Choice of school with an Education, health & care plan (EHCP)

As for children without plans make sure you visit schools you are considering for your child, go along to open evenings and take the opportunity to ask any questions you have.  The SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) is often available.  Before you go look at the schools’ websites.

If you are undecided about the type of school you would like your child to attend, it is advisable to research local mainstream schools at the same time as exploring specialist. We understand this can feel overwhelming for parents, the more information you gather the easier it will be to make your decision. 

Read our top tips and FAQ pages for more advice. 

To search for a mainstream school near to you go to the Suffolk admissions pages. To find out about the special schools in suffolk go to the Local Offer.

You can follow the normal process for applying for a mainstream school place, which helps the local authority and school with planning. You can read about the process at The application form asks you whether your child has an EHC plan so admissions will be aware.

However, when you receive a draft EHC plan you will be asked which school you would like your child to go to...


The SEND Code of Practice says:

"The child’s parent or the young person has the right to request a particular school, college or other institution of the following type to be named in their EHC plan:

  • maintained nursery school
  • maintained school and any form of academy or free school (mainstream or special)
  • non-maintained special school
  • further education or sixth form college
  • independent school or independent specialist colleges (where they have been approved* for this purpose by the Secretary of State and published in a list available to all parents and young people)” (9.78)

The SEND Code of Practice says:   

“The local authority may only reject your request to name your chosen school where:

  • the school or other institution is unsuitable for the age, ability aptitude or special education needs of the child or young person.
  • The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the provision of efficient education for others
  • The attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the efficient use of resources” (9.79)  



The local authority (LA) will issue you a draft EHCP and ask which school you would like your child to go to. They must consult with that school, giving them 15 days in which to respond, before deciding whether to name it in the plan, provided a type of school on the approved list (see box above).

Though schools can make representations to the local authority within this 15-day period, it is the local authority that consider the above conditions and decides whether to name your chosen school.

You can 'make representations' for an Independent school to be named, though the local authority are not required to consult with the school.

Some Independent schools have opted in - view the list of approved independent schools and colleges, known as 'section 41' schools.

Where you disagree with the named school in an EHC plan, you have the right of appeal.

Read more about draft EHC plans