The Transfer between phases of education applies to Reception, in some cases Junior and entry from Primary to Secondary phase education. In Surrey this year, the total number of children transferring key stages was 1,411 children.
This process is set out in the SEND Code of Practice 2015, which underpins the legislation in the 2014 Children’s & Families act 2014 and states that a placement should be agreed by 15th February. The Code of Practice requires that we either name a specific school (or other institution) or type of school (or institution), although ideally we would always strive to name the school rather than type of schools wherever possible.
In Surrey, we have carried out a considerable amount of work to ensure that for every child changing key stage, there has been both informal and formal consultation with schools. This has included any school where a parental preference was expressed.
Whilst we are continuing to expand specialist school places in both special and mainstream settings, it is a reality that there are a limited number of places available and that other local authorities are seeking to place their children at the same time as us.
Despite our best efforts there are, as of today, just under 157 pupils for whom we do not have a specific school offer from an appropriate school. In these cases we are working with Surrey mainstream and special schools to create additional places for September and/or to agree additional packages of support. These discussions are progressing well.
The 15th February date is intended to ensure children and their families can be provided with a confirmed place, offering them certainty and enabling them to plan for the transition period. Importantly where families disagree with Surrey County County’s decision regarding their child’s next placement, the February deadline ensures that they have through mediation or for some, a tribunal to resolve any dispute in good time ahead of beginning their placement in September.
We are also working hard to ensure that the transfer process for those students moving into Post 16 education is as smooth as possible with the 31 March 2020 deadline ahead of us.
We are very aware how important it is that families have confirmation of their child’s placement and the reassurance this provides. Our highest priority is to ensure placements are found for pupils that remain unplaced for September. We will continue to work directly with all families who have expressed concern about their child’s placement and would urge any family that is concerned to contact their case officer.
Liz Mills Director Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture