Choosing a school or mainly the right school is a extremely important decision for any parent.

But, when your child has additional needs it is even more complicated as there are so many other factors to think about. 

I have put together a list of a few tips on things to consider when choosing a school. 

1. Visit both mainstream and specialist schools

When we were looking for a school for Oscar we visited our local mainstream schools and the specialist schools. 

It was doing this that made our decision that Oscar attending mainstream was not to be. 

Also, it is important to visit the schools you would consider sending your child to. 

How can you send your child to a school that you have never set foot in? 

You need to see the school for yourself. 

You need to meet the teachers and children and see how they interact with each other. 

You need to see what facilities are on offer for your child. 

Most importantly, you need to see that the children are happy and feel safe there. 

2. Check the Ofsted Reports

Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) go into schools and inspect how well they think the schools are performing. 

They produce a report which is usually published online. 

It provides information on what areas the school is doing well in and what also what it needs to improve on. 

3. Make a list of questions

I took a full A4 sheet of questions I had to each school (I kid you not) and a pen and paper to write down the answers. 

I feel this is important though. 

I knew if I didn’t write my questions down (and I had a lot) then I would forget them. 

They probably thought I was a mad woman but I didn’t care, I wanted to know how they would get my non-mobile child out of the building in the case of an emergency!

4. When visiting take your child with you 

This is a good test to see how your child reacts in each school environment but also how the teachers and other children react to your child. 

5. Speak with other parents

If you can, try and speak with parents of the pupils who already attend the schools and ask them what they think of them. 

They will more than likely be honest with you as to what they do or don’t like about the school. 

6. Be honest with yourself 

As much as you may not want to send your child to a specialist school, sometimes for some children this is the best option. 

They have the expertise and training to teach and engage with children who have additional needs which is not always available in mainstream schools. 

Deep down, you will know what will be best. 

If you are currently in the process of choosing a school for your child I wish you lots of luck. 

I know as a parent it is one of the hardest decisions to make and get right.

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