Choosing the right school for your child

All parents want to choose the right school for their child and all children are unique. Here's some things to think about before visiting schools:

Who can help?

It might be helpful to talk this through with one of the people who knows your child well. This could be someone in your family or someone who works with you and your child who knows about education.

You may already have chosen an early support keyworker or a lead practitioner. Keyworkers and lead practitioners can help you to coordinate a meeting to plan for your child’s needs and encourage you to draw up an agenda of things you want to discuss. They will also be able to tell you where you can find things out and act as a contact point for other professionals. You can choose to be your own early support keyworker.

You can also contact York's SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (formerly Parent Partnership Service) to talk about your options. York SEND Information, Advice and Support Service is part of the local authority’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) Service. They provide impartial support, advice and information for parents and carers of children with special educational needs. The service is free and can be provided over the telephone, through home visits and support at school meetings.

Gathering information about your child’s development

It will be useful if you spend some time gathering information about your child’s development so that the school can consider what they might need to put in place when he/she starts school. If you have a portage home visitor you will have the opportunity to complete a developmental journal and a ‘This is Me’ booklet.

If you have an early support keyworker, you may have kept a family file detailing your child’s needs and other useful information. Some of the professionals involved may have shared their assessments and reports with you and provided advice. If your child goes to an early years setting such as a registered childminder, a nursery or a pre-school they will have records of progress using the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). You and your child can complete a ‘Things I’d Like You To Know About Me’ sheet in partnership with the early years setting. You could share this with the schools you visit for them to find out what your child is likely to need.

Choosing between a mainstream or specialist provision/special school

Think about what type of school would suit your child. Keep an open mind at this stage and think about your local schools.

In York there is one primary special school, Hob Moor Oaks School, which is part of a unique and successful federation with Hob Moor Primary School. The two schools are co-located with a purpose built children’s centre, which has well planned access and a range of facilities which includes a hydrotherapy pool with sensory facilities, a large multi-sensory theatre, soft play room and nursing and physiotherapy suites, which enable paediatric clinics to be held in school.

Admissions to Hob Moor Oaks School are dealt with on an individual basis. If it is likely that your child may need specialist provision, the professionals working with you will have suggested that you visit the school. Children who attend Hob Moor Oaks School will have an Education, Health and Care Plan or a Statement of Special Educational Needs.

In York we have a number of specialist education provisions called Enhanced Resource Provision in mainstream schools.

  • Enhanced Resource provision at Haxby Road Primary School for children with communication and interaction needs. This includes provision for children with specific language/communication  disorder and children with autism. It is a Centre for Excellence for supporting children with speech, language and communication needs
  • Enhanced Resource provision at St Oswald’s Primary School for children with dyslexia
  • The central provision for deaf children in the Caddell Centre at Hempland School.

Admissions are dealt with on an individual basis. Most children have an Education, Health and Care Plan or a Statement of Special Educational Needs, but a few will be admitted under SEN Support arrangements.

For information about the different types of schools in York that have specialist provision please visit our Schools in York page.

To view a list of approved Independent Special Schools and Special Post 16 institutions in the UK please view the Section 41 Secretary of State approved list document. The Government website also has a list of non maintained and independent special schools in England

Who’s who in schools?

Here's a list of the important members of staff in schools

Visiting schools

Draw up a list of schools that you'd like to visit. You can visit as many schools as you want to. You may want to consider how close the school is to your home and how your child might get to school when they are older. Think about whether you want to visit schools on your own or with someone else.

Top Tip- Look at the whole school not just the special educational needs aspects and try to imagine your child there as he/she gets older.

It's often helpful to talk to other parents about how their children are doing at school and if they're happy there. Ask their children what they like about school. Make an appointment at the school. Tell them if you're bringing a friend or someone else, such as an early support keyworker or portage home visitor. Ask to meet the special educational needs coordinator (SENCo). It might be best not to take your child with you at this stage, as it could be confusing for them to see several schools. Later on, when you have narrowed down your choice, the school will usually invite you to bring your child along. Try to ask the same questions in each school so that you can compare the answers. Members of staff in schools are used to having parents visiting and will be happy to answer any questions. 

Top Tip - You can look at school websites to find out more. If you do not have the internet at home, you can use the public access computer in your local children’s centre or library. You might want to look at the school’s OfSTED report, which will tell you about what the school does well.

W: www.ofsted.gov.uk

Travel Arrangements

If your child travels to school in a taxi the school that your child is joining will complete an application for home school transport with you. You need to know that drivers and escorts are not allowed to give any medicines. However, it is important that they are able to recognise an emergency for your child. You will be asked to help the school write an individual travel plan, which will tell the driver and/or escort about how to support your child. This will then be passed to the transport provider. The transport provider will contact you before your child starts school and offer a home visit to discuss your child’s travel plan. You can explain about your child’s communication needs and their impairment or condition. An escort or a member of staff from school will make sure your child is taken to their classroom and escorted into their taxi at the end of the day. All drivers and escorts have undertaken the disability equality training level 1 and received further training on communication and autism.

For more information about travel arrangements for Home to School please contact the School Services team.

School Services Contact Information

T: 01904 551554

E: education@york.gov.uk

 

Related pages

 

Local Area Team Information Service (formerly York FIS)

01904 554444

fis@york.gov.uk