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Choosing a School / College with an EHC plan

An education, health, and care ("EHC") plan may include a specific school or college upon parental or student request (or to express a preference for an independent school, college or other institution).

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You can use our sample letter to ask for a certain school after receiving your draught EHC plan.

LAs frequently request that parents fill out a “general preference form” so that their preference(s) can be taken into account. However, by different legislation, these documents also apply to children and young people without EHC plans. As a result, parents of children with EHC plans are exempt from filling out general preference forms. However, there may be a danger in not going through this process; if the LA refuses to name your choice of school, they may name a school that you would be particularly unhappy with. It is illegal for LAs to enforce this requirement on these parents or young people. The LA can only refuse to name your first preference if one of the legal grounds for refusal applies, despite the fact that you may list multiple preferences.

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The local authority may only reject the proposal for the following reasons:

The environment is inappropriate given the child or young person’s age, aptitude, or special educational needs (SEN); or If the child or adolescent were present, it would be impossible to provide others with an effective education; The efficient use of resources would be impossible if a child or young person attended. Section 39(4) of the CAFA 2014 outlines this. To overturn a parent’s or child’s preference, the LA must demonstrate that at least one of these circumstances exists. Our case law section contains examples of cases where each of these requirements has been taken into account. You can use our sample letter to complain if your LA has denied your request for one of the aforementioned categories of school or college or if they have refused it for a reason other than one of those mentioned above. You may file an appeal with the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability), sometimes known as the “SEND Tribunal,” if they have already finalised your EHC plan and designated a new school.


The appropriate to a regular education

There is another section of the law on which they can rely if the parents or the young person desires to attend a mainstream school or college that is mentioned in the EHC plan. Unless it is against the wishes of the child’s parent or the young person, or unless it is incompatible with the provision of efficient education for others and the LA shows that there are no reasonable steps that it could take to prevent the incompatibility, a child or young person with an EHC plan must be educated in a mainstream setting, according to Section 33 CAFA 2014.

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