We have been asked... Can a Local Authority name a school on an EHCP without the agreement of the child’s parents, and ignore the parent’s ...

We have been asked... Can a Local Authority name a school on an EHCP without the agreement of the child’s parents, and ignore the parent’s requested school completely? The LA is claiming the family will have to go to appeal to secure their preferred school.

To provide some additional context, the parent has provided the LA with a list of schools they wish for the LA to consult with. It is not clear what type/s of school the parent has listed.

The LA have responded to say they will be listing their own schools for consultation. It is not clear if this is in addition to or instead of the schools the parent listed. The LA re relying on paragraph 9.84 of the SEND COP, which concerns non-maintained / independent education providers.

The parent has been told by the LA:
1. You have the right to list the schools that you want for the consultation process
2. During this consultation process of 15 days, we are going to consult our schools in the borough which are not the ones you have listed because of paragraph 9.84
3. If our schools say yes to accepting your child or there are no spaces, we can go over the limit from 15 to 17, or even if it’s not the best school for your child as long as the setting can meet your child’s needs we will consult them, your permission is not required at this stage
4. We will take this to panel and present our schools, you can appeal after we have listed a school for your child

Is the LA correct? Can you explain the law around the right to name a parental preference and the consultation process, as found in sections 33 and 39 CFA 2014, and from section 9.78 – 9.84 SEND COP?


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23 Feb 2023

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A: SenseCheck

  • 0 Yes
  • 1 No
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  • 24 Feb 2023
  • No


    The core of this question relates to the right to request a school, and the consultation process conducted by the Local Authority. The naming of a school in section I of an EHC plan is covered more generally in Section 9 (placement) of the No-nonsense Noddy Guide.   

    You may find the following answers in the guide of especial use: 09.12 Can parent’s/young person request a particular placement? This question covers the right to express a parental preference and the requirement under s.39(2) CFA 2014 that the LA consult with this placement.  

    You may also find this answer helpful: 
    09.32 Is there a particular order to consider a parental/young person request for a particular mainstream maintained/section 38(2) school? This outlines the ordering of the LA’s considerations when a parent expresses a preference for a school covered by s.38(2) CFA 2014.   

    Noddy 'no-nonsense' Guide

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