If you’re a parent of a child with special education needs (SEN), then choosing the correct school is a hugely important decision in their emotional and educational development. Choosing a school for a child with special needs can also be quite difficult, especially if you’re not sure of what to look out for. So, continue reading our helpful guide to find out what you should consider when looking for a school for children with special needs.

Considerations for choosing a school for children with special needs

There are plenty of considerations to take on board when thinking about the perfect school for your little one. Whatever their needs are, you must ensure that the school you choose can cater to them all, and provide excellent educational support too.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • The child’s primary area of need
  • Understand background and set up a visit
  • Specific intervention and provision
  • Consider all school models
  • Other important issues

The child’s primary area of need

When choosing a school for a child with special needs, you first have to take into account their primary area of need. The 2014 Code of Practice sets out four areas of special educational needs: Communication and Interaction, Cognition and Learning , Social, Emotional and Mental Health, and Sensory and Physical.

Choosing the right school depends on the particular area of need your child requires help with.

Understand the background and set up a visit

Now you’ve circled in on a few schools that could care for your child, it’s important to understand their background and what they’ve been successful with in the past. Find a couple of schools that can prove they’re able to adequately support your child’s needs, then arrange a visit.

Take your little one into the school, speak to teachers and carers and let them explore their environment to see if they enjoy it. You can only truly know what a school is like once you’ve been there, experienced it and spoken to the people who will be in charge of your child’s primary care.

Specific intervention and provision

While visiting the school, you need to consider the type of provision available. What professional support will your child receive and what type of intervention is available? Can the school help with specific learning difficulties and sensory needs, and are different therapies available? Also, you’ll need to find out if the school offers provisions such as counselling, mentoring, and whether they can provide particular therapies around speech and language.

These are all important questions that you will need to consider as part of your decision-making process. You will want to choose a school that you know offers the right level of support for your child, so that you feel comfortable leaving them there every day, and feel happy that they are receiving the best possible care.

Consider all school models

When choosing a school for children with special needs, it’s important to consider all available options in terms of their schooling. That means looking at public and private schools as well as special schools, or even special units within mainstream schools.

By covering all your bases, you’ll know what the best option is when it comes to making your decision.

Other important issues

Other important issues can include religious beliefs and school classroom sizes. If you notice the classrooms are very full and busy, it could be a sign that not enough time is devoted to each individual child because the teaching staff are stretched thin.

There are important questions to ask that include equality and transitioning from the classroom to their specialised sessions away from the general population of classmates. How does the school integrate them into their classroom and involve them with other children? The last thing you want is for your child to feel left out.

Royal School Manchester and Seashell

Royal School Manchester is a non-maintained special needs school based in Manchester, offering outstanding education and care for students aged two to 19. We provide tailored care and support for those with learning difficulties, disabilities, complex health needs, and autism.

With a safe, calm learning environment tailored to their specific needs, students can develop and progress to their full potential at Royal School Manchester. Key to our school’s success is the strength of the relationship our dedicated staff have with each and every child.

If you’d like to know more about Seashell and what we do, contact us today on 0161 610 0100 or email us at info@seashelltrust.org.uk.