Will my child have to change schools after applying for an EHCP?

If you (and your child) are happy with the school they are currently attending and they have agreed, once consulted with the draft EHCP that they are able to meet your child's needs, there is no reason why they should have to change schools. The Local Authority (LA) have to take into account the parents and child's views and preferences as well as having a right to a mainstream education. The law states that a child or young person with an EHC plan must be educated in a mainstream setting unless:

  • It is against the wishes of the child’s parent or the young person; or
  • It is incompatible with the provision of efficient education for others and the LA shows that there are no reasonable steps that it could take to prevent the incompatibility.

However, if you feel that a change of schools would be beneficial, then you have a right to request that your choice is consulted. The parent or young person has a right to request any of the following types of school or college:

  • A maintained school or nursery (mainstream or special)
  • An Academy (mainstream or special)
  • An institution in the Further Education sector
  • A non-maintained special school
  • A section 41 school (from the list of approved independent special schools and special post-16 institutions).

You can use the search on the DfE website to see under which category your chosen school comes under.

The only reason the local authority can refuse the request is if:

  • The setting is unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or special educational needs of the child or young person; or
  • The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the provision of efficient education for others; or
  • The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the efficient use of resources.

If you want one of the above types of school or college and your LA is refusing to consult with them, or if they have rejected your request for a reason other than one of the reasons listed above, you will need to complain to the LA.

If they have already finalised your EHC plan and named a different school, you can appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability).

However, when a parent or young person asks for an independent setting (other than a Section 41 school) as part of their ‘representations’ on the draft EHC plan, the onus is on them to prove that none of the schools the LA is offering can meet the child or young person’s needs, or that the cost of the placement will not constitute unreasonable public expenditure.

Public expenditure includes all the costs to the public purse of the placement not just those incurred by the LA education budget. This can include social care costs, health costs and any other costs incurred by any public body. If the parent or young person cannot show this, the LA is under no obligation to look at independent provision.

If you require any further support, including writing letters of complaint, then please do not hesitate to contact us.


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