If your child has an education, health and care plan (EHCP), the annual review meeting in Year 5 is a good time to talk about plans for moving to secondary school and to discuss transport arrangements.
In October of Year 6, you will need to decide which secondary or special school you would prefer your child to go to.
Your casework officer should then send you an amended education, health and care plan by 15th February, naming their Year 7 placement.
Choosing a school
Try to go to the school open days, which are usually in September or October. You can find out the dates on the school's website or by phoning the school's receptionist.
Each school should have information on their website, including their latest Ofsted report, or you can ask for a copy of the school's prospectus.
You can talk to the special education needs co-ordinator (SENCo) on the open day and, if you wish, make an appointment to discuss your child in more depth in a confidential environment.
Applying for a place at a mainstream school
You have to apply for your child's place at a mainstream school. You can do this in two ways:
- Complete the form on the apply for a secondary school place page. The school admissions section contains lots of information to help you with the process.
- Alternatively, you can contact us for a copy of the admissions form.
These are the only ways you can apply for a school place.
If your child needs a place at a special school
It may be recommended or you may want your child to go to a special school. Places at special schools are given to children with complex needs who have an education, health and care plan (EHCP).
You can ask your special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) how to apply for a place at a special school.
You should also apply for a place at the mainstream school you prefer, and explain on the form that your child is being considered for a place at a special school.
If your child already attends a special school
If your child is already on the roll at a special school, in Years 5 and 6 the school and casework officer will discuss with you whether the special school is still suitable to meet your child's needs for his or her secondary education.
You still have a right to submit an admissions form requesting a change of placement or stating you would like your child to remain at the same special school.
If you are not sure what type of school would be best for your child, arrange to discuss your concerns as early as possible and allow yourself time to visit different schools more than once if necessary. Your SEND Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) co-ordinator can help you with these arrangements and accompany you on school visits, if you wish.
Appealing the place your child is given
If you are not happy with the school place your child has been given, you can appeal the placement. You should speak to your SEND casework officer if you wish to appeal the placement.
There is also information about the appeals process on the school admissions appeals page.
Making sure a secondary school will be able to meet your child’s needs
If your child has an education, health and care plan (EHCP), secondary school special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCo) should visit the primary school to meet your child and talk about your child's needs with their primary school teachers and teaching assistants.
If your child has particular difficulties and you feel extra visits to the secondary school will help prepare him or her, you should talk to your primary school special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) about this. Sometimes a teaching assistant can be released to accompany your child to reassure him or her and to pass relevant tips and information to the secondary school staff. Additional visits can often help to reassure you and your child that steps will be taken to ensure support is in place before your child starts the secondary school.
Who to talk to at the secondary school
The head of Year 7 or the special educational needs co-ordinator will be happy to meet with you. Your SEND Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) coordinator can also support you in preparing for meetings with school staff.
Download the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice from GOV.UK.