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The process for choosing a school

1 - Getting started

Check the deadline for applying and get a folder so that you can keep all your information together. See Getting started for more details.

2 - Start with your child

Think about out what your child needs most from a school. See Think about your child's needs for guidance on all the things you may need to think about.

3 - Find out about local schools

See Which schools? for how to find the names of schools and information about them. Start to research schools as soon as you can so you are not rushed into a decision.

4 - Match your child to the schools

Compare the information about your child with the information on schools and work out which schools are the best match.

5 - Make a short-list of up to three or four schools to visit.

6 - Visit the schools on your short-list

Go round on open day or make an appointment. See Visiting the schools for suggestions of things to think about and questions you might want to ask.

7 - Make your decision!

If you are still unsure, take advice from people who know your child such as your child’s teacher, special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) and/or nursery school staff. Contact organisations which understand your child’s special educational needs and/or the law on school choice (see Where to get help and more information).

8 - Make your application

See How to apply for help with how to do this.

9 - The local authority replies

If your child has not got a statement, you will receive your offer of a secondary school place on March 1 or the next working day. Dates for primary school offers vary.

If your child has been assessed for a statement, you will receive the final statement naming a school eight weeks after you received the proposed statement. If your child already has a statement and is transferring to secondary school, you will receive the amended statement by February 15.

10 - Plan your child’s start or appeal for a place

Once you have heard from the local authority, you will be able to prepare your child for starting school or transferring to a new school. If you are unhappy with the school you have been allocated, plan your appeal. See If you are unhappy… for help with how to do this.

September 2010

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