  

If you decide to complain, 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. If complaining, you should follow the LA’s complaints procedure as well as writing to the Director of Children’s Services. See our page on taking action when things go wrong with a local authority for more information.     

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

If you need further advice or you use this template letter and do not get a reply after five working days, you can book an advice line appointment with IPSEA, use our call-in service or take advice and get help with judicial review from a legal aid provider or other organisation. 


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