Moving to secondary school with an EHC plan in September

If your year 5 child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan, you do not need to apply for a school place in the same way as other parents.

To let us know which school you would prefer your child to attend, you must complete the online form that we send to you. If you did not receive the email or have deleted it email

If you miss this deadline, it may impact our ability to finalise your school place by the national deadline of 15 February.

Choosing a school

When choosing a school, it’s useful to know what they can offer and how they support your child.

All mainstream schools (including academies), say how they support SEND pupils in their SEND information report which they should publish on their school website. It’s also worth visiting schools in person.

For more information we recommend you:

Telling us which school you would like your child to attend does not guarantee that it will be the one named on your child’s EHC plan, as we must consider several factors in deciding which school your child should attend.

How we decide which school is right for your child

Your nearest school

With the right support in place, most children and young people with SEND can attend their nearest local school, so we will talk to them.

If you name a different school to your nearest one, we will still talk to your nearest school to assess suitability. The right school will depend on:

  • its suitability for your child’s age, ability and special educational need
  • whether it has the resources and ability to teach your child alongside others in the school
  • if there is a school closer to your child’s home
  • the overall cost of your child attending your preferred school, including fees for independent or special schools and any potential transport costs.

Based on the above factors we will name the most appropriate school for your child on the EHC plan. There is the expectation that this would be their nearest school.

Parents/carers can express a preference for one school. You will not be able to change this preference if your preferred school is unable to offer you a place. It’s therefore very important that you consider this before making your final selection.

Specialist resource provision and special schools

A small number of children may need a more specialist setting. This might be a specialist resource provision (SRPs) in a mainstream school, or a special school.

We will name a special school on the child’s plan if we think it’s best for their education.

Find out more about SPRs and special schools.

Independent schools

If your child’s needs cannot be met in Kent, we may need to look for a place in a school in another local authority area. You may also think an independent special school would be the best place to meet the needs of their child.

Independent schools, also known as ‘private schools’ or fee-paying schools, are not funded by the government. Pupils who go to an independent school don’t have to follow the national curriculum. All private schools must be registered with the government and regularly inspected.

The Department for Education has a list of registered independent special schools and specialist post-16 institutions approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act. You can find details about them on the Department for Education’s website.

If you request an independent school that is not on this list, we have no power to ensure they admit your child. We will consider your wishes but are unlikely to consult with your preferred school if we do not think it would be suitable or if it is likely to cost significantly more than another suitable mainstream or special school.

If you request an independent school that is on the Section 41 list, we would consult with the school to establish the potential costs and whether it is suitable. However, due to these factors, it is unlikely that we will offer a place at an independent school if a suitable place is available at a mainstream or special school.


You might be able to get your child free transportation if they go to the closest appropriate school and are unable to walk, accompanied as necessary by a responsible adult.

If a mainstream school is not appropriate for your child, we may provide transport to the nearest special school or other specialist provision that can meet their need.

As free school transport is only usually granted to the nearest school, it’s very important that you consider how you will get your child to school when deciding what preference you wish to submit.

Read more information about transport eligibility.

What happens next

Once we have received all of the preferred information for all children moving into a new school year, we will consult with schools to ensure that every child receives the best possible offer.

We will name the most appropriate school for your child on their EHC plan.

Due to the high volume of children, these consultations may take time. SEN legislation gives us until 15 February each year to make sure this step is completed.

We will email you to confirm the expected outcome of your application.