Getting the right education for your child is an important step in helping them to make the most of their abilities and get the most from life.
Choosing the right school may seem like a challenge at times, but making sure you know what you are looking for, and what is available, are two of the most important ways of deciding what you want for your child.
Most children with special educational needs will go to their local primary or secondary school, sometimes called a mainstream school. However, a child with a more severe learning disability may need to attend a special school for some or all of their school life. A special school is only for pupils with special educational needs, and many children going to a special school will spend some of their time at a linked mainstream school.
Every child has the right to go to a mainstream school. More children and young people with special educational needs are now being educated in mainstream schools with extra support. However, in some cases you, your child and the local authority may decide that a special school will better support your child's educational needs.
If your child does not have a statement of special educational needs, you will have to choose a mainstream school from your local area. Whether your child gets a place will depend on how many other children want to go to the school and how many places are available. A mainstream school cannot refuse your child a place just because of their special educational needs, unless their presence would have a negative effect on the other children in the class.
- The first step to finding a school for your child is to find out what is available in your local area - your local authority should be able to provide you with a list.
- You can visit the Directgov website to find a full list of local authority website addresses if you live in England.
- In Wales you can visit the Welsh Assembly government website.
If your child has a statement of special educational needs the local authority must accept the school you name in the draft statement, unless they feel that having your child at the school would make it too difficult to educate the other children that go there.
If your child is being statemented the local authority must provide you with information of all local authority funded schools (also called maintained schools) and all approved independent and special schools in England and Wales. Parents can visit any school that they are thinking of naming in the statement.