Admissions process for special schools and specialist colleges

Panel admissions process for maintained special schools and academies

We hold large admissions meetings to discuss all requests for maintained special schools and academies.

Meetings for admissions to complex needs special schools for children and young people with a significant learning disability are held every term. Meetings for admissions to special schools for children and young people with a specific special educational need are held every half term.

This is the most efficient way to manage the number and range of requests that we receive. We will tell you the date your request will be discussed.

The people at the admissions meeting

A small group of people will get together at the meeting:

  • Headteachers and senior school leaders 
  • Special educational needs managers and senior special educational advisers from the local authority
  • Educational psychologists
  • A representative from the looked after children team at the local authority
  • There may be additional professionals such as therapists     

This small group of people is called a panel. Therefore, it is known as the panel process, panel meeting or just ‘panel’. We (the local authority) will lead the meeting.

The discussion at the admissions meeting

The panel will discuss all admissions requests for the relevant school that have been received since the last meeting. If there are vacancies, the panel will also discuss all the cases which have remained on the agenda. 

We will have an in-depth discussion about your child to decide if the school can meet their needs. Everyone will decide together, using the paperwork that has already been prepared and circulated.

We will consider:

  • Whether the school you requested is suitable
  • If the school is not suitable, the reasons why
  • If the school is suitable, can they offer a place now? 
  • If the school is suitable but currently full, whether there will be a place in the near future?
  • Whether your request should be reconsidered at the next meeting, if a vacancy becomes available

Other children in Norfolk who have requested special school places will also be discussed. We always want to find a school place that will best meet a child’s needs.

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