How does a child or young person with SEND change schools

Whether you are changing school because you're moving house, or because the new school will be able to better support your SEND child or young person needs, we will need to organise what support is required before they move school.

Most children or young people change schools at some point but when a child or young person has SEND there are additional things to consider.

You will need to ensure that the new school is aware of your child or young person's additional needs. This is so that as soon as they start a plan is in place. 

If they already have an EHCP, or Statement of Special Educational Needs, it will need to be updated before your child or young person moves school, or moves within their existing school (this is also known as phase transfer), so that we can plan the right amount of support before they start. You should initially speak to our SEN team. We will work with you to plan how your child or young person's needs can be met in the new school.

Any changes to an EHCP must be made by 15 February the year they transfer.

Main transfer stages for children

Nursery to school

  • Infant school to junior school
  • First school to middle school
  • Primary school to secondary school
  • Middle school to upper school

Hints for you to help your child/ young person settle into their new school

It is completely normal to feel anxious for your child/ young person moving school. You may want to speak to other parents who have a child or young person with SEND. Talk  about how you are feeling and ask for their advice.

It maybe that your child or young person to is a little worried, or excited, by the prospect of a move to a new school. They can see how other children or young people of a similar age feel. Ask questions on 'Ask Sam', the advise page for Childline.

You can help them too by:

  • Visiting the new school, if they're a little shy, even driving past it of an evening or weekend may help
  • Encouraging them to keep in touch with their friends at their current school
  • Look at the new school's website with them. See whether there is a map to help them work out how to find their way about. There may also be information about clubs and activities that they might like to join.
  • Make them aware of changes. Such as uniform (or indeed maybe no uniform), whether they may now have a locker, whether they will now catch a dedicated school bus.  

Placements for young people aged 16 and over

The EHCP must be updated for young people who are moving from school to college or an apprenticeship by 31 March the year they transfer. Talk to our SEN team who will work with you to plan how your young person's needs can be met.

  • If you're moving between colleges or training placements. We need to do your review by 31 March if you’re going to move places the same academic year.
  • If you’re going to move outside of the academic year. We need to have any changes to their EHCP in place before they transfer.
  • If your plans for taking up a college place or apprenticeship change after 31 March. Let us know as soon as possible so that we can make new arrangements.
  • If you’re moving from secondary school to a college or apprenticeship in September 2018. All changes to your plan have to be done by 31 March 2018.
  • If you’re not moving until March 2019 we need to make changes three months beforehand.