As a special school admissions are controlled by the Local Authority (LA). Places cannot be offered directly by the school. The Headteacher can refuse a request if the pupil is outside of the operational brief or if all places are taken.
SCHOOL AGE PUPILS
Pupils of school age are placed at Arden Fields School when identified through an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan or a Statement of Special Educational Need. At a child’s annual review of their EHC Plan or Statement of Education Need the need for a place at a special school will be highlighted and then the Warwickshire Special Education Need Assessment and Reporting (SENDAR) team will be notified. SENDAR will advise the family to contact their local special school, which may be Arden Fields School, to arrange a visit. The following procedure is intended to provide guidance for normal practice. It may be necessary to deviate from this in order to accommodate the needs of an individual family. This is most likely if a pupil is transferring from another placement and needs to be placed quickly.
STAGE 1 - INFORMATION VISIT
Any parent who makes contact with the school is invited to visit. This visit is arranged and managed by a member of the admin team who will pass on all information on to the Headteacher. A record will be maintained of any such contact with families. If a request is received from the LA to place a child who has not yet visited the school then this visit will be arranged by a member of the admin team as soon as possible. Parents may or may not wish to bring their child with them to this meeting. They are given basic information about the work of the school and the curriculum offered. They are also taken to visit classes in the appropriate age range and the school’s specialist facilities. A school prospectus is provided for the parents to take away. Arden Fields staff are always happy to attend Annual Review meetings of pupils who may be referred to the school.
STAGE 2 - REFERRAL TO COUNTY ADMISSIONS PANEL
If through Statutory EHC Assessment or Annual Review (Statement or EHC) it is identified that there is a wish by parents to consider Specialist placement and there is evidence from the current school, Educational Psychologist and Specialist Teaching Service support consideration of change of placement then a referral to the County Admissions Panel is made by the pupil’s current school. The purpose of this panel is to:
- Consider the evidence for placement of children in line with agreed criteria to in county state funded specialist SEND provision
- Ensure the most effective and efficient use of the Local Authority High Needs Block funding.
- Ensure fair and equitable access to educational support for Warwickshire children and young people (5-16) having regard to the views and preferences of those children, young people and their parents and carers.
- Provide transparent and consistent evaluation of the evidence of high level and additional needs.
- Offer a multi-disciplinary decision making forum in which best outcomes for the child along with alternative options are agreed upon. Having regard to accurate specialist information.
- Ensure our most vulnerable learners with highly complex needs have an appropriate local educational placement.
STAGE 3 - PAPERWORK PASSED TO ARDEN FIELDS
If a pupil is deemed appropriate for consideration of a place at Arden Fields by the County Admissions Panel then the pupil’s paperwork will be sent to the school. Once a request for a place has been received from the County Admissions Panel, schools must aim to respond with a decision within 1 month, before the next panel meeting.
A representative from Arden Fields will contact the child’s current setting to arrange a visit, and arrange for the family and child to visit the provision.
The decision reached may be:
The County Panel Administrator will send out the confirmation letter to the family and current setting so the transition process can be agreed.
The provision must clearly state why they feel they are unable to provide a place for the child (against the agreed admissions criteria) The County Panel Administrator will send out the decision letter to the family.
Not yet able to reach decision:-
The setting must state why they are not able to make a decision at this point and what they are doing to be able to reach the decision.
STAGE 4 - PARENT DECISION
Following Stage 3, as soon as a parent / carer confirms that they would like to take the place at Arden Fields, an individual file is established with all available information about the child. This is then made available to all appropriate staff and interdisciplinary team members. Parents are contacted to arrange either an information visit or to discuss an admission date as appropriate. As much information as possible is collected through contact with the current placement or other professionals who know the child. For reception aged pupils; once a placement is agreed a home visit will be arranged to meet with the family and child to gather more individual information.
STAGE 5 - TRANSITION VISITS
Where possible a series of transition visits are arranged for the child to familiarise with the school and staff. Staff from previous settings are encouraged to visit with the child in order to transfer information. Photographs of key people and activities may be taken to go home with the child so that they can be further prepared for any change. Where children move into the area and need to start school quickly it may not be possible to arrange transition visits.
STAGE 6 - FIRST ATTENDANCE
All staff are made aware that a new pupil is starting at the school and class staff take responsibility for settling the child into school routines in an appropriate way. Class staff will discuss the needs of the pupil at the earliest possible class meeting. The teacher will liaise with interdisciplinary staff to ensure that an all-round picture of the child’s needs can be established as quickly as possible. Teaching staff are responsible for ensuring close liaison with parents is maintained over this period and any issues addressed as soon as possible.
If you require any further information on the process for admission to a Warwickshire Special School please contact the SENDAR team or visit