Accessing education

Choosing a school for your child

Deciding on which school your child should attend can be a concern. To support you we have produced a guide to choosing a school for your child with SEND (PDF, 228KB). Further information on applying for a school place in Cheshire East.

Getting the most out of meetings

Throughout your child's time in school there will be times when you attend meetings. We have produced a guide to getting the most out of meetings (PDF, 233KB) to help you plan for those meetings.

Moving to Cheshire East when your child has  SEND

All Cheshire East schools have statutory duties to support children with  SEND and are able to do so.The school will assess your child and may then decide to put support in place such as  SEN Support to meet their needs. If the school does not agree that your child has special needs or is of the opinion that they do not need additional support, ask to meet with the head teacher/Special Educational Needs Co-coordinator (SENCO) to discuss your concerns.

The majority of children with  SEND are supported within mainstream school. A small number of children with more complex needs are supported via an Education Health and Plan.

If you are moving into Cheshire East tt will be extremely useful for you to be able to provide up to date reports (within the last 18 months, or two years at the most) from any professionals who have been involved with your child’s education or special educational needs. Other reports can also be useful, for example medical reports from a consultant  or pediatrician. We have produced a guide to moving to Cheshire East when your child has send (PDF, 256KB). There is more information available on  SEND in Cheshire East on the Cheshire East Special Educational Needs and Disability page.

Transport to school for a child with  SEND

Most children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND) with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)  do not require special travel arrangements. Through the  EHCP process, consideration will be given in the first instance to a child’s ability to walk to school, to travel on a public bus or rail service or a contract bus service or to be taken to school by their parents. 

When assessing a child or young person’s complex special needs, the Local Authority will decide whether the child/young person would be able to comply with the distance criteria. If the advice indicates that a child/young person would be unable to fulfil this requirement, then transport will be provided free of charge.

Decisions are evidence based and made following an individual assessment of need. The Local Authority will look at factors such as the needs of the child, the nature of the route to school and the suitability of existing transport options.Decisions are evidence based and made following an individual assessment of need. The Local Authority will look at factors such as the needs of the child, the nature of the route to school and the suitability of existing transport options.

The criteria is the child cannot reasonably be expected to walk to school because of their mobility problems or because of associated health and safety concerns related to their  SEN or disability.

Students with complex special needs who continue their education after the age of 16 should check their eligibility for travel assistance in the Post 16 Travel Policy Statement. 

Further details on school transport for pupils with complex special needs and our guide to transport to school for a child with send (PDF, 326KB)

Elective home education

Under section 7 of the Education Act 1996, parents have the right to educate children, including children with SEN , at home. Home education must be suitable to the child’s age, ability, aptitude and SEN . Local authorities should work in partnership with, and support parents to ensure that the SEN of these children are met

When parent or carer chooses to educate their child at home, this is known as 'Elective Home Education” (EHE)

Key things to be aware of in relation to electively educating a child with  SEND

  • the Local Authority (LA) does not have to provide education, or secure the special educational provision outlined in an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan for a child who is electively home educated, provided they are satisfied that the arrangements which have made are suitable
  • the Local Authority retains responsibility for maintaining the  EHCP e.g. carrying out annual reviews.  
  • the commissioning body is still responsible for any health care provision detailed in an EHCP , for example speech and language therapy; although you can make your own alternative arrangements for health provision too.

Further details on elective home education and our guide to elective home education (PDF, 308KB).

Exclusion from school

When a child is excluded from school it means that they are not allowed in school; this can be either a fixed term exclusion or a permanent exclusion. Schools have to, by law, provide access to full time education for all children. If you are asked to keep your child at home because the school cannot manage their behaviour or special needs (or during an inspection), rather than for disciplinary reasons, it is an unofficial exclusion and therefore unlawful.

If you have concerns about your child being sent home, discuss these with the school so that you can work together to resolve the issues.

Where a child has SEND , schools have a responsibility to ensure necessary provision and reasonable adjustments are made to support your child’s needs in order to try and prevent exclusion. 

Types of exclusion

Fixed term exclusions

With a fixed term exclusion, your child is excluded for a specific number of days. Added together those days should not be more than 45 in a school year; 45 days  FTEs will mean an automatic permanent exclusion.The child remains on the school roll during a fixed term exclusion.

Most fixed term exclusions are for short periods of time (usually less than 5 days) so the child does not miss too much school work.  For the first five days of an exclusion the school should set and mark work to be done at home. From the sixth day, the school has a duty to arrange suitable, full-time education at an alternative venue during the school term. 

Permanent exclusion

If your child is permanently excluded it means that they will not be able to return to their school unless the headteacher's decision is reversed, either by a committee of school governors or an independent appeal panel. As with fixed term exclusions, for the first five days the school should set and mark work to be completed at home. From the sixth day the Local Authority has a duty to arrange suitable, full-time alternative education during the school term.

The head teacher should, as far as possible, avoid permanently excluding any pupil with an EHC plan (Department for Education Exclusions Statutory Guidance, section 23).

If the school feel that they can no longer meet the child’s needs then an emergency review of your child’s  EHCP should be called to discuss finding a new placement; this will avoid a permanent exclusion of a child with additional needs and an EHCP .

Further information on exclusion

Contact us

If you need advice or support from the CEIAS complete the contact CEIAS online form. It will take 5 minutes to complete and one of our officers will contact you within 5 working days.

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Telephone: 0300 123 5166   (Monday - Thursday 9.30am - 4:30pm), (Friday 9.30am - 4:00pm)