How do I know that a school will meet my child’s needs?
Parents are encouraged to visit any school they are considering for their child. A lot of schools will have an open evening for prospective pupils; if you contact the school direct they will be able to give you the dates. As well as having a guided tour of the school and looking at the facilities it is a good idea to arrange to meet the school Special Education Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO). They are the person who will have a role in ensuring what is provided meets the needs of pupils with special educational needs. They will also know about school policies and practices. Another way to find out about the school is to read the school special educational needs policy and other documents such as its anti-bullying, anti-discrimination policies, the school’s access plan and its disability equality scheme. The school’s Ofsted report will also be a good source of information. Ofsted reports include a specific section on special educational needs provision. You may also find speaking to other parents and pupils and looking at the schools website helpful.
What is the best way for me to communicate with a school?
Schools will communicate with parents in a variety of ways, but it is always useful to speak to the SENCO to check which ways suit you both.
Email - All schools are now on e-mail and this can be an effective way of communicating with school. Email can be used at any time. Sometimes parents find this useful if their child does not like them speaking to school. Be aware that e-mails may not be answered straight away as they may not be checked every day by the teacher/SENCO.
Homework Diary – this could be used to pass messages on to individual teacher/teaching assistants – although your child has to remember to give it to the staff.
Phone – you could arrange to discuss your child with the teaching assistant/key worker at a decided time and date each week, to check if there are any difficulties or you could just have an ‘open’ time for whenever an issue arises.
Can a school refuse to admit my child?
Parents have a right to tell the Local Authority, the school they would prefer their child to attend. If a school is over subscribed admissions criteria are used.
For further information on the admission criteria please contact school admissions:
Rushcliffe, Gedling, Broxtowe – tel: 0115 845 6161
Newark, Bassetlaw, Ashfield, Mansfield - tel: 01623 433433
Children with special educational needs may not be refused admission because the school feel unable to cater for their needs. Their admission application must be considered on the basis of the schools published admission’s criteria. Where a child has a statement in which a mainstream school is named, the governing body of the school must admit the pupil.
Can I request a special school place for my child?
Yes, however, the expectation is that the vast majority of pupils with special educational needs, including pupils with a statement, will have their needs met in a mainstream setting. In a few instances a special school will provide the best setting to meet a pupil’s special educational needs. In these circumstances a pupil will need a statement of their educational needs.
Which special school is suitable for my child?
Visiting different special schools gives parents a good idea about how the school that could meet their child’s needs, in the same way that parents visit mainstream schools. Parents may express a preference to the Local Authority about the school they would like their child to attend. There then will be discussions with the Local Authority as to the most suitable placement.
Will my child qualify for special transport?
This depends on whether the school is the nearest suitable school or a preferred choice of school. If your child has a need which means they are unable to access public/school buses and they attend their local mainstream school, they may qualify for special transport. This is looked at on an individual basis by the Local Authority. The transport could be a taxi or a minibus. Some schools have developed a buddy system for children who can access the regular school bus and need some support. If your child attends a special school they may be provided with transport, however, this would need to be discussed with the LA and you should not assume that your child will qualify for special transport if they are given a special school place.
Will my child’s support in primary school follow him/her to secondary school?
A pupil should receive the appropriate support to meet their needs whatever school they attend. The needs of the pupil should be identified and recorded in their Individual Education Plan (IEP). The support a pupil requires will change if the needs of the pupil change. For some children the support may increase around transition this would be discussed as part of the transition plan.
The SENCO from the primary school will liaise with the secondary SENCO to ensure that appropriate support is in place for when your child starts at the secondary school.
Will my child receive support outside the classroom?
Support for a pupil outside the classroom during free time would be provided according to need. A pupil’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Pastoral Support Plan (PSP) should make clear the pupil’s needs and the support that is in place to meet them. This could include any support a pupil needs during free time and what is expected of the pupil, for example that they attend lunch time activities.
Does my child have to wear a uniform?
The majority of schools require pupils to wear school uniforms. If your child experiences difficulty with wearing school uniform you will need to speak to school.
As parents it may be useful to look at the types of fastening on your child’s clothes, this may support them in getting changed independently for P.E. etc
How can I find out about and how will my child cope with homework?
If you find your child is struggling with their homework or you are unable to get them to do it at home, it would be useful to communicate this to school as most schools do give concessions for some children or would encourage them to go to the homework club.
Will the school know if my child goes missing?
Many schools use an individual register for each lesson. Lots of schools are starting to use electronic recording for this so they are able to tell very quickly if a young person does not turn up for a lesson. The young people are also registered at the beginning of the day and after lunch periods. Usually the class teacher will alert somebody who is not teaching and they will go to look for the young person concerned.
My child has been given a fixed period exclusion, what does this mean?
The school can exclude children for a fixed period of days, whilst the child is not attending school; the school still have an obligation to provide work to meet their needs.
The length of the exclusion can vary and the Head Teacher will usually advise you (via the telephone) of the nature of the exclusion and how long your child will be excluded for. You will then receive a letter the following day to confirm the exclusion and how school will continue to provide work for your child. Prior to your child returning to school after the exclusion you will be invited into school along with your child to a re-entry meeting to discuss future provision.
Depending on the length of the exclusion you may be able to request a governors meeting or be invited along to a governors meeting. If the exclusion is between 6 – 15 days you have the right to request a meeting. If the exclusion is for 15 or more days a governors meeting will automatically be held.
The Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) provides a free information pack about exclusions.
Exclusion Information Line (24 hours answer phone) tel: 020 7704 9822
If you leave your name and number they will send you an information pack out 1st class, this will give you information about attending the meeting and preparing your information for the meeting.
Advice Line Mon – Fri 2 – 5pm, tel: 0808 800 0327 if you need to speak to an advisor, after you have received the information pack.
My child has been permanently excluded, what does this mean?
The Head Teacher is the only person who is able to issue a permanent exclusion. You will be informed of the process by letter and be invited yo attend a governors meeting. This must take place within 15 school days of the exclusion being issued. The governors can uphold (i.e. agree with) the Head Teacher’s decision or overturn (i.e. change) it. If the decision is overturned, there will need to be careful planning on how your child is to return. If the governors uphold the Head Teacher’s decision the Local Authority (LA) become responsible for your child’s education on the 6th day after the exclusion. The LA will discuss the provision with you and your child.
It will be useful for you to contact the Advisory Centre for Education (ACE) on the above contact details for an information pack.
The Parent Partnership Service also has an exclusion worker, who may be able to offer you advice or support you in meetings with the school or the LA. Tel: 0115 9482 888.
My child has a statement of special educational needs. What happens if we move to Nottinghamshire from another LA?
As soon as you know you are going to move to Nottinghamshire contact Gill Bevington at County Hall on 0115 977 3779. You will be asked:
- The address you are moving from and to
- The date you are moving
- The name and the type of school your child attends
- The name of the local authority you are moving from
You will receive a letter from the Assistant SEN Officer confirming the details that you have provided and advising what will happen next. Following this you will be contacted by an Educational Psychologist who will discuss your child’s needs and school placement with you.
My child has a statement of special educational needs. What happens if we move from Nottinghamshire to another LA?
As soon as you know you are moving, contact Gill Bevington on 0115 977 3379. You will be asked:
- What your new address is
- What date you are moving
- The name and type of school your child attends at the moment.
The LA will send your child’s information to the authority with your new address who will then contact you.
Does my child need a statement to get extra funding?
No. The funding for each child depends on their individual needs. A child can receive ASN, AFN and HLN funding and full access to support services without a statement in Nottinghamshire. For further information, please go to Section Three.
Who should I ask about the support my child receives?
Speak to the SENCO at your child’s school as he/she will be able to inform you of the support your child receives and address any concerns you have about it.