Choosing a school
It is important to plan ahead. You can start looking at schools well in advance of your child starting school or moving up to high school. This can also help you to prepare your child for the change.
Research your local schools via their websites, open evenings or discuss your child’s needs with the SENCO to see how school will support them. Most schools will be showing virtual tours this year so look for them on the school websites.
Look at Ofsted reports as they have a SEND section now. Also schools have a SEND policy and their SEND Local Offer outlining provision. This will be on their website. You might also want to look at other school policies like behaviour and bullying.
Check each individual schools admission policy to see where your child is likely to be placed. This should be on the school website too. You can also speak to their admission officer if you have any questions. Some schools have an additional form that you must complete in addition to the Local Authority online form. This is usually called a supplementary form or faith form.
Look at the school prospectus. Does the school suit your child? Are they academic, arty, musical or sporty or would vocational options suit them better?
Contact the school if you have any questions and write down their answers so that you can refer back to them if needed. Our choosing a school page has some more information.
The Independent Provider of Special Education Advice (known as IPSEA) also has information and advice on their website:
- Choosing a school without an EHC plan on IPSEA
- Choosing a school or college with an EHC plan on IPSEA
Choosing your preferences
All Lancashire schools and academies have equal preference admission policies.
Community and voluntary controlled schools come under Lancashire County Council’s admission authority and follow one admission policy.
Voluntary aided and foundation schools, free schools and academies are their own admission authorities and set their own admission policies.
Why it is a good idea to name 3 different schools? We would always advise that you use all three preferences so that you have an improved chance of getting one of the ones you want for your child. If you don’t do this and aren’t allocated any of your chosen schools you will be allocated the nearest school with available places and that could be something you really don’t want.
If your child has an EHC plan
A separate procedure is followed. If you want a mainstream school for your child you still need to complete an online admission form but also state your preference at the Year 5 annual review meeting.
Special school places can only be accessed if your child has an EHCP and you will need to discuss this at the Annual Review meeting.
You cannot request a special school place on the online admission form.
More information about the admission process is available from Lancashire County Council.
Admission appeal process
Children with EHC plans will follow a separate appeal route. Ask us for further information.
If the school you wanted is a maintained or voluntary controlled school you will need to contact your area education office pupil access team and they will send you the appeal form and information. You can find contact details for the area education office on Lancashire County Council's website.
For academies and non maintained schools you will need to contact the school directly.
The process will be overseen by a clerk who will ensure that the law is followed. Your case will be heard by a panel of 3 to 5 impartial lay people who may have a background in education, for example a retired head teacher. They will also come from a different area of Lancashire so as to ensure they have no bias.
The outcome is usually posted out at the end of the hearing day depending on how many appeals there are for the school you want.
Admission appeal advice
Your local area education office can provide advice about admission appeals. You can find contact details for the area education offices on the Lancashire County Council website.
ACE Education provides independent information and advice about school admissions and appeals.
You can also contact us.