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Most children and young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) attend a mainstream school or college. You should apply through the local authority's admission process unless your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). If parents wish to make an application for their child to be educated outside the normal cohort, information and guidance can be found on the Derbyshire education outside the normal age group page.

If your child has an EHC plan

Children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) attend mainstream schools and colleges, resourced provision (specialist units in mainstream schools), or special schools. You can apply for a special school or resourced provision place if your child has an EHCP.

Your child's school place will be arranged by the local authority's SEND Assessment Service (SENDAS), not through the general admission process.

SENDAS will contact you when it is time to apply, to discuss your preferred education setting. They will do this when your child is due to move from nursery to primary; primary to junior; junior to secondary; and secondary to Post 16.

If you would like your child to move to a different school mid-year or outside the normal admission times, you should ask for an emergency review of their EHCP. You can ask your child's current school or SENDAS for this.

Naming a school place

You have a legal right to request that a particular school or college (mainstream, special or resourced provision) is named in your child's EHCP. When the local authority first issue an EHCP, and also when your child is due to move to a new setting (e.g. from primary to secondary school), the local authority will ask which school you would prefer your child to attend. You can give more than one preference. To identify schools in Derbyshire, view Derbyshire School Names and Addresses.

Once you have expressed a preference, the local authority must consult with the school or college and must name it in the EHCP, unless:

  • it is unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or
  • the attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources. (The "efficient education of others" exception cannot be used in relation to mainstream schools or colleges if there are reasonable steps they could take to ensure inclusion).

Once a school or college is named in the child or young person's EHCP, that school or college must admit them. Exceptions apply for independent schools.


If your child is due to start school or move schools, the local authority will ask you to complete a preference form well before the general admissions deadline, as the local authority needs time to consult with schools. They must then issue a final EHCP naming the school or college that your child will transfer to by the following national deadlines:

  • 15th February for children transitioning from nursery to primary school, infant to junior school (Y2 to Y3 with a physical site move) or primary to secondary school (Y6 to Y7).
  • 31 March for young people transitioning from secondary school to post-16 education (Y11 to Y12 or college) and for Y14 placements.

How to appeal

If you disagree with the choice of school or college named in your child's EHCP (or other aspects of the plan), you can appeal to the SEN and Disability Tribunal. It is also advisable to contact SENDAS to see if the disagreement can be resolved without having to go to tribunal.