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Applying for a school place for a child with special needs

Applying for a school place

All children can start reception year at primary school from the September after their fourth birthday, by law children don't have to start school until the beginning of the term after their fifth birthday. 

All information about school admissions can be found on the Kirklees Primary School Admissions page (opens new page) for applying for a primary school place and on the Kirklees Secondary School Admissions page for applying for a secondary school place.

To apply to a college, you will need to go to that college’s website to apply. 

If your child has special needs but does not have an EHCP ( please see the Local Offer EHCP page - opens new page), the way that you apply for a school place is exactly the same as children without special needs.

It is a good idea to speak with the SENCO (please see the Local Offer SENCO page - opens new page) at the school that you are interested in applying for a place in, or visiting an open evening to discuss any concerns with the special needs department.

If you child has an EHCP then any request for a new or different school place has to be done through an annual review. At this review you can say which school (or schools if you want to consider a few different choices) you would like your child to go to. This is called “expressing a preference”. This preference must be made by the person who has parental responsibility for the child or young person.

The special needs team in the council (SENDACT - opens new page) will then write to the school or schools that you have said you would like a place at. This is called a consultation.

The school then has 15 days to let the council know if they can offer a place for your child/young person.

SENDACT will speak to you about the responses from the schools when you have asked for a few different schools.

It is important to know that SENDACT will consider which schools are your preference, but if it is decided that this is unsuitable then they may choose the school for your child.

The reasons they would not agree with the schools you have chosen is because they feel that the school is not suitable for the special needs of your child or if sending your child to that school would be consider to not be an efficient use of resources.

If a school says that they cannot offer your child a school place because they feel they cannot meet their needs, then SENDACT will consider this response and if they feel that the school CAN meet your child's needs with the right level of support then they can instruct them to offer the child a place.  

SENDACT have the authority to override a schools response and direct the school to take the child, however they would only do this if they feel this would be in the best interests of the child, and there was a way to address and meet the concerns raised by the school.

If SENDACT agree with the school response (if the school has said no) then they will speak with you about considering an alternative preference.  If no other preference is given by a parent or carer, then SENDACT would normally chose the nearest mainstream school as the preference.

You can appeal against any decision that the council make, information about how to do this will be sent to you when the council makes a decision. More information can be found on the Local Offer complaints and disagreements page.

You cannot apply for a specialist educational setting place through the normal school application process.

If you are requesting a place at a special schools , specialist provision, alternative provision or independent specialist setting then this has to be discussed at an EHCP review.  Please see this Local Offer page about Special Educational Settings (opens new page) for more information about the specialist settings available to young people in Kirklees.

SENDACT will then discuss this case with a specialist SEN Panel who will either agree or disagree to this request.

If SENDACT agree they will then write to the school or schools that you have said you would like a place at. This is called a consultation.

There are a finite number of places at specialist settings in Kirklees and these places are prioritised for those with the highest level of need.  If SENDACT do not agree to a specialist placement then they will look at what additional support and advice can be offered to the current setting to allow the setting to continue to support your child.  This may mean include outreach support from specialist provisions and training for staff.

The school then has 15 days to let the council know if they can offer a place for your child/young person.

SENDACT will speak to you about the responses from the schools when you have asked for a few different schools.

It is important to know that SENDACT will consider which schools are your preference, but if it is decided that this is unsuitable then they may choose the school for your child.

The reasons they would not agree with the schools you have chosen is because they feel that the school is not suitable for the special needs of your child or if sending your child to that school would be consider to not be an efficient use of resources.

If a school says that they cannot offer your child a school place because they feel they cannot meet their needs, then SENDACT will consider this response and if they feel that the school CAN meet your child's needs with the right level of support then they can instruct them to offer the child a place.  

SENDACT have the authority to override a schools response and direct the school to take the child, however they would only do this if they feel this would be in the best interests of the child, and there was a way to address and meet the concerns raised by the school.

If SENDACT agree with the school response (if the school has said no) then they will speak with you about considering an alternative preference.  If no other preference is given by a parent or carer, then SENDACT would normally chose the nearest mainstream school as the preference.

You can appeal against any decision that the council make, information about how to do this will be sent to you when the council makes a decision. More information can be found on the Local Offer complaints and disagreements page.

Last updated: 29/09/2020