Admissions process for special schools and specialist colleges

How admissions decisions are made

For maintained complex needs special schools in Norfolk

As demand for complex needs special school places for children and young people with a significant learning disability is so high, we want the allocation process for places to be as fair as possible. We follow an admissions process in Norfolk, which is often known as the panel process, panel meeting or just ‘panel’.

For maintained special schools in Norfolk

Demand for special school places for children and young people with a specific special educational need is also high, and we want the allocation process for places to be fair. We will consider your request at our special educational needs and guidance group (SENPAG). The group will consider whether the school is appropriate and other school options. A referral will then be sent to the headteacher of the school concerned.

We then follow the same admissions process for maintained complex needs special schools, known as the panel process, panel meeting or just 'panel'. 

For independent and non-maintained schools and colleges

We will consider your request at our special educational needs and guidance group (SENPAG). The group will consider whether the school is appropriate and other school options. A referral will then be sent to the school. We will consult with the school.

The school should respond to us within 15 days after we have consulted with them. However, the amount of time can vary as these schools have their own independent admission procedures to follow. We should receive either an offer of a place with the costs, or reasons why an offer is not being made from the school. We will discuss the offer. We will consider:

  • If we believe the school can meet need
  • If there is another school that can meet need at a lower cost

A decision will be made but it is not based on funding the child’s schooling. It is based on where is most cost effective to do so.

For special schools and specialist colleges in another county

If you have requested a place at a special school or specialist college in another local authority, we need to follow their local admissions arrangements. Your EHCP coordinator will send the request to the Norfolk SEN placements team. The team will pass information to the school concerned and its local authority. They should respond within 15 days.  

For maintained mainstream schools

If you have requested a place at a maintained mainstream school, the school should respond within 15 days after receiving our paperwork. They will let us know whether they can meet your child’s needs or not.

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