What are the things you think about when choosing a school for your child?

In November we asked the SEND Parent Parliament:

What are the things you think about when choosing a school for your child? 

The results have been collated below.

Parent Parliament members reported that when choosing a school, it was essential to consider numerous factors to ensure that each child/young person would receive the best possible support in the most appropriate environment for their development.

Distance
  • Location and area the school is in.
  • Children should not be restricted to a borough, parents should have the choice to choose from any special needs school across London without council restriction.
Views from the SEND community
  • Has the school had a positive or negative impact on other SEND children in the community?
  • If they are local government run or academy / trust.
  • Are the school willing to facilitate an in-person tour of the school?
  • How they answer tough questions regarding their provision.
  • Is the school SEND aware and SEND friendly?
  • Does the school have a calm, safe and welcoming environment?
The school's approach to involving parents in the education and decision-making processes for children with SEND
  • Does the school have an effective communication channel?
  • How well does the school collaborate with parents, caregivers, and external professionals involved in a child’s care.
  • Does the school facilitate regular SEND support groups for parents/carers?
  • How will the school involve and include SEND parents and carers in the policies and procedures?
  • The school's policies and procedures regarding SEND, including how they manage assessments, and any potential disputes or concerns.
Can the school meet the needs of the child?
  • How well the school tailor an individual plan to a child's specific needs.
  • Are the school able to view the child as an individual and respond to their SEND needs as an individual?
  • If their SEND provision is large enough to cater for the growing number of students attending.
  • Are the school willing and able to fully implement all the recommendations in Section F of the plan?
  • Do they have a sensory room, adequate outdoor space, chill out space? if so, what can they offer if another student is using this space?
  • Can the school offer access to occupational therapy, speech and language and educational psychology to keep reports up to date and therefore recommendations up to date?
  • Do they regularly evaluate what is working and what needs improving?
  • How many support staff and SEND staff do they employ?
  • The suitability of staff in terms of being qualified and experienced (SEND teachers, speech therapist, and other professionals who will be able to provide necessary support).
  • Level of support available within the regular classroom setting, such as the availability of learning assistants, small class sizes, and adaptive teaching methods.
  • If it is an inclusive environment, does the school actively promote inclusivity and diversity which creates environment where all students can feel accepted and integrated.
  • If the school had a therapeutic provision onsite or access to outside provision.
  • The behavioural support systems in place to address and support behavioural issues, with strategies tailored to each individual child’s need.
The curriculum
  • Does the school have opportunities for vocational qualifications and a varied curriculum?
  • Ways in which the school offers specialised programs, resources, and services designed to meet the needs of children with of disabilities.
  • Specialist programs and support services to encourage the happiness/motivation of the students.
  • Promotion of transition plans for when children move from grades and levels within the school as smooth transitions are crucial for children with SEN.
  • Support path regarding the transition to further education.
  • The school’s approach to opportunities for positive social integrated interactions with peers, as socialisation is a vital aspect of a child's development.

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