Skip to content

  Give feedback Menu  Close 

Choosing the right school for your child or young person is a big decision, but also a very rewarding one. There is lots to consider at this time, but looking at your child’s needs and how they are best supported can help you choose a school that is right for them.

What preparation can you do for you and your family?

There are lots of things you can do to help you feel confident when deciding which school or setting your child or young person should go to. You can do things like:

Moving Schools

If your child is moving school - either from primary to secondary, or changing schools - you can find some useful tips on transition on our moving schools page

Research different schools and settings

You could do this by:

  • speaking to your current school SENCo (sometimes called an InCo) about their views on potential schools 
  • using our online school directory
  • comparing the schools performance results on gov.uk - remember schools and settings shouldn't be judged solely on good exam results
  • having a look at the school's SEN information report - every school must have one, and you can usually find it on their website. It should explain how the school identifies, assesses, and provides for pupils with SEND
  • you can also look at other important documents on the school's website such as their accessibility plan, their medical needs policy and/or their behaviour policy
  • talking to other parents about a specific school, or joining parent forums or support group networks to ask for parents opinions - remember that experiences may differ and it's also important to follow your own instincts
  • If your child has SEND, you might find it useful to talk to a Specialist Advisory Teacher.  They won't be able to recommend a specific school but they might be able to help you think about the questions you will need to ask potential schools.  You can contact them through the Advice Line service

Specialist Advisory Service Advice Lines

Tel:  01442 453 920 (term time only)

  • Specific Learning Difficulties: 
    Mon and Thurs 9.30am - 12pm
  • Speech, Language, Communication and Autism Needs: Tues and Weds 1.30pm - 4pm
  • Early years: 
    Weds 9am - 12pm and Thurs 1.30pm - 4pm
  • Physical and neurological impairment team: Mondays 1.30pm - 4pm

Visit the different schools or settings

Primary schools usually do guided tours for prospective parents in the winter whereas most secondary schools will do a single open evening, usually in the autumn term.

Many schools also now offer virtual tours of the buildings on their website.

During your visit it might help to:

  • share information about your child or young person's needs - this could help determine the level of support on offer.
  • speak to staff members and/ or the school's Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO)
  • prepare a list of questions to take with you
  • visit more than one school so that you can compare their different approaches

You could ask the school questions like:

How many members of staff are there compared to children and/ or young people?

Are there any clubs or extra curricular activities?

How big are the classes?

Have you had any experience with a child and/ or young person with similar needs to mine? What training does your staff have?

What SEN provision can the school/ setting provide?

Does the school offer an induction package for children with SEND?

How is progress measured in your school?  How do children with SEND progress in your school?

How do you involve parents in the monitoring and planning of progress for children with SEND?

What support do you get from outside agencies for children with SEND?

Scope have also come up with a list of questions which you could ask

Involve your child or young person

Involving your child or young person in decision making will help to make them feel at ease and hopefully happy in their new surroundings. When you begin looking for potential schools or settings you could ask your child or young person what is important to them.

You might decide to visit several schools to compare them and then make a short list to visit with your child.

 


Types of schools and settings

If you suspect that your child or young person may need extra help in school or they have been diagnosed with additional needs, understanding the options available to you and what each school or setting can provide, will help inform your decision.

The Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (known as IPSEA) details the different education options available to your child and/ or young person in the UK.

You may also wish to educate your child from home. This is called elective home educating and you can find out further information on our home schooling pages.

A school has no right to refuse a child or young person based on their needs, even if they feel that they are unable to provide for these needs. You can find more guidance on this in the School Admission Code of Practice.

Choosing a school for pupils with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) 

If your child or young person has an EHCP it is possible to state in their plan which school or setting you would like them to attend.  This is done through the SEN service and you do not apply through the standard admissions process. 

If your child has an EHCP and is changing schools, you can find out more about this process on our EHCP review pages. All reviews, school consultations and amendments to an EHCP should be completed by 15 February for any year of change. This gives enough time to resolve any issues before the end of the summer term.

For those transferring from secondary school to college, the EHCP must be reviewed and amended by 31 March in the year of transfer.

You can also find out more about choosing a school with an EHCP on the IPSEA website.

Learn about the different types of special schools, or request a place at a special school in Hertfordshire

Choosing a school for SEND pupils without an EHCP

If your child or young person does not have an EHCP (even if they do have a special education need), you will have to apply for a place at your chosen mainstream school through their normal admissions process. Special school places for children without an EHCP are only reserved for very exceptional circumstances. You can find more guidance on on this in the SEND Code of Practice.

Find more information about how to start researching for schools in Hertfordshire, the options available to you and the admissions process on Hertfordshire.gov.uk.


Services and support

Hertfordshire SENDIASS is an impartial Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS).

Scope provides free practical information, advice and emotional support.

Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (known as IPSEA) offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support.

Helps families feel valued, supported, confident and informed.

The Autism Education Trust helps children and young people with Autism receive an education, enabling them to reach their potential

Cookies

Like many other websites, we place small information files called 'cookies' on your computer.

Why do we use cookies?

To remember your settings, for example your language and location. This means you don’t have to keep entering these details when you visit a new page.

To find out how you use the site to help us update and improve it.

How do I change my cookie settings?

You can change the settings of your web browser so that it won’t accept cookies. For more information visit AboutCookies.org.

But, doing this may stop you from using some of the online features and services on this website. 

Cookies we use

Cookies do a lot of different jobs, and we use 2 types of cookies:

Required functionality cookies – these cookies are essential for the website to work.

Performance and feature cookies – these cookies help to improve the performance and feel of this website, for example providing you with personalised services.


Take a look at a list of cookies we use on our website:

NameTypeHow we use itHow long we use the information for

ASP.Net_Sessions

 

Required functionality

An automatic cookie set by our software. 

Just for the time you are on our website.

ServerID

 

Required functionality

An automatic cookie set by our software. 

Just for the time you are on our website.

_ga

Required functionality

To track the effectiveness of our website using Google Analytics. 

2 years

saved-pages

Performance and feature

To save the pages that you visit by clicking the heart at the top of the page. 

1 month

geoPostcode

Performance and feature

This stores your postcode (or partial postcode) when we ask you for your location.

Just for the time you are on our website or 30 days (you choose this).

geoCoordinates

Performance and feature

This stores your location as a pair of latitude / longitude coordinates.

Just for the time you are on our website or 30 days (you choose this).

reckonerName-history

Performance and feature

This keeps a history of all answers submitted to the ready reckoner.

This is set in the control for each ready reckoner. If you haven't interacted with the ready reckoner for the set amount of days, the cookies are deleted.

reckonerName-content

Performance and feature

This keeps a history of what content cards are clicked on when using the ready reckoner.

This is set in the control for each ready reckoner. If you haven't interacted with the ready reckoner for the set amount of days, the cookies are deleted.

SQ_SYSTEM_SESSION

Required functionality

This used to track user sessions on forms hosted on eservices.hertfordshire.gov.uk

Just for the time you are on our website.


Third party cookies

There are links and content from other sites and services on our website. These sites and services set their own cookies.

Below are a list of cookies that the other sites and services use:

Service namePurposeMore information

Google analytics (_utma/b/c/z)

These are used to compile reports for us on how people use this site.

Cookies of the same names are also used for the same purpose by other websites such as Building FuturesCountryside Management Service and Hertfordshire LIS.

Visit the Google Analytics website for more information about the cookies they use.

You can prevent data from being collected and used by Google Analytics by installing Google's Opt-out Browser Add-on.

Google Translation - googtrans

This cookie is used to remember which language to translate each page into if you have chosen to do so.

It expires at the end of your browser session.

Bing

We use a Bing cookie to track the success of our marketing campaigns and make them more efficient.

Visit Bing to find out more about their cookies.

Google

We use a Google cookie to track the success of our marketing campaigns and make them more efficient.

Visit Google to find out more about their cookies.

Facebook

We have a number of presences on Facebook, which we may link to. Facebook may set some of its own cookies if you follow these links.

Visit Facebook to find out more about their cookies.

Twitter

We have a number of presences and feeds on Twitter, which you may wish to follow or read from this website. Twitter may set some of its own cookies.

Visit Twitter to find out more about their cookies.

YouTube

We have a YouTube channel, which we may link to. YouTube may set some of its own cookies if you follow those links.

Visit YouTube to find out more about their cookies.

Netloan

This ASP.NET_Sessionid cookie is essential for the Netloan secure online payments website to work, and is set when you arrive to the site. This cookie is deleted when you close your browser.

 

HotJar

This session cookie is set to let Hotjar know whether that visitor is included in the sample which is used to generate funnels.

Visit HotJar to find out more about their cookies.

Siteimprove

These cookies are set to help us report on how people are using the site so we can improve it.

Visit Siteimprove to learn more about their cookies.