What options for school settings are there?
The Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice 2015 states that a child’s parent or the young person has the right to request a particular type of school, college or other establishment to be named in the EHC plan:
- Maintained Nursery School
- Maintained School and any form of academy or free school (mainstream or special)
- Non-maintained special school
- Further education or sixth form college
- Independent school or independent specialist college (where they have been approved for this purpose by the Secretary of State and published in the Section 41 list)
Do families need to express a preference?
In the most cases, most children or young people will remain in their current provision. The issuing of an EHC plan does not mean that a child or young person’s placement will necessarily change. The EHC plan simply outlines that the provision required by the child or young person is over and above, and different to the provision that is usually available. With the additional resources that the EHC plan brings, the local authority would expect schools to meet these needs with additional support and the use of reasonable adjustments. However, if a family wishes to express a preference for alternative provision, then they can, and the local authority has a duty to consult with them.
Will parental preference for an educational setting always be named in the plan?
The local authority must comply with parental preference and name the school or college in the plan unless:
- it would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or
- the attendance of the child or young person at the setting would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources
Efficient education means providing a suitable, appropriate education for each child or young person in terms of their age, ability, aptitude, and any special educational needs they may have.
After receiving any suggestions for change on the draft plan from families, the ARO will make any necessary changes and consult with education settings before naming a setting on the EHC plan. A final version of the plan will be issued, at no more than 20 weeks after the initial request for an EHC needs assessment was received.