Can an alternative provision be named in an EHC Plan?
Can a child who has successfully transitioned from an alternative provision to a specialist school have the alternative provision named in section I of an EHCP?
The relationship with the specialist provision has broken down, and the parent is requesting the child attend the previous alternative provision due to the positive impact it had on her son.
Our LA says it is impossible, but I cannot find any legislation to say it is or isn't an option.
A parent has a right to request specific types of placement are named in an EHCP. These are set out in section 38(3) of the Children and Families Act 2014 (“CAFA”) as follows:
(a) a maintained school;
(b) a maintained nursery school;
(c) an Academy;
(d) an institution within the further education sector in England;
(e) a non-maintained special school;
(f) an institution approved by the Secretary of State under section 41 (independent special schools and special post-16 institutions: approval).
When a parent makes a request for one of these, then the LA can only refuse if one of specific reasons apply as set out in s39(4) CAFA as explained here. Alternative Provisions (APs) may fall into one of these categories or not. If the particular AP does not, then a parent can make representations for an independent or other type of placement to be named, and the LA must consider this, although it can refuse for any reason.
In considering the request, the LA must have regard to the wishes, feelings and views of the child and parents (s19 CAFA), as well as regard to the general principle that children be educated in accordance with their parents’ wishes “so far as that is compatible with the provision of efficient instruction and training and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure” (s9 Education Act 1996).
The specific duties of the LA will depend on the legal status of the AP and whether it is registered as a school or not. You can find more information about naming a placement here: https://www.ipsea.org.uk/choosing-a-schoolcollege-with-an-ehc-plan. The parent may also choose to arrange a call back with one of IPSEA’s helplines to discuss the specific placement: https://www.ipsea.org.uk/Pages/Category/service-overview.