2017 Phase Transfer Deadline For Young People With SEN
The Law Of… knowing the 2017 phase transfer deadline
Friday 31st March 2017 is an important date for young people with Education, Health Care Plans (EHCPs).
This is because it is the date by which local authorities (LAs) are legally obliged to inform them about their placement from September 2017 if they are transferring from secondary school to a post-16 institution
Thomas Mitchell, Solicitor in Education Law and Community Care, explains what you can do if you're unhappy with the placement or your local authority misses the deadline.
What Should My Local Authority Be Doing?
By 31st March 2017, LAs must issue an EHCP (if it is the first EHCP) or an amended EHCP naming the post-16 or other institution that the young person should attend from September 2017.
Why Is There A Deadline?
There are 2 reasons why a deadline has been put in place:
- It provides certainty for a young person and gives them time for transition planning between their old and new placement. This is particularly important for young people with SEN as moving placements can be stressful.
- If you disagree with the placement your local authority has named, it gives you time to challenge this and hopefully resolve the issue before the end of the academic year. If the EHCP is not completed in time, young people who wish to challenge the placement are at risk of the matter not being resolved before taster days/ inductions begin and even the start of the new academic year. This could also put their chances of getting a place on their chosen course at risk.
What Should I Do If My Local Authority Has Missed The Deadline?
If your LA has missed the deadline you can contact them to find out why this has happened and when a decision will be made. If you are unhappy with their response or you do not hear back from them, speak to one of our Education Law solicitors as soon as possible.
We can contact them on your behalf, and in our experience sending a letter to a local authority that points our their legal obligations generally resolves the situation. If this does not have the results you were expecting, then we can take stronger legal action such as a judicial review.
What Can I Do If I Disagree With The Placement Named?
If you disagree with the placement named, you can enter into mediation with the local authority. Details about mediation and the right to appeal must be included in the LA's letter with their decision.
Alternatively, our specialist solicitors can help you make an appeal to the SEND Tribunal. Acting quickly in these circumstances is important as an appeal must be made within 2 months of the LA's letter with their decision or within 1 month of the mediation certificate – whichever is later.
Although it can take around 3 months for a hearing and decision to be made, we are experienced in the appeals process and will be there to support you throughout.
How Can Simpson Millar Help Me?
If you or your child have not received a decision by 31st March 2017 or if you disagree with the placement named, contact our expert Education Law team to discuss your options. Whether you need some legal advice or representation at a SEND tribunal, we will fight for the best outcome for your future.