Getting into a special school
Everyone has the right to an education now. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to get a place in a special school. The fact file below shows the steps you need to go through to get an Education and Health Care Plan. On the next page you can see what parents said about trying to do it.
Ask your Local Authority to carry out an assessment.
If they agree, you need to get a doctor’s assessment.
Get a report from your child’s school or nursery.
Complete the forms, then wait 16 weeks for a decision.
Review the draft EHC plan sent by the Local Authority within 15 days.
Receive the final EHC plan within 20 weeks. You can then challenge an unfair decision.
Parents on getting a place
Former parent at Victoria School
“I was desperate, so I contacted the papers. They ran a story saying ‘Mother: Why is there no school for my son?’ The Head of Victoria, Mr Jackson, then got in touch straight away and said he was sorry that John had slipped through the net.”
Parent of a child at an independent school
“To get to that school, the parents have all had the same struggle, the same fight and gone to the extreme, so we’re all very supportive of each other because we know how hard it is. When we see a new parent at the school, they just look broken and we all think; ‘that was us last year’.”
Former teacher at Victoria School
“In mainstream education I wondered if the students even cared about being there, whereas in special education you always had a good time with them.”
Former student at mainstream and special schools
“If I’d gone to a special school, I think I’d have ended up leaving school with qualifications, rather than nothing.”
Student at Victoria School
“Here, you’re accepted more for who you are, and I bloomed. I thought I’d be pushed more at mainstream school, but it’s completely the other way round.”
If you haven’t already watched our film, this part has both teachers and students talking about the differences between mainstream and special schools.