Why the Phase Transfer Deadline is So Important
It’s important as the Local Authority have a legal duty for Phase Transfer to issue the Final (Educational, Health and Care Plan) EHCP by 15 February (except for Post-16). By sticking to this deadline it means that if you’re not happy with your child’s EHCP:
- You’ll have enough time to make an appeal to the SEND Tribunal before your child starts the next phase of their education
- The Local Authority will have enough time to change the plan after the Tribunal Hearing, and put the right provision in place before your child starts the new school year
Sticking to the Phase Transfer deadline means your child will go to their primary or secondary school with the right EHCP in place, knowing they will get the support they need. By reducing delays to your child’s start date, it means they can get right back into their education and day-to-day routine.
If your child doesn’t have an amended EHCP for phase transfer by 15 February, or you don’t think the EHCP is right for your child, you should get expert legal advice from one of our Education Lawyers.
Some Local Authorities are quicker than others, but the deadline is the same for all.
The two most common issues we see off the back of the Phase Transfer deadline are that:
- The Local Authority haven’t updated your child’s EHCP in time
- Your child’s EHCP isn’t right, e.g. the school named is incorrect or you don’t think your child is getting the right provision from it
Here’s what you can do if this has happened to your child if:
The Local Authority Haven’t Updated the EHCP in Time
You should speak to an Education Lawyer because you might be able to challenge the Local Authority through a Judicial Review.
Judicial Reviews can be complicated, but our Judicial Review Lawyers are specialists and have helped many people where the Local Authority have failed to meet deadlines. We can offer you expert legal advice tailored to your child’s situation and we can represent you during the Judicial Review too.
We can also talk to you about you what funding is available to you.
The Local Authority also has a complaints process, but this is a much longer process and won’t deliver your child’s EHCP as quickly as a Judicial Review could. So where possible Judicial Review is often the best way to resolve this issue.
In our experience these cases don’t need to go all the way to Court, as we can usually get the Local Authority to issue the Final EHCP once we send them a detailed legal letter called a Letter Before Claim.
The School Named in the EHCP isn’t Suitable for My Child
If you want the school named in Section I of the EHCP to be changed, you need to lodge an appeal with the SEND Tribunal. You can do this on your own or with the help of an Education Lawyer, but there are benefits of having a legal expert advise you along the way.
We often find that the written evidence submitted to the Tribunal isn’t detailed enough, so we can advise you on this as we know exactly what to look out for when appealing an EHCP.
You should have a school in mind that you’d like your child to go to, and if possible you should visit the school to make sure that it’s the right fit for your child. If your child likes the school, this could help your oral evidence at the Tribunal Hearing.
If you would like your child to go to an independent school, you will need an offer of a place from the school for the Tribunal to consider naming the school.
The Provision in My Child’s EHCP isn’t Detailed Enough
You can appeal the provision described in your child’s EHCP to the SEND Tribunal if you don’t think it will meet their needs.
Sadly, EHCPs can often be vague, which leaves the requirements on the Local Authority open to interpretation. The Local Authority should be specific and tailor the provision to your child’s needs as opposed to the general needs of a child with similar Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
If you’re not happy with any part of the EHCP you receive at the Phase Transfer deadline, you should first check to see if you can appeal it – we explain every section of an EHCP and whether it can be appealed or not here.
If the section is appealable, you can start the appeal process.
We know how stressful it can be when you child isn’t getting the support they need in school or your having to tirelessly wait on the Local Authority. If you need any legal advice about your child’s EHCP, get in touch with our Education Solicitors today and we can help you.
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Billingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Catterick, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.