How do I move my daughter from a special school to a mainstream school?
I have SEN Child. She is studying in special school. We want to move her from special school to mainstream school. Can I do that? If I can, what I have to do?
You have not told us if your daughter has an EHC Plan or a statement. We are assuming she has an EHC plan. If this is not the case you will need to contact IPSEA again as the advice will be slightly different.
Assuming then that your daughter has an EHC Plan which names a particular school in Section I and you want to change this, you will firstly need to get the Local Authority to change the EHC Plan. Annual review is often a good time to seek changes to a statement or EHC Plan and we have some information about this on our website here:
If an annual review isn’t imminent, it is open to you to ask for an early annual review to be held and we have a model letter of request which you can adapt for this purpose: https://www.ipsea.org.uk/what-you-need-to-know/model-letters/model-letter-5
Alternatively, if your daughter’s SEN have changed considerably and it’s been more than 6 months since the last EHC needs assessment, then you might want to ask for a re-assessment of her education, health and care needs. Again, we have a model letter for this purpose:
If the Local Authority refuses to change an EHC Plan following a review, or refuses to carry out a re-assessment, then this will trigger a right of appeal. You would be able to seek further advice about how to exercise this right of appeal (including how best to secure a change of school / college via an appeal) from our Tribunal Help Line. You can book a call-back with one of our THL volunteers here:
If the Local Authority agrees to change the EHC Plan following a review or a re-assessment, then you will have the opportunity to request that a particular school is named in the Plan.
According to section 33(2) of the Children & Families Act 2014, the LA must secure that a plan provides for the child or young person to be educated in a maintained nursery school, mainstream school or mainstream post-16 institution, unless that is incompatible with—
(a) the wishes of the child’s parent or the young person, or
(b) the provision of efficient education for others.
Section 33(4) confirms that this second exception can only be relied upon by the LA if it can show that no reasonable steps can be taken by the school or college to remove that incompatibility. The burden of proof will be on the LA to establish that one of these conditions applies. The SEND Code 2015 contains a discussion of what may constitute “reasonable steps” in paragraph 9.91. There are also detailed examples in paragraph 9.92 of the SEND Code 2015 for three different types of situation:
- inclusion of a child with challenging behaviour in a mainstream primary setting;
- inclusion of a child with autistic spectrum disorder in a mainstream secondary school;
- inclusion of a young person with a learning disability who does not use verbal communication in a mainstream course at a further education college.
These are just examples and the list is by no means exhaustive but it gives a flavour of the type of steps which can be taken to ensure inclusion in a way which would not be incompatible with the efficient education of others. Paragraph 9.93 of the SEND Code 2015 suggests the threshold when determining it is not possible to remedy the incompatibility by taking reasonable steps is a high one. The example given by the SEND Code 2015 is that the child or young person’s behaviour systematically, persistently or significantly threatens the safety and/or impedes the learning of others.
You can find the SEN and Disability Code of Practice 0-25 here:
As you can see, the LA cannot deny a child or young person mainstream education on the grounds that it is not suitable for them or that it is too expensive for them to attend a mainstream school/institution.
You would probably find it helpful to speak to one of our trained advisers to discuss this in more detail. Follow this link to find out how to do this: https://www.ipsea.org.uk/contact/advice-and-support/advice-line