Choosing a school for a child or young person with special educational needs and disabilities.

Starting school for the first time

Children usually start school in the September following their fourth birthday. It may be possible to defer your child's entry into reception if he or she is not quite ready to start school.

There are many different types of schools and many things to think about when choosing the right education provider for your child.

Most children’s needs can be met in a mainstream school or enhanced mainstream provision. This means that children can go to school with their friends from their community.

Schools special educational needs policies

When you’re considering a particular school for your child, it’s a good idea to look at the school’s special educational needs (SEN) information report, as this explains their ethos and approach to meeting the needs of children with special educational needs. You can find this on the school’s own website, where you will also find lots of other useful information. You may then wish to contact the schools you are interested in to have a look around and meet the headteacher and special educational needs coordinator (SENCo). You might want to prepare a few questions about how the school will support your child before the visit, so that you make sure you cover these issues during your visit.

When making your choice it is also important to consider how your child will travel to school - find out more about transport to school and college

If you're considering home educating your child, you can read more information here.

Children with an education, health and care plan (EHCP)

If your child has an education, health and care plan, the professionals involved in writing it will help you decide on the most appropriate type of school for your child. You will then need to follow our normal North Yorkshire school admissions process.

If your child has an education, health and care plan you might want to consider a special school. Bear in mind that it may not be in their local area, and they will inevitably have a different friendship group and may not be mixing with other children in the locality. You will also need to think about how they will travel to school and whether you are eligible for transport assistance. If you decide to think about special schools, you can find out more about the special schools in North Yorkshire and how to apply for a place.

Children with an education, health and care plan have a nominated SEND casework officer who will help you with transitions to start school, change school or transfer to secondary school. They will discuss changes in school placements with you at your review meeting.

Our school admissions pages have lots of information to help you choose a school including preferencing, catchment areas and admissions policies. You can also find out more about special circumstances for school admissions including SEND and social or medical reasons for preferencing a particular school.

You can also contact us on 01609 535002 or sen@northyorks.gov.uk for more information.

It also may be useful to contact the SEND information, advice and support service (SENDIASS) if your child will be starting school in North Yorkshire. They provide free and impartial information, advice and support for children, young people and young adults (up to 25 years old) with SEND as well as their parents or carers.

Ofsted inspection reports

You can find Ofsted reports for schools, colleges, childminders, nurseries, children’s homes and more in North Yorkshire and across England.