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EHCP: Phase Transfer

Three children and an adult sat on the floor meditating.

Phase Transfer Process

Local Authorities have a responsibility to plan ahead for children and young people with Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans who are due to transfer to the next phase of their education. This includes children and young people moving from:

These changes or transitions are called phase transfers when a child has an EHC plan.

This Phase Transfer process allows the Local Authority to review and update your child’s EHC plan, as well as identify the most appropriate school or college for them to move to.

We recognise that transfer to a new school or college is an important stage in your child’s education, and that you will want to consider your school or college preferences very carefully.

For more information on finding a school or college for a child or young person with an EHCP, visit our page EHCP: Finding a School.

Mainstream and special schools hold open days or evenings every September. Families can also contact the schools to arrange separate visits or to meet the SENCO/Headteacher.

For those who feel that a special school, or specialist provision, might be the right choice for their child, additional information is available on our Special Schools page.

You can also find out more information about local colleges on our page, College and Adult Life (16+).

Timeline for transfer to Reception, Year 3, and Year 7

When your child is in Nursery 1, Year 1, Year 5

The phase transfer process will begin the year before your child’s final year at their current educational setting. For example, for children moving to Year 7, the process begins when they are in Year 5.

In March of that year, we will write to you to notify you that the Phase Transfer process is starting.

We will ask schools to hold Phase Transfer reviews in June or July of that year. This is similar to a standard annual review but also has a focus on transition.

Schools will send the review paperwork to us before the end of the academic year.

If your child is receiving education at home, the meeting can be held in the home or at an alternative venue. Your Assessment and Planning Officer (APO) will coordinate and conduct the review.

When your child is in Nursery 2, Year 2, Year 6

During the Autumn term of your child’s final year, we will send out a Proposed Amended EHC plan and school preference form. You should use this preference form rather than applying for school places online. In most cases, parents and carers expect their child to attend their local mainstream school where their child’s needs can be met with some extra support in accordance with their EHC plan.

You will still need to express a school preference even if your child is attending an all-through school and your preference is for them to remain there for the next phase of their education, or if you wish for your child to continue to be educated at home.

During the Autumn term, we will consult with your preferred schools and with any other schools that we consider appropriate.

Following the consultation responses, the Local Authority will decide which school to name. This is based on its suitability, compatibility with the efficient education of others, and the efficient use of resources. 

We will finalise all phase transfer EHC plans, including naming a placement, by 15 February. If an application for statutory assessment is made late in the year, this deadline does not apply.

Timeline for Transfer to Post-16 and Post-19 Education

When the young person is in Year 10 or Year 13

The process will begin the year before your child's final year at their current school/college. For example, for young people moving to Year 12, the process begins when they are in Year 10.

In May of that year, we will write to you, or directly to your child if they are over 16, to notify you that the Phase Transfer process is starting.

When the young person is in Year 11 or Year 14

We will ask schools and colleges to hold Phase Transfer reviews before the October half-term of your child's final year. This is similar to a standard annual review but it has a specific focus on transition and preparation for adulthood.

Schools and colleges will send the review paperwork to us in November.

If your child is receiving education at home, the meeting can be held in the home or at an alternative venue. Your APO will coordinate and conduct the review.

We will use the review to decide whether the EHC plan needs to be maintained. Some young people can continue in their education without the need for an EHC plan. Where an EHC plan is no longer required, we will propose to cease the plan from the end of the academic year.   

The young person and their family can disagree with this decision and any responses are considered fully.

If the EHC plan is maintained, we will send out a Proposed Amended EHC plan and college preference form by Christmas. You and your child should use this preference form rather than applying for college places directly. In most cases, young people will attend their local mainstream education, training or apprenticeship provider where their needs can be met in accordance with their EHC plan.

Once the placement has been named, the college or further education provider may require an application form for the specific course.

You will still need to express a school/college preference even if your child is attending a school with post-16 provision and your preference is for them to remain there for the next phase of their education, or if you wish for them to continue to be educated at home.

During the Spring term, we will consult with your preferred education, training or apprenticeship providers and with any other providers that we consider appropriate.

Following the consultation responses, we will decide which provider to name. This is based on its suitability, compatibility with the efficient education of others, and the efficient use of resources.

We will finalise all phase transfer EHC plans, including naming a placement, by 31 March.

Travel Assistance

If parents or the young person would like to be considered for travel assistance, they need to apply on the East Sussex County Council website:

Post-16 travel assistance is discretionary, and the Council will consider each application in line with the ‘16 to 19 SEND Travel Assistance Policy’:

Applications should not be made until a placement has been named in the EHCP.

Parents or the young person must apply for travel assistance by 30 April as the local authority cannot guarantee that arrangements will be in place from the start of September for applications received after this date.

Additional Help and Support

Assessment & Planning

Assessment & Planning administrative staff will be happy to answer any questions you have about the Phase Transfer process. After your child moves to a new setting, your allocated APO will be able to answer any questions you have. You will find their direct telephone number on any of the letters you will have been sent.

Some of our APOs work part-time and may not be available immediately if you telephone or e-mail them. However, if you leave a message, they will always respond to your contact as soon as they are able. You will find their direct telephone number on any of the letters you will have been sent. 

You can also contact the Assessment & Planning office:

Amaze SENDIASS

Amaze SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service) are a local charity who offer free, independent, and impartial advice for all matters relating to SEND. You can get their support throughout this process but we recommend you access their advice or support from the very start of the process. Contact Amaze SENDIASS:

Amaze have also created an ‘EHC Plans Fact Sheet’:

Preparing for Adulthood

The Preparing for Adulthood (PfA) programme provides expertise and support to local authorities and their partners to embed preparing for adulthood from the earliest years. PfA ensures that young people with SEND achieve paid employment, independent living and housing options, good health, friendships, relationships and community inclusion as they move into adulthood:

East Sussex Local Offer directory of services

You can visit our SEND-specific online directory, hosted on East Sussex 1Space, that lists many different services both throughout the county and online. Services include advice, guidance and support groups, activities and events and mental health and wellbeing support among many other topics:

NHS - Health A to Z

While the East Sussex Local Offer aims to provide as much information as possible, there may be some conditions that aren't covered in thorough detail. The NHS website has pages that list all conditions, with information and advice on how to get extra support:

Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms

Some of the terms used on this website are explained on our page, Glossary of East Sussex SEND Terms.


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