What We Learned: School Placements

Finding the Right Special School or Provision

Parent Carers have told us how hard it is to find the information they need to find the right special school or provision for their child. In section I of an Education Health Care Plan a school or instituion should be named (or a type if none has been identified) Parents or young people have a legal right to request that a particular school or college is named if it is a mainstream provision or to express a preference for an independent school, college or other institution.

Searching can be complex but here a few ways you can get the information you need.

This is the list of all local mainstream schools that have a provision and what special educational need or disability they support https://kr.afcinfo.org.uk/pages/local-offer/information-and-advice/education/information-on-kingston-schools/schools-in-kingston-with-specialist-sen-provisions

Here is a list of out of borough children where five or more children already attend https://kr.afcinfo.org.uk/pages/local-offer/information-and-advice/education/out-of-borough-education-institutions/out-of-borough-education-institutions-kingston-children-and-young-people Children also attend other schools than this short list but there would be less than five and potentially identfiable if this information was shared.

It is likely if you are asked to name a preference of a school you will be sent to the government website – if you want to consider the Independent Special School sector there are a few places to go. First is the section 41 list are schools that have been inspected. Our understanding is that the parent carer or young person has a right to name of these schools as a preference. There is also the wider Independent school list. Warning though, both of these are unwieldy excel spreadsheets.

You can also search on the government register of schools by area, which will at least enable you to look at schools at a certain distance, though you would need to select special school then click through to each individual website to establish whether it is a suitable provision. For a more detailed list that you can search by general area (ie Greater London/ South East) there is also Special Needs.co.uk who have a helpful Find a School https://www.specialneedsuk.org/findaschool.asp

Ipsea has a useful guide to explain your rights around choosing a school in the EHC Plan in much more detail. Ultimately you will be asked to name a preference and if you are able to have a wider range of schools to consider hopefully you will find the suitable provision https://www.ipsea.org.uk/choosing-a-schoolcollege-with-an-ehc-plan

We are hoping that a more local and comprehensive resource will be available in the future, however if the meantime it is a good idea to call SENDIASS to talk through your child of young person’s needs. The advisors have invaluable local knowledge and may be able to point you towards provisions you have not considered.

We acknowledge of course that a wider issue is the number of children needing special school placements and who are currently out of school – this is a national issue. Feel free to come to the forum if you are struggling with the issue of finding the right school for your child or young person. We are developing work with the SEN team at  Achieving for Children and would hope to be able to feedback concerns raised at a local level directly with the team and at the strategic level at our partnership board.