Post-16 Phase Transfer Education, Health and Care Plans

Author:
Samantha Hale
Partner, Education & Community Care Solicitor
Date:
25/03/2019

When a child or young person with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan is transferring to post-16 education, it can be a difficult time for families. There are certain procedures that should take place before a young person transfers to post-16 education.

Their EHC plan must be reviewed and amended in sufficient time for that young person moving to post-16 education. This annual review and any amendments to the EHC plan – including specifying the post-16 provision and naming the placement – must be completed by 31 March in the calendar year of transfer, so in the case of young people wanting to begin in the new academic year in September, the review must be completed by the previous 31 March.

If a young person is expected to transfer to a new post-16 academic institution in the new academic year, the annual review must also normally be completed by 31 March. Transfers between post-16 institutions can take place at different times of year and the review process should take account of this.

If young people don’t meet the entry requirements for their chosen course or change their minds about what they want do after 31 March, the Local Authority should review the EHC plan as soon as possible to ensure alternative options are agreed and new arrangements are in place as far in advance of the start date as practicable.

For legal advice get in touch with our Education Lawyers.

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Naming a Placement

Where a young person authorises his/her parents to act on his/her behalf, the Local Authority must deal with the parents although they are still required to take the young person’s own views into account. For young people who lack mental capacity, unless the Local Authority acts as corporate parent, the decision about where the young person will attend will be down to the parents.

The Local Authority must name the school or college requested unless:

      • It’s unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or Special Educational Needs (SEN) of the child or young person concerned or
      • The attendance of the child or young person at the requested school or other institution would be incompatible with the provision of efficient education for others, or the efficient use of resources.

These are the only reasons why a place can be refused. It’s for the Local Authority to prove one of these exceptions apply, rather than the parents having to prove the opposite. There is no provision in law for an institution to turn down a young person on the grounds that it’s full unless the Local Authority can also demonstrate that admitting additional children or young people would prevent the efficient education of others.

Appeals

Should the Local Authority not name the school that the young person’s parents want, then they will have a right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal. An appeal must be made within two months of the date of the decision letter that accompanies the final EHC plan or within 30 days of a mediation certificate, whichever is later. For more information, see How to Appeal an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan.

Transport

There is no statutory entitlement to transport for those aged 16-19 in the same way there is for eligible children of compulsory school age, although a Local Authority has the discretion to provide transport.

The Local Authority must have a Transport Policy Statement which specifies the transport arrangements it considers necessary to facilitate the access of young people to post-16 education. However, there’s likely to be a charge for any transport.

The law is different for those who are 19 and older, ‘adult learners’, with the Local Authority having to make the arrangements for these learners it considers necessary to allow them to attend a maintained institution or institution assisted by the Local Authority and providing further education or within the further education sector.

These arrangements must be provided free of charge. If there are circumstances in which young people aged 16-19 are refused transport, families should seek legal advice as the area of law is complex and advice on individual cases is important.

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