Choosing a school is a big decision for you and your child. To help you feel confident in making this decision, here are some tips.
To start with, as with all children, it’s important to do some research beforehand and ask the right questions when you visit the school.
Choosing a school – general things to check
There are some basic things that you will need to look at which would be the same for any child
- what Ofsted says about the school
- the school’s catchment area
- how long it takes to get to the school
If you are choosing a secondary school, this will be a decision you and your child make together.
Things to check for vision impaired students
There are some things that are important to check when choosing a school for a vision impaired child.
Use your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and check the support they need against what the school offers. If you don’t have one, you can make your own list of their needs.
Ask your nursery or primary school if they can recommend schools for your child. They might have a good idea which schools in the area can best support your child.
What to consider when choosing the right school for your child
Check these things:
- check if the school has experience supporting children with vision impairments – if they don’t, talk to them about how they will support your child, for example with materials for vision impaired children
- ask the school for their accessibility plan (every school should have one) – this makes sure the school doesn’t discriminate against pupils with a disability
- check out the school buildings and the campus – how easy will it be for your child to move around them?
- plan how your child will get to and from school
- figure out the school run, especially if you have other children that go to a different school
Questions to ask when you visit the school
- Can the school provide the right learning materials? For example, books in braille, tablets, screen readers etc. – your child has a legal right to have materials in formats accessible to them in order to access education equally
Help from staff:
- Is someone at the school qualified to administer medicines, for example, eye drops?
- At lunchtime, how will the school help your child get their food?
- >During playtime will there be someone to help your child when needed?
RSBC tip – don’t be shy, ask questions
Make a list of all your questions before you visit the school.When you finish your visit get a contact number in case you have more questions when you get home.
Suggested questions on friendships, attitudes etc:
- How does the school help children build friendships?
- How does the school make sure children are happy and thriving?
- How does the school encourage a positive attitude to vision impaired children? How do they deal with prejudice?
- How does the school tackle bullying if it happens?
Suggested questions on your child’s development:
- How can the school help your child become more independent?
- Will your child be included in sports and how will the teachers make sure this is done in an appropriate way?
- How will they include your child in extracurricular activities, for example field trips?
Remember to get a contact person:
- Who do you contact if there is a problem, for example you feel that your child is not included in the way they should be?
Getting more advice
You can get advice on education for your child from Independent Parental Special Education Advice (IPSEA).