Choosing a school place for a child with an EHCP

Please note: If your child does not have an education health and care plan (EHCP), even if they are being assessed for special educational needs or an EHCP, you should submit a preference for a school place via our mainstream admissions page.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) School Application process

Most children with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), can be appropriately supported in mainstream schools. However, if your child has more complex needs it may have been agreed that they require a place at a special school or a mainstream school with a specialist centre

The SEND Admissions arrangements for children and young people with an EHCP have been revised. These changes will apply to those children and young people who will transfer to Reception, Year 3, Year 7 and Year 12 in September 2021. The arrangements have been updated in response to feedback from families, schools and other key stakeholders who asked for the process to be simplified.

Key deadlines for confirmation of placement

Transition GroupDeadline
Years -1 to 0 (Reception), Year 2 to Year 3, Year 6 to Year 7 15 February 2021
Year 11 to Year 12 31 March 2021

Overview of SEND School Age Admissions Process

Date Description of activity
By end of summer term (year preceding transfer)

Transition reviews will be held by the current setting and next placement type will be discussed with children and young people and their families.

EHCP's amended following review where applicable.

By 31 October 2020

Placements for children and young people already attending all through maintained special schools, which are still deemed suitable, will have their placements confirmed for the next key stage, with the exception of Gosden House School, where we will consider the continuation along with closer to home provision for secondary transfer in November.

By 30 November 2020

School consultations undertaken for children requiring secondary mainstream provision and allocations of secondary special school places agreed. Special school places are allocated and determined in order of suitability, followed by Looked After Children and Previously Looked After Children, followed by distance. More information will be available within the guidance.

By 31 December 2020

School consultations undertaken for children going into reception and those leaving an infant school or centre resource requiring mainstream provision and allocations of special school places agreed. Special school places are allocated and determined in order of suitability, followed by Looked After Children and Previously Looked After Children, followed by distance. More information will be available within the guidance.

By 15 February 2021

Children and young people with existing EHCP's have their new placements for September confirmed in their EHCP, in line with the Code of Practice.

Children with an EHCP in an all-through school

All-through schools are those that combine at least two stages of a child's education – typically primary and secondary – in one establishment

If your child is currently in Year 2 in an all through primary mainstream or maintained special school, that this process does not apply, and your child will remain at their current school unless a change of placement has been agreed following the most recent annual review.

If your child is in Year 6 and in an all through special school, your child has the option to remain in their current school unless a change of placement is agreed at the annual review

Transition to new school placement

The new process for transitions requires you to discuss your aspirations for your child at their transition annual review and to also consider where your child's needs would be best met for the next key stage of their education.

Mainstream Provision

The majority of children with EHCPs are educated in Surrey mainstream schools. As part of this process, you should identify the two nearest schools you would want your child to attend. Surrey is committed to young people attending their local school and being part of their local community.

Specialist Provision

For some young people more specialist provision will better meet their needs and the type of specialist provision should be discussed at the annual review.

Applying for a place

During the autumn term, if your child's transition annual review has already taken place, you will be contacted by your child's case officer to discuss your aspirations for your child's next step.

Additional Information

Area offices

  • South West Area Office covers Guildford and Waverley Telephone: 01483 517890 or email: swsen@surreycc.gov.uk
  • North West Area Office covers Woking, Runnymede and Surrey Heath Telephone: 01483 518110 or email: nwsen@surreycc.gov.uk
  • South East Area Office covers Mole Valley, Tandridge, and Reigate and Banstead Telephone: 01737 737990 or email: sesen@surreycc.gov.uk
  • North East Area Office covers Spelthorne, Elmbridge, and Epsom and Ewell Telephone: 01737 737940 or email: nesen@surreycc.gov.uk

Moving into Surrey

When you move, your child's EHCP (along with all other documents relevant to your child's SEND, for example your child's individual education plan) will be transferred to us from the local education authority where you live. We then become responsible for making sure your child receives the support outlined in the EHCP. We will have six weeks to decide whether to review the EHCP and/or make any new assessment. It may be that the move means your child is now too far away from the school named in the EHCP to attend it and we will need to name a new school. In this instance, we may need your child to go to a school of our choice temporarily, to allow enough time for you to visit schools and discuss your options.

We will always consult with you over changes to your child's EHCP and you can express a preference for a school.


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