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SENDIASS: Choosing a School (A Checklist for Parents and Carers of Children With Special Educational Needs) - WNC

SENDIASS: Choosing a School (A Checklist for Parents and Carers of Children With Special Educational Needs) - WNC logo


Choosing a school for your child can be a difficult process for parents, especially if your child has special educational needs. When visiting a potential school, you might want to consider some of the following questions.

School Organisation:

  • How is the school organised? Into departments? By age? By ability By subject groups?
  • How might the school's organisation change as my child gets older?
  • How often will my child change class or move around the school?
  • How many children will be in my child's class?
  • When and how often are children taught outside the classroom?
  • How does the school arrange extra support for children who need it?
  • Is the extra support usually provided in the classroom, individually, or in small groups?
  • What health or medical facilities does the school have?
  • If your child has difficulty walking: Will all areas of the school be accessible to my child, or will adaptations be necessary?

Staff Knowledge and Experience:

  • Does the school have any experience helping children with similar difficulties to my child?
  • How many other children in the school have special educational needs? What kinds of needs do they have?
  • How many staff are there in school? Teaching and Non-teaching special needs support staff?
  • What training have staff had about special educational needs?
  • How will the school ensure all staff know about my child's needs?

Pastoral Care and Extra Curricular Activities:

  • How will the other children be helped to understand my child's special needs?
  • How will my child be helped to make friends?
  • How does the school help children to learn how to make the school a happy place? Does the behaviour system reward effort as well as success?
  • What is the school's experience of bullying? How will the school prevent my child from being bullied?
  • How will the school ensure my child can take part in all areas of the curriculum?
  • How does the school ensure all children have an equal opportunity to take part in school trips?
  • How will my child be encouraged to take part in out-of-school activities such as clubs and sports events?

Assessment and Progress:

  • How is children's progress monitored and recorded?
  • How regularly will my child's progress be reviewed? Who is involved in this?
  • What happens if school staff feel my child is not making progress?
  • What will happen if I feel my child is not making progress or if I have any concerns?
  • What special arrangements exist for internal exams, tests, and SATs?
  • What public exams can children take, and what is the success rate?

Communication and Support for Parents:

  • How will I be involved in the individual planning for my child's special educational needs?
  • How often are written reports sent home?
  • How will I be updated about what is happening in school?
  • How are parents involved in school life?
  • Does the school produce newsletters for parents?
  • What sort of support and guidance does the school offer parents?
  • Is there a parents' group I can join?
  • What arrangements are usually made for transport to and from school?
  • How will staff get to know my child before they start at the school?
  • How will my child get to know the school, especially in the first few days after starting?


  • Brackley Area
  • Daventry Area
  • Northampton Area
  • Towcester Area
  • West Northamptonshire
  • Northamptonshire
Additional languages
Translation and/or Interpreting Available on Request
Age range
Suitable for ages from 5 years to 18 years
Referral route
No Referral Needed
For people with
Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND)
Eligibility criteria
  • Age Range - School
  • Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND)
Provider category
Specialist Services - For those who require longer-term support


c/o SENDIASS, West Northamptonshire Council, One Angel Square, Angel Street
United Kingdom


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Last updated 29 May 2024