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How does a child or young person with an EHCP change school?

Whether your child or young person is changing school because you're moving, they're  too old for their current school or because you want the local authority to consider a special school placement, we will need to consider and organise what support is required before we agree to the change of school.

Most children or young people change schools at some point but there are additional things to consider for a child or young person with an EHCP

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

Your child or young persons EHCP will need to be updated before he or she moves school (also known as phase transfer), so that we can plan the right amount of support before they start.

You should initially speak to our SEND team. We will work with you to plan how your child or young person's needs can be met in the new school. 

SEND team contact details for Bournemouth and Christchurch families

SEND team contact details for Poole families

Any changes to an EHCP for a planned change of school as a phase transfer must be made by 15 February in the year they transfer.

Main transfer stages

  • an early years setting to infant/first school
  • infant/first school to junior/middle school
  • junior/middle school to secondary/high school

Helping your child or young person settle into a new school

It's normal to feel anxious if your child or young person is moving school. You may find it useful to speak to other parents who have a child or young person with SEND about how you're feeling. 

Your child or young person may also be worried or excited about changing school. 'Ask Sam', is a resource provided by Childline providing advice for children and young people on a range of issues.

You can help your child or young person by:

  • visiting the new school. If they're shy even driving past the school may help
  • encouraging them to keep in touch with friends at their current school
  • looking at the new school's website with them. See if there's 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 any changes, such as uniform, if they'll have a locker, if they will catch a school bus etc.

Moves for young people aged 16 plus

The EHCP must be updated for young people who are moving from school to college or an apprenticeship by 31 March in the year they transfer.

Talk to our SEND team who will work with you to plan how your young person's needs can be met. 

SEND team contact details for Bournemouth and Christchurch families

SEND team contact details for Poole families

  • if you're moving between colleges or training placements in the same academic year we need to do your review by 31 March
  • if you’re moving outside of the academic year any changes to an EHCP need to be in place before the 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, all changes to your plan have to be done by 31 March in the same year
  • if you’re not moving until March we need to make changes three months beforehand.