Phase transfers for children and young people with SEND

If your Year 5 child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan and we have written to you about attending a secondary school in September 2024, find out how to apply for a school place and the next steps.

When your child moves from one stage of education to another this is called a phase transfer and happens when your child moves from:

  • early years setting to school
  • infant school to junior school
  • primary to secondary school
  • secondary school onto post-16 or 19 provision.

During the move between phases of education you have to think about what school or college should be named in your child’s education health and care (EHC) plan.

The phase transfer process

The process begins when your child is:

  • in their last year at their pre-school setting
  • year 2 if they are transferring to junior school
  • year 5 when transferring to secondary school
  • year 10 when thinking about post-16 options.

Annual review meeting

Each year your child’s current setting must hold a review meeting for the EHC plan called the annual review.

In the last year at your child’s current setting the annual review may discuss future placements as well as review the EHC plan. If the annual review is too early to discuss this there will be an interim review, called a phase transfer review.

Amended EHC plan

We will send you a copy of an amendment notice of your child’s EHC plan, usually in October, before your child transfers to a new setting the following September.

You will be asked to comment on the amendments to your child’s plan and provide us with your request for the next school or setting. You can do this once you have had the chance to attend open evenings or visit the schools or settings.

If you request a particular primary or secondary school, you do not need to apply for a school place through our school admissions service as your child has an EHC plan.

We must tell you which school or setting we will be naming and issue you with an amended final EHC plan by the 15 February before the transfer in September. We will always try to follow your wishes but sometimes that may not be possible.

If your child is moving onto post-16 provision we must tell you which provision we will be naming and issue an amended final EHC plan by 31 March before they transfer in September.

Choosing a school or post-16 provider

Most children and young people with special educational needs can be taught in mainstream schools or colleges. Only a very small number of children with severe or complex needs might have their needs best met by attending a special school.

Support for parents

Moving to a new school can be an exciting and anxious experience for your child and your family. Before your child starts school or college, there are some things you can do to prepare. Read our parent and carer transition guides on how to support your child move from:

Or contact the SEND Enquiries Hub for help.

If you are unhappy about the school or college named on your EHC plan

If you would like to discuss the school, college or provision that is named on the EHC plan then you can discuss with the SENCO at the setting in the first instance or you can also speak to IASK.

If you disagree with the setting or provision we have named you can appeal to the SEN and Disability Tribunal.

The views and opinions of children, young people and their families are important to us, as outlined in our transition charter and co-production charter. We want your voices to be heard.