Welcome to St George´s Special School

Introduction

This guidance sets out the criteria used by the Isle of Wight Council to decide on admission of children to its maintained special schools and resourced provision centres for children with autistic spectrum disorders within mainstream. The guidance should be read in conjunction with the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (SENCoP), Isle of Wight’s Criteria for Making Statutory Assessments and Circular No: 15/99 Maintained Special Schools.

As far as possible, admission to special schools and resourced provision centres (ASD) will be arranged in line with the normal admissions procedures of the Local Authority, through Statements of Special Educational Needs (‘statements’). Under no circumstances should places be offered, or children admitted to a special school or resourced provision centre (ASD), other than by the Local Authority. The Local Authority will finalise its decision naming a school in a child’s Statement of SEN after receiving the advice and recommendations of the SEN Panel.

All pupil places in resourced provision centres (ASD) within mainstream schools are deemed to be above the planned admission number (PAN) for the host school.

Naming a School in a Statement ¹

In keeping with its general position on inclusive education, the Local Authority will seek to place a child with a statement in the ‘least restrictive environment’ ² ³ compatible with meeting his/her special educational needs. Unless a parent indicates otherwise, this will usually be the nearest appropriate mainstream school to the child’s home, together with the special provision described in his/her statement.

The placement of a child in a special school or resourced provision centre (ASD) will normally follow a statutory assessment and the making of a statement by the Local Authority. After parents have received the proposed statement for their child they have a right to state a preference for a maintained school – mainstream or special - their child should attend. Parents are informed about available schools and also the support they may receive from Parent Partnership and voluntary organisations.

A special school or resourced provision centre placement may also be considered following an annual review of a statement or, in the case of a child with a statement who is at serious risk of exclusion, after an interim review. In each case, changes in the special educational needs and provision requirements for the child may indicate the appropriateness of a special school or resourced provision centre placement.

In addition, parents are entitled to make representations for placement in a non-maintained special or independent school. When considering such representations the Local Authority will establish that the school is suitable and that placement would avoid any unnecessary expenditure.

Where the Local Authority decides not to name a school preferred by parents the reasons will be explained in writing, informing them of their right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN and Disability).

THE CENTRALITY OF PARENTAL PREFERENCE IN DETERMINING ADMISSIONS

Parental Preference for a Maintained Special School or Resourced Provision Centre in a Mainstream School
The Local Authority will name the maintained special school or resourced provision centre of parental choice providing that:

  • the special school or resourced provision centre is suitable for the child’s age, ability and aptitude and the special educational needs set out in Part 2 of the statement;
  • the child’s attendance is not incompatible with the efficient education of other children (or those likely to be placed within the next 26 weeks) in the special school or resourced provision centre;
  • any representations made by the governing body have been properly considered;
  • a place is, or can be made, available within the special school or resourced provision centre; and
  • the placement is an efficient use of the Local Authority’s resources.

Where parental preference for a particular maintained special school or resourced provision centre cannot be met, and the Local Authority concludes that placement in another special school or resourced provision centre would be inappropriate using the criteria above, it will name a mainstream school, normally the nearest to the child’s home, following all necessary consultations described in the SENCoP.

Where the Local Authority determines that a mainstream placement would be unsuitable for the child, incompatible with the efficient education of other children or an inefficient use of the Council’s resources it may name another suitable special school, resourced provision centre or other specialist facility.

Parental Request to Change Part 4 of the Statement

Parents may make a request to the Local Authority to substitute the name of a maintained school in Part 4 of a final statement with another school. The LA will comply with the request so long as it is in keeping with the criteria described in paragraph 9:40 of SENCoP. If after undertaking all necessary consultations, and giving careful consideration, the Local Authority is:

  • in agreement with parents, it will amend the statement naming the school proposed within eight weeks of the request; or
  • unable to agree, it will write to parents within eight weeks of the request giving the reasons why Part 4 of the statement will not be amended and explaining their right to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (SEN AND Disability) and/or to utilise local disagreement resolution services.

Consulting Special Schools and Mainstream Schools Hosting Resourced Provision Centres

The decision whether to name a maintained special school or resourced provision centre in a statement falls to the Local Authority. Once a maintained special school or mainstream school hosting a resourced provision centre is named in a statement governors are under a duty to admit the child. This will apply equally to Academies, Foundation and Voluntary Aided schools

Before specifying the name of a maintained special school or resourced provision centre in a statement the Local Authority will consult the governing body of the school, which would normally be expected to respond within 15 working days. The governing body will be given access to the (amended) proposed statement, together with accompanying advice, and may wish to discuss the child’s requirements with an appropriate officer. In some instances, consultation may extend to another Local Authority.

Where parents have expressed a preference for a particular school, the Local Authority will consider matters raised by the governing body in relation to:

  • meeting the child’s special educational needs as described in the (amended) proposed statement;
  • the impact on the education of other children at the school; and
  • the efficient use of resources normally available to the school.

When consultation is not as a result of a parental preference for a particular school the Local Authority will consider any concerns the governing body may have regarding the child’s impact on the efficient education of other children at the school and whether the governing body, or the Local Authority can take reasonable steps to prevent incompatibility.

In all cases, the Local Authority will give careful consideration to whether admission will be in keeping with the school’s organised arrangements. Not only will the Local Authority consider whether the child’s primary needs fall within the school’s special educational needs categorisation but also whether a supported placement at a particular school could meet the individual needs of the child.

Although, the Local Authority will not normally name special schools or resourced provision centres in statements which are already admitting children up to the number of funded places, a degree of flexibility will be exercised from time-to-time. In such circumstances, the Local Authority will pay particular attention to the number in the class or year group to which the child would be admitted, as well as the total for the school as a whole. Wherever feasible, the Local Authority would expect the school to adjust its arrangements to accommodate the child within a reasonable time.

notes

¹ In the final statement, Part 4 will set out the type of school and any particular school the LA considers appropriate for the child.

² ‘least restrictive environment’ is defined as the educational setting where a child with special educational needs (or a disability) can receive special provisions designed to meet his/her needs while being educated with peers, wherever possible in a mainstream setting.

³ ‘special provision’ should be viewed as a set of services over and above those provided for all children, not as a ‘place’.