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How do I choose a setting?

Finding a setting that will suit your child

  • You can start by looking for schools near you online School contact details
  • Visit at least two settings so that you have something to compare
  • Does the setting already have all the things your child needs or could they be developed?
  • Try to keep an open mind until you have looked at all the possibilities and spoken to the professionals involved with your child.
  • Speak to the Specialist Teachers for Additional Learning Needs or the Educational Psychologist or the health professionals who may be involved with your child

Before visiting the setting

  • Make a checklist of all the things that are important to you and your child. This will help you to ask the right questions.
  • Ask for a school prospectus or brochure (or find a copy online).
  • Look up the school's most recent Estyn report on the internet.
  • Take any relevant information about your child or young person's additional needs with you.
  • Think carefully about whether you want to take your child with you on the first visit (you could discuss this with the setting or another professional).
  • Decide if you want to take someone along with you such as a friend or relative. They can help in discussing your impressions afterwards.
  • Ask to have a guided tour of the setting. You will get a better feel for the setting if you do this when the children are there.
  • Think about speaking to other parents. However, it is important to keep an open mind. All settings change and information can be out of date. Also, different things are important to different parents. You know your child best, and what is likely to suit him or her.

What should I ask during my visit?

Here are some questions you might want to ask. You will think of other things that are important to you and your family. If you are going to visit more than one school you might want to jot down some notes to help you remember.

  • How many pupils would be in my child's class?
  • What will the school do to make sure that all the staff know about my child's individual needs?
  • How does the school arrange extra support for children who need it?
  • How will I be involved in planning for my child's needs and reviewing his or her progress?
  • How will the other children be helped to understand my child's needs?
  • How will my child be helped to settle into school and to make friends?
  • How will I be kept up to date about what is happening in school?
  • How does the school help children to learn how to behave?
  • How does the school deal with bullying?
  • How will the school make sure my child has the chance to take part in all areas of the curriculum and extracurricular activities (such as lunchtime and after school clubs and outings)?

Remember, your own experiences of school may affect the way you see the school. Try to put these feelings aside and look at the school from your child's perspective.

Applying for a school place

Once you have narrowed down your list of preferred schools, it's time to apply for a place. Apply for a school place

Admissions criteria

Before submitting your application, it's very important to read the school's admission criteria; different schools have different criteria. If the school you're interested in is popular, the admissions criteria will give you a realistic idea of your child's chances of getting a place there. School admission arrangements 2020/2021

Specialist settings

The Additional Learning Needs of children will normally be met in mainstream schools or settings. For some children and young people, it may be necessary to provide more support that can be provided by a mainstream school. To support those with complex needs there are a number of specialist centres attached to the Foundation Phase, junior, primary and secondary mainstream schools. In addition, there are special schools providing to those who need intensive specialist support. Specialist teaching facilities


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