Guide to choosing SEN school for your child?

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Category: Lifestyle, Parenting Tips

A vital part of a child’s education, the difficult decision of choosing a school can affect a child’s development and their path later on in life.

An already difficult decision, this decision is made even harder for parents of special needs children. Choosing sen school can be a task that many parents dread and fear, but it needn’t be.

Within this blog, we will help unsure parents making the difficult decision of searching and choosing a sen school and the key facts that they should consider.

What are sen schools?

For those parents choosing sen schools, what is the difference between a special educational needs school and that of a regular school? 

Referred to sen schools for short, special educational needs schools are schools that are designed to support and educate pupils with a variety of special needs. Open to pupils 11 years old and over, when choosing a sen school, often specialist schools concentrate on one disability.

By choosing to focus on one disability, they can offer a more moulded education to pupils and the challenges that they face.

What to look for when choosing sen school?

You have decided that your child would be best suited and supported when attending a sen school that can cater to their unique needs. Now comes to the dreaded part of choosing a sen school. A new and uncharted territory, we are here to help and have put together a couple of key points that you should cover when working out which school your child will prefer and be able to flourish in. 

Review the inspection results

You are beginning the daunting task of choosing which sen school is best suited to your child. We recommend that when starting, you begin by reviewing the latest inspection results. How did they measure when reviewed by an independent, regulatory body?

Any negative parts or faults that are being worked upon will be raised and highlighted, in turn giving you a clear picture at the beginning of your school hunt of which schools to look at more closely.

School policies

When looking at the website and reviewing the sen school admissions, we recommend also digging a little deeper to review the school policies.

How do they nurture and support each pupil? Do they offer one-to-one private tutoring and is there a sensory, time out room available? Reviewing these key parts and making sure that your child is supported and going to feel comfortable can ensure that they enjoy their educational experience.

Speak to other parents

You might be fortunate to have a few friends or acquaintances who have sent their child to your prospective sen school in the past. If so, this first-hand insight is invaluable and great for gaining their perspective of the education and support that their child has received. 

Some schools that you might be considering might even be able to help and invite fellow parents to share their experience to help aid you during these unsure times.

By speaking with other parents who have been in your same shoes, even if to discover how they have dealt with this difficult situation themselves in the past, you can feel a wave of confidence that you are on the right track. 

Book a school tour

Another valuable and essential part of looking not just at sen schools, but also mainstream schools and that is the need to conduct a school tour. By calling up in advance and organising a school tour, you can view the school in person and discover first hand how it measures against your other prospective schools.

By taking time out to visit the school and see students learning first hand (if possible) in their classes, you can gain a clearer understanding of whether this school is the right fit for your child. You will see pupils communicating with teachers and find out how pupils interact with one another.

We recommend taking your child along to these school tours to gauge their own reaction to the school, and where possible, allowing your child will special needs the right to express their interest in attending the school of their choice.


Although a new and unsure experience, don’t remain in the dark when choosing sen school for your child. Instead, follow our recommended points as covered within this handy blog.

By taking the time to conduct much-needed research and by visiting the school, you can discover what facilities are available, the atmosphere of the school, but more importantly, whether fellow pupils appear happy and if your child will equally be happy and benefit from attending your chosen sen schools.

A key fact and one that is often overlooked and that is the sheer importance of incorporating your child into the school hunt. By including your child and asking their opinion throughout the school application process, you can ensure that they are content and comfortable with the final decision; able to fully throw themselves into their education for maximum benefit.

We would love to hear from you and hear your first hand experience of choosing sen school and if you too have any vital tips for fellow parents undertaking this daunting task for themselves. Comment below and share your experience today.