Starting Primary School when Your Child has SEN

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If your child already has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) when they are starting primary school, your Local Authority’s Special Educational Needs department will allocate their place. You’ll have the opportunity to provide your views on which school you would like your child to attend. For further information on the provision available at local schools in your area, you can visit the Local Authority’s Local Officer.

If you aren’t happy with the school named in Section I of your child’s EHCP, once the final plan is issued, you will be provided with a right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Tribunal.

For legal advice and help to prepare your appeal, get in touch with our Education Solicitors and SEN Lawyers, so we can set out the options available to you for legal assistance with the appeal process.

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No Education, Health and Care Plan?

If your child doesn’t have an EHCP or is in the process of having their Education, Health and Care needs assessed, you will need to apply through the normal round of primary school admissions. You’ll have to apply directly to the relevant admission authority for a school place. If your child isn’t allocated a place at your chosen school, you may wish to appeal to the admission authority for a place as an alternative school.

Primary School Admissions Appeals can be difficult, as infant classes cannot contain more than 30 children to each qualified teacher. Our Education Solicitors can talk you through all the options for receiving advice in relation to a primary school admission appeal.


Each primary school will have a Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCO), who is a member of staff specifically allocated to deal with the special educational provision at that school. You should contact the SENDCO before your child starts at the school to arrange a transition plan, if necessary. Once your child starts school, it’s advisable to keep in contact with the SENDCO so that you can receive regular updates on your child’s progress.

If your child doesn’t have an EHCP when they are starting primary school, you can contact the SENDCO if you need any assistance with requesting an EHCP assessment.

You can also request an EHCP assessment yourself by writing directly to the Local Authority Special Educational Needs department. Depending on your Local Authority, there may be a form to fill out on their website. You should set out why you believe your child has or may have Special Educational Needs (SEN), and why you believe your child may require provision to support those special needs.

It may also be useful to ask the school to provide their views in support of your request, and it’s best to speak to school staff beforehand. Despite this, you should note that the school might not agree with your views regarding your child’s special needs. However, you don’t need the support of the school to request an Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment.

The Local Authority’s Special Educational Needs Department must respond to your request within six weeks of receiving your request. If you do not hear back from the Local Authority, contact one of our Education Solicitors and we can talk you through the various options available to you.

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