What happens where at ‘secondary transfer’ to a child at an ‘all through’ (eg 5-19) academy or free school?

The short answer is that parents have a right to request a change of placement at secondary transfer age (and to appeal against refusal) even for an ‘all through’ academy

Problems have arisen where a child with a statement of SEN which specifies an ‘all through’ (i.e. 5-16 or 5-19 age) school is coming up to secondary transfer age and their parents want them to change schools at that point.

The problem is not particular to academies and free schools and applies to maintained schools as well.

The issue is that local authorities have sometime tried to argue that, because the statement just names the school (which carries through) there is no need for them to change the name at secondary transfer, and so none of the obligations to consult/amend by February in the previous year apply.

If right, that would make it much harder for parents to secure a change of school if that was their wish.

But that local authority argument is a bad one. The courts have made clear that statements should specify ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ (particularly where the school is an ‘all through’ school, thus necessitating an amendment at secondary transfer age and thus triggering the consultation obligations and the appeal right.

For information on SENDIST and academies see here and for information on appealing to the SENDIST see here.

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