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Choosing a School or College (SEND)


Choosing a school or post 16 placement if your child has a Statement or Education Health Care Plan.


Choosing a school

If your child has Special Educational Needs (SEN) and has either a

* Statement

* Education, Health and Care Plan(EHCP)

* proposed Statement of SEN

* or proposed EHCP

you will be invited to express your views about a school for your child/young person. This is because the SEN Service is responsible for naming a school in the Part 4 of the Statement of SEN or in section I of the EHCP. The SEN Service will do so in partnership with you.

We recognise that choosing a school is an important decision for parents/carers and that you will need all the information and advice available.

For the majority of children with a Statement of SEN /  EHCP it is expected that they will attend their local mainstream school alongside their peers and all schools have a duty to meet the needs of children and young people with SEN.

Legal statement about school placements

"The law provides that the Local Authority must secure that an EHC Plan provides for the child or young person to be educated in a maintained nursery school, mainstream school or mainstream post-16 institution, unless parents do not wish this or it is not compatible with the efficient education of other pupils. Parents may request alternative placements but the Local Authority will not agree any placements which are unsuitable to the child’s or young persons needs, and / or those which would constitute an inefficient use of resources or are incompatible with the efficient education of others".

Schools and SEN Provision

SEN Information Report

Each school is required to publish its SEN Information Report, the school’s contribution to the Local Authority Local Offer, on its web site. This will be a good starting point for you to find information about how your local mainstream school supports children with special educational needs.

You can also view this information when you search for a school on the Local Offer. At the bottom of each school's record there is a link to their SEN Information Report.

Visiting schools

You may like to take the opportunity to visit a number of schools during the assessment process in order to develop your understanding of possible options if a final EHC plan is issued.

The leaflet "checklist for visiting schools - a guide for parents and carers” (also see the external link on the right of this page), will also support you to find out more information about your local school.

For some children with the most complex special educational needs, or where your child/young person has medical needs and social care support alongside educational needs you may be considering a school place in one of Hampshire’s maintained Special Schools.

Which school?

Information about the range of maintained schools (mainstream and special) is available on the Local Offer.

The “Checklist for visiting schools - a guide for parents and carers” will also support you to find out more information about any special schools you visit.

It is important that you as parents/carers are informed about the way in which a school will support your child/young person’s special educational needs. Whilst the school is expected to make this information available to parents/carers we encourage parents/carers to ask questions about special educational needs provision at the school.

Hampshire County Council's SEN department

We will provide you with details of mainstream schools, special schools and colleges in the area when we send you the draft Statement/EHC plan.

We are also required to send you details of all non-maintained and independent special schools in England. You should be aware that during the course of your child’s assessment, schools or colleges will be suggested to you as possible placements.

The final decision regarding suitable educational provision for your child cannot be made until all the information is gathered and evaluated. Therefore, although individual schools or colleges may be raised during discussions with you, this does not mean that they will be considered appropriate to meet your child’s needs, nor that there is any undertaking by those who provide advice on your child’s needs to place your child in a particular school or college.

You may want your child to attend a non-maintained special school, or an independent school or college which has facilities for pupils with special educational needs. We will consider your wishes carefully before we make a final decision.

We must comply with your preference and name that school unless:

* it would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or

* the attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or

*the efficient use of resources

It is increasingly unusual for us not to be able to make provision for a child or young person in a school or college in Hampshire.



If you live on the Hampshire border

If you live close to the Hampshire border the nearest appropriate school or college for your child may be in the area of a neighbouring local authority.

Before naming that school or college in your child’s EHC plan, we must consult the other local authority and the school or college.

Residential placements

Sometimes we are asked to support a residential placement for a child or young person. We will do this if one of the following criteria is met:

* your child needs highly specialist educational provision which is available only in a small number of establishments nationwide

* the overall needs of your child are best met by a co-ordinated plan of support which is agreed by, as appropriate, Health, and the local authority’s Social Care and SEN Service

* Hampshire’s own specialist provision is too far from your home to make daily travel possible

* Hampshire’s own specialist placements are full and it is necessary to find an appropriate placement further afield.

The SEN Service does not provide short break (respite) facilities for families. If this type of support is needed, your Named Officer will be pleased to advise you on how to contact Social Care.

Choosing a post 16 educational placement

In Hampshire the majority of children with special educational needs transfer after year 11 to a local further education or sixth form college to continue with their education.

As with schools, information about local colleges is published on the Local Offer.

There are also two booklets that you might find helpful:

"Checklist for visiting colleges - a guide for young people”

Checklist for visiting colleges - a guide for parents and carers” available to support young people and their parents to find out which college is most suitable for them.

The views of the young person themselves are central to this decision making process.

Independent special schools, sixth forms and independent specialist colleges – section 41 list

Placements at independent providers are only made in exceptional circumstances when local mainstream schools, special schools or colleges are unable to meet learners’ special educational needs.

The Local Authority uses the Department for Education list of agreed independent providers should it be required to consult with an independent school or college. See the download document "INMSS August 2016" on the right for further information.

Click on this link for the list of agreed Section 41 independent providers:

Natspec is the membership association for Specialist Colleges.

The Natspec College Directory has contact details for each college, information about their courses, specialist support areas and college facilities.


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Page last reviewed: 01/09/2021

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