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What type of school is right for my child?

The vast majority of children with special educational needs and disabilities are educated successfully in mainstream schools and academies.

Schools will help all pupils achieve their full potential, and for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities extra help is available. This will include:

  • A variety of teaching and learning styles to match pupils' needs
  • A special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) at each school
  • The school will set targets and regularly review the progress for children with special educational needs
  • Extra resources (in line with government prescribed limits)
  • An accessibility plan that will help children with sensory issues/sensory impairments.

Schools will make extra support available, depending on the child's needs. They can adapt the curriculum and may also be able to make changes to the school environment. The local authority and NHS provide services to help schools to support pupils with special educational needs.

Some mainstream schools in Derbyshire have teachers with more specialist training and extra resources. These are called 'Enhanced Resource Schools' who can take pupils with an EHC plan from outside their normal area. If you wish your child to be considered for a place at one of these schools you can put it as your preferred school in the EHC plan.

The council has a number of special schools throughout the county for pupils who have an EHC plan, however many children with severe and/or complex needs are successful in a mainstream school. It is also possible for the local authority to agree for a pupil to have a 'dual placement', where a child spends part of the week in mainstream school and part of the week in a special school.

Children don't have to stay in the same type of school throughout their school life. Sometimes, children attend a mainstream primary school and move to special school for part of their education. Alternatively, if agreed by the local authority, children can start in special school for some intensive support and move into mainstream when they are ready.

In deciding which type of school is right for your child, it is important to fully understand the range and severity of their needs. If your child has a multi-agency assessment, such as an Early Help Assessment or an Education, Health and Care needs assessment, this should help you to understand more about their needs. Alternatively, you may want to discuss with the SENCo in your school whether it would be appropriate to involve any specialist services, e.g. the schools' educational psychologist, who could help to clarify the nature of your child's need and work with the school to plan how to meet these needs.

For further information on Independent schools for pupils with special educational needs, including those approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act please see the information on other websites section of this page.