Deciding on a school

How to decide which school is best for my child/young person

All children and young people are different, and you know your child or young person best. We would advise visiting a range of schools to get an idea of what is available, where you feel your child or young person would fit in and be well supported. A good place to start is to look at the school’s website which will tell you how they support children/young people with SEND.

Talking to other parents is also a good source of advice. You can find out about local parent carer groups from the Local Offer on the Trafford Directory. A list of schools and colleges can be found on the Trafford Directory.

If you are deciding which school to name in your child/young person’s EHCP, the discussions you had when writing their EHCP with professionals who know your child/young person well may give you some pointers as to which school can best meet your child/young person’s needs.

You can contact us to talk things through to help you make an informed decision.

Visiting schools and what to look for

All children/young people are different and what works for one child/young person may not be best for another, even if they have the same type of special education need. The best way to decide which school will suit your child/young person and meet their needs is to visit a range of schools to get an idea of that is available.

Every school has their own website and a section which tells you how they support children/young people with SEND. This can be a good starting point.

You’ll need to decide whether it is appropriate to take your child/young person with you, particularly if you are visiting more than one school. It could lead to your child/young person becoming excited or confused about a specific school and ultimately as their parent you are the one to make the decision about which school you would prefer them to attend. For children/young people with an education health care plan (EHC) the local authority will need to agree with your preference for the school to be named in the plan.

It can be useful to take a family member or friend with you when you visit and have questions prepared.

Questions you may wish to ask during your school visit.

  • What experience does the school have of children/young people with similar needs to your child/young person?
  • How do pupils move around the school? Do school make adjustments for SEND pupils? (Secondary school - if your child/young person may have difficulty in crowded corridors)
  • Are there quiet spaces for children/young people to go to when feeling overwhelmed?
  • What happens at break and lunch times – is there any structure/activities?
  • Is there an area for SEND children/young people who may experience difficulties during unstructured times?
  • How are children/young people supported outside of class time?
  • What is the timetable for the day? What does the day look like?
  • How many children/young people are in the classes?
  • How are children/young people supported?
  • How does the school help children/young people settle in and make friends?
  • How does the school manage behaviour linked to a child/young person’s disability?
  • Are all children/young people expected to follow the rules or does school make adjustments for individual pupils where needed?
  • How does school communicate with parents? Is there a home/school communication book?
  • How do children/young people with SEND progress in the school?
  • What transition plan does school have in place for SEND children/young people? How will school get to know your child/young person?
  • How is information on children/young people’s needs shared with school staff?

Contact have a useful page about finding the right school which explains how to find out information about schools and suggests some questions to ask when visiting.