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The Phase Transfer Review Process
Many Local Authorities (LA) are currently holding review meetings to review and amend the Education, Health and Care Plan (“EHCP”) for children or young people that are due to transfer from one phase of education to another.
Phase transfer refers to the movement from one stage or phase of education to another. For example:
- Nursery (early years) to primary school
- Infant to junior school
- Junior to secondary school
- Secondary school to post 16 education
The formal process that LAs go through to transfer an EHCP from one phase to another is known as the phase transfer review process.
All children or young people should have their final EHCP for phase transfer issued by 15 February, in the year of transfer. For young people transferring from secondary school to post-16 education, however, the deadline is 31 March, in the year of transfer. The rest of the process is the same for both groups. These deadlines ensure that if the LA does not name a school that the parent/young person is happy with, they have sufficient time to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal before the transfer takes place.
In order to meet these deadlines the LA must review the EHCP in the autumn term before the year of transfer.
Following the Phase Transfer Review meeting:
Where the LA has decided to amend the EHCP following the review meeting, it must inform the parent/young person of its decision within four weeks of the meeting.
The LA should subsequently issue a draft EHCP outlining all proposed amendments and allow the parent/young person to give feedback on those amendments. The LA should do this without delay. The content of the whole EHCP can be reviewed at this stage and not just the educational placement. The LA should also consult with the parent/young person on the school placement they would prefer. It is important for parents and young people to research schools they might want to request, why the school is suitable and whether a placement is available. The parent/young person will have 15 days from the date of the draft EHCP to offer comments on the content of the EHCP and to name their preferred placement for phase transfer. Draft EHCPs will not name a school.
The LA must finalise the draft EHCP within eight weeks of sending the parent or young person their proposed amendments. This process must be completed by the deadlines set out above. Section I of the final EHCP will usually state that the pupil will continue to attend their current setting until the end of that academic year and will name the placement or type of placement that they will attend from the start of the next academic year. Once a final EHCP is issued, if parents or young people are unhappy with the placement named in the EHCP, they will have the right to appeal. This right of appeal allows challenge against the content of other parts of the EHCP and not just placement.
At Boyes Turner we can assist with the phase transfer review process, from preparing your review contribution, attending the meeting and advising on an appeal, where necessary. Phase transfer review is about the content of the EHCP as much as it is about the naming of a new placement. Therefore ensuring the content of the EHCP is detailed and accurate is essential to the naming of the right placement for your child.
I am so happy at the outcome, I don't think we would have had such a comprehensive service from any other law firm, and you took the worry away...I do not regret a single second of the whole process, apart from the bit before you got involved.
James' mother, Boyes Turner client