If we move abroad, what happens to my child’s EHC Plan?

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If we move abroad, what happens to my child’s EHC Plan?

Parent Asks:

I have been offered a job abroad. If I take this job and return to the UK after 2yrs, how will this affect my son, who has an EHCP? Would we have to start the assessment process from scratch?

IPSEA Answers:

There are specific situations in which an LA can choose to cease to maintain an EHC plan as set out in section 45 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (“CAFA”):

“A local authority may cease to maintain an EHC plan for a child or young person only if -

(a) the authority is no longer responsible for the child or young person, or

(b) the authority determines that it is no longer necessary for the plan to be maintained.”

One of the reasons that an LA may no longer be responsible is if the child or young person moves out of the LA’s area, as would be the case here. There is a process which the LA must follow when ceasing to maintain a plan as set out in Regulation 31 of the SEND Regulations 2014, and the process includes notifying and consulting with the parent or young person, as well as the head teacher or principal of the school or other placement attended. Once the LA has notified the parent of its decision to cease to maintain the plan, the plan can not just cease with immediate effect. The plan must remain in place until the parent’s right of appeal has lapsed or when a parent has chosen to appeal the decision until the appeal has concluded.

If your LA followed the correct cease-to-maintain process, then the plan would cease, and, on your return to the UK, you would need to re-apply for an EHC needs assessment.

You can find more information about cease-to-maintain decisions on the IPSEA website here: https://www.ipsea.org.uk/if-your-la-takes-away-your-ehc-plan

If you work as part of the armed forces, there is additional support available when working abroad. You can find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/defence-children-services-dcs