Last updated: 24 May 2024

Next review: 24 May 2025

The Code of Practice states that a secondary school/academy should be named on the pupil’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan) by 15 February in the year of transfer.

In Section I of the EHC Plan, the current primary school/academy should be named and also the secondary school/academy the pupil will be transferring to, with the date that the new placement is operative e.g. September

This is to allow parents/carers enough time to appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDist) and receive a decision before September in the year of transfer.

How to choose a school - doing the research

  • Visit the school website
  • Read the OFSTED report
  • Look at the school finder web site for nearest schools:
  • Find and compare schools in England - GOV.UK
  • Talk to other parents who have children already attending the school - particularly those who have a child with an EHCP or additional need and how the school are meeting their needs
  • Contact the SENCOs of the schools on your shortlist and arrange a visit or see a virtual tour

You and your child may be considering moving from Mainstream to Special School. When thinking about this big change you might want to consider:

•What are your child’s aspirations? Balance academic and independence skills

•Does your child’s school meet their learning needs?

•Does the school environment support their well being and independence?

•Do they have a social group  and friendships?

When visiting schools you might want to consider asking the school SENCO:

  • What training do your staff have?
  • How do you support children in the classroom?
  • How would your school carry out therapy programmes? Who provides the therapy assessments and advice?
  • My child uses specialist equipment  - do you have any experience of this? are your toilets accessible? Do you have a lift?
  • How do you talk to children about disabilities and special needs in your school?
  • What support is offered to parents and children with SEND?
  • How do you communicate with parents of children with SEND on a weekly basis

Before the transition your child's EHC will be reviewed at an Annual Review with amendments to EHC Plans concluded by 31st August before the transfer year at the latest.

To consult schools, the SEN department will send out SEN Secondary Transfer Preference Forms in July to all parents/carers of Year 6 pupils with EHC Plans for you to state two secondary school/academy preferences.

The preference forms must be returned to the SEND Team by 1 October.

On 8 November the SEND Service will send out the consultation letters, amended Draft EHC plan and paperwork to the secondary schools/academies that you have stated as preferences.

If parents/carers have only chosen two out borough schools/academies the SEND Service may also consult with a corresponding Waltham Forest school/academy


The Code of Practice states that the LA must agree to a parental preference for a maintained school/academy unless the following applies:

1.the school /academy is unsuitable for the pupil’s age, ability, aptitude or to his/her special educational needs;

2.the attendance of the pupil at the school/academy would be incompatible with the provision of efficient education for the pupils with whom he/she would be educated ;

3.the placement is an inefficient use of the LA resources and there are no reasonable steps that the L.A or the school/academy could take to prevent the incompatibility.

In the last week of term in November, an SEND Phase Transfer Panel will meet to consider all secondary transfer placements.

Parents/carers and head teachers of the current primary school/academy and named secondary school/academy will be informed of the decision of the SEND Phase Transfer Panel in January and the Final EHC Plan will be issued by 15 February.

If you need help and advice with making your choices please contact your SEND Officer on If you would like to speak to an independent advisor you can also contact the SENDIASS service

To find out more you can read the presentation about secondary transfer

To find out more about health services in secondary schools you can download the presentation health services on transition to secondary school