Moving from a statement to an EHC plan (transfer reviews)

Information for families in England

On 1 September 2014 a new law called The Children and Families Act was introduced. This changed the way that children and young people with special educational needs are supported at school and in further education. These changes are sometimes referred to as the SEN reforms.

One of the key changes was the introduction of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans, which have replaced statements of special educational needs.

Local authorities have been transferring children who have existing statements to EHC plans. This process is called the transfer review. The deadline in law for all statements to be transferred is 1 April 2018. However some local authorities may not be able to meet this deadline.

It is important to be aware that your child will not suddenly lose support on this date if they don't yet have an EHC plan - read more.

What happens during a transfer review?

There are things that your local authority must do and deadlines that they must meet when carrying out transfer reviews.

  • To transfer a young person from a statement to an EHC plan, the local authority must undertake a formal transfer review. 
  • Your local authority must write to you at least two weeks before the transfer review begins to let you know that it is going to happen. 
  • The local authority must carry out a full EHC needs assessment as part of the transfer review process. The local authority must collect new information about your child from professionals. An existing professional report must be used only if you, the person who wrote it and the local authority all agree that the information in it is accurate, up to date and meets the EHC plan requirements.
  • The local authority must make sure that parents (and young people) are invited to a meeting to contribute to the transfer review. This must take place at some point during the assessment process. 
  • The local authority must issue a final EHC plan within 20 weeks of the date on the letter that informed parents about the start of the transfer review process.

My child is at college; will they be transferred to an EHC plan? 

Your child will not automatically transfer to the new system. If your child needs or is likely to need an EHC plan, you or the college must make a formal request for an EHC needs assessment. Your child also has the right to make their own request if they want to. 

Will my child get the same support as they did in their statement?

If your child's needs have not changed, they should continue to receive the same educational help that was written in their statement. If new needs were identified during the EHC needs assessment, these will be reflected in the EHC plan.

Does the local authority have to issue an EHC plan? What happens at the end of this process?

At the end of the EHC needs assessment, the local authority will decide if they are going to issue an EHC plan for your child.

An EHC needs assessment does not always leads to an EHC plan. The local authority can refuse to issue an EHC plan if they think that your child's difficulties are no longer severe enough or if they think that their school or college can meet their needs without additional funding.

If your local authority decides not to issue an EHC plan for your child, they must write to you to let you know and give you the reasons for their decision.

If your child has been refused an EHC plan, you can appeal this decision to an independent tribunal. 

My child has not been moved onto an EHC plan before the 1 April 2018 deadline

The Department for Education has issued an assurance that provision in statements will continue to be made after 1 April and that local authorities remain responsible for arranging the provision. There is more detailed information in the regulations.

If your child still has a statement on 1 April, then the statement will be treated as if it were an EHCP and will be enforceable under the Children and Families Act 2014.

The local authority must do the EHC transfer by carrying out and concluding an EHC needs assessment as soon as reasonably practicable. We suggest that you ask in writing when this will happen and if the delay is unreasonable make a formal complaint.

If you have a young person about to leave school for college it is essential that the EHC plan is finalised well before the end of the school year.

Even if your local authority is behind target and under pressure to transfer a large number of statements in a short time, they must not shortcut the legal requirements.  An EHC plan should never just be a rebadged statement.  

Information for families in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales

If you live in Wales, read our information about the statementing process.

We also support Northern Ireland and Scotland. Give our helpline a call on 0808 808 3555 and we can provide information or signpost you to alternative sources of advice in those nations where appropriate. Find out our local office details in the In your area section.

Call our helpline

Questions about transfer reviews or EHC plans?  Queries about SEN support at school? Call our freephone helpline and talk to one of our education advisers. 

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