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My child's education

Choosing a school

For every parent choosing the right school for their child is an important decision. As a parent of a child with Special Educational Needs (SEN), this choice can be even more daunting.

The starting point is to have a really good understanding of your child's needs. If your child has had a Diagnostic Assessment then this will outline their strengths and weaknesses, and will make recommendations for the support needed.

If your child has an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP) you can request a non-maintained special school, an independent school, or an independent specialist college (if approved by the Secretary of State).

The local authority must comply with your preference and name the school or college in the EHCP, as long as the school is appropriate for your child's age and ability and can meet your child’s needs, and their attendance would not be incompatible with the education of others.

The school

When making a choice about a school, find out as much as you can about their approach to supporting children with additional needs. Schools should outline their SEN provision in their SEN Policy and SEN Information Report which should be published on their website. The report should include information about:

  • how the school identifies young people with SEN and assesses their needs
  • how the school consults with parents and involves them in their child’s education
  • the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in providing for pupils with SEN
  • how the curriculum is adapted and the school’s approach to teaching children and young people with SEN

A school's Ofsted report will outline how the education provided by the school meets the needs of the range of pupils at the school.

If a school has achieved a BDA Quality Mark or is registered with the Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexic Pupils (CReSTeD), this recognises that a school has dyslexia friendly practice in place. For more information visit:

You may wish to use the following questions as a basis for discussion with the Head or SENCO at the school:

The staff

  • What training do all staff have in understanding and supporting Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD)?
  • Are there staff with specialist qualifications in SpLD?
  • If there are no specialists on staff, how does the school access local authority services for dyslexia and how frequently do the dyslexia teachers attend the school?
  • How will all staff be made aware of a child’s SpLD?
  • How will staff support my child's overall wellbeing?
  • How will staff ensure my child is included in activities outside the classroom?

Teaching and learning

  • How do teachers address the needs of dyslexic students in their class?
  • How is specialist teaching delivered, for example, in class, individually or in small groups?
  • How does the school measure the progress of dyslexic children and young people?
  • What access to and training for ICT do dyslexic children have over and beyond the usual facilities available for all children?
  • How does the school assess for Exam Access Arrangements and support pupils to use these effectively?