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Checklist for Visiting Schools (SEND)

Visiting a school is the best way to determine whether that school is right for your child. It is an opportunity to get a sense of the school environment and get your questions answered. Below are some suggestions to help you get the most out of your visit.

Before arranging a visit

  • Ask the school for their School prospectus and read it (you may also want to read the school’s latest OFSTED report
  • Look at the school’s SEN Information published as a linked document to the Torbay Local Offer
  • Carefully think about and write a list of questions that you would like to ask the school.
  • When you would like to visit?  (it is best to visit during school hours)
  • Will you be taking your child?
  • Do you want someone else to accompany you?
  • Is the school easy to get to?  (think about transport arrangements)
  • Would you like to talk to the SENCO?
  • Do you want a guided tour?
  • Will you be able to meet staff who would be involved with your child?
  • Will you be able to talk to other parents who have children at the school?

Sample questions

  • What is the general structure & timetable for the school day?
  • How many children would be in your child’s class?
  • How many members of staff would be in your child’s class?
  • How do the school support children with Special Educational Needs?
  • How do the school feel about providing 1:1 support?
  • Do the school know anything about your child’s disability / learning needs?
  • Have the school ever taught any other children with the same disability / learning needs?
  • Are all areas of the school accessible to your child?  (i.e. are adaptations required)
  • How will your child be supported outside lesson time?
  • How do the school deal with difficult behaviour?
  • How is bullying dealt with at the school?
  • How does the school help children mix and make friends?
  • What extra activities does the school provide at lunchtime and after school?
  • What will you have to provide for your child?  (i.e. uniform; stationary; money for trips, events, extra activities, etc.)
  • How does the school communicate with parents?
  • When can parents talk to their child’s teacher?
  • What arrangements are there for parents to get involved with the school?
  • What opportunities are there to meet other parents? (i.e. P.T.A., organised events, etc.)

After the visit

Discuss your thoughts and feelings about the school with someone else:

  • Did you feel welcomed at the school?
  • Did the children seem happy, friendly and helpful?
  • Do you think your child would be happy at that school?
  • Did the school answer all your questions?
  • Have you got any other questions that you would like to ask the school?
  • Would the school be able to meet your child’s needs?