09.12 Can parent’s/young person request a particular placement?

Noddy 'no-nonsense' Guide

Noddy 'no-nonsense' Guide
Authors: David Wolfe QC, Leon Glenister
14 Feb 2022

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  • 14 Feb 2022
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    Yes. When a draft EHCP is prepared, the child’s parents or the young person may express a preference that the LA should name a particular school or institution of the type listed: CFA2014 s38(2)(b)(ii), COP2015 #9.78. 

    Those listed are set out at CFA2014 s38(3) and are wider than simply maintained schools (under EA1996, a request could only be made for a maintained school):

    “(a) a maintained school;

    (b) a maintained nursery school;

    (c) an Academy;

    (d) an institution within the further education sector in England;

    (e) a non-maintained special school;

    (f) an institution approved by the Secretary of State under section 41 (independent special schools and special post-16 institutions: approval).”

    That extension beyond “maintained schools” has the effect of putting academies/free schools on an equal footing with maintained schools.

    The addition of section 41 schools, namely a “institution approved by …” under CFA2014 s41 allows for individual independent schools to choose to be placed on that same footing, which creates a level playing field in terms of parent’s/young person’s preference in relation to such schools and maintained schools/academies/free schools while, of course, also bringing a level playing field for the purposes of admitting children (i.e. an independent school or specialist college which opts to be within that framework is considered equally alongside maintained schools by parents and young people, but must also, if then named by the LA, admit as would a maintained school or academy). A spreadsheet list of section 41 schools can be found on the DfE website.

    MORE: Must the LA consult with a candidate placement before naming it in section I?

    When a parent or young person has requested such a placement, the LA is then required to consult the school or institution (CFA2014 section 39(2)), and must secure that the EHCP names the school or institution (CFA2014 section 39(3)) unless CFA2014 section 39(4) applies:

    “(a) the school or other institution requested is unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or special educational needs of the child or young person concerned, or

    (b) the attendance of the child or young person at the requested school or other institution would be incompatible with—

    (i) the provision of efficient education for others, or

    (ii) the efficient use of resources.”

    See also COP2015 #9.79

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    Noddy 'no-nonsense' Guide

    Noddy 'no-nonsense' Guide
    Authors: David Wolfe QC, Leon Glenister