Choosing a school

Other things to think about


Of the schools you are interested in, think about how you might fit into the criteria of that school. If you are in the catchment area or have a sibling already at the school, you'll stand a good chance of getting a place. If however, you only qualify in the distance criteria for a school, your chances of successfully getting a place may be less, particularly for schools that are regularly oversubscribed.

If your child/young person has an EHC plan, then your preference of school should be named on the plan - and therefore admitted to that setting - 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. This is true for ANY of the following qualifying institution:

  • maintained nursery school
  • maintained school and any form of academy or free school (mainstream or special)
  • non-maintained special school
  • further education or sixth-from college
  • independent school or independent specialist colleges (where they have been approved for this purpose by the Secretary of State and published in a list available to all parents and young people) 

Distance and travel

It's important to think about how your child will get to the schools that you choose.

  • Will they be able to walk to the school?
  • Is there a regular bus route that can be used?
  • What would happen if your child missed a bus? 

If you are considering applying for home to school travel assistance, the Local Authority will take parental preference of school into account in determining whether they can offer assistance. For example, if you choose a school which is not considered to be the nearest suitable school, then the Local Authority may have no duty to provide transport. Full details and copies of the home to school transport policy are available. 


Schools and colleges are now able to offer a wide range of subjects to suit individual learning, with the likes of foundation vocational courses and BTECs being offered alongside more traditional GCSE/A level courses. To find out about a school or colleges current curriculum offer, details are available on their websites or from the institution themselves.


An educational setting is often at the centre of most children and young people's socialising. Many parents worry about their children being apart from friends made in previous settings; alternatively, they may wish to be kept apart from other children they met at a previous setting! If your child's friends are going to a setting which may not suit your child/young person in other ways (e.g. curriculum, extra-curricular activities, environment etc), remember they may make new friends in a setting they feel more comfortable in.

Another thing to remember is that although someone might say they are going to a particular school/college, there is no guarantee that they will be successful in getting a place there.

SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (IASS)

Open Mon - Thurs 9am - 5pm. Fri - 9am - 4.30pm

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 024 7669 4307

Fax: 024 7669 5627


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