As a special school admissions are controlled by the Local Authority (LA). Places cannot be offered directly by the school. The Headteacher can refuse a request if the pupil is outside of the operational brief or if all places are taken.
Pre-school children are offered places at Welcombe Hills following a recommendation from the Early Years placement panel to SEN Casework. It is recognised that all staff involved in the education and assessment of the pupils at this stage need to have access to available information and to meet with the child and their parents in order that the subsequent work can be approached in a spirit of partnership.
In order to capitalise on the professional expertise of the whole interdisciplinary team their involvement is seen as integral to the work of the school from the earliest stages. Every effort is made to provide an integrated service to the children and their families while acknowledging the different professional protocols in place.
The following procedure is intended to provide guidance for normal practice. It may be necessary to deviate from this in order to accommodate the needs of an individual family. This is most likely if a pupil is transferring from another placement and needs to be placed quickly.
STAGE 1 - INFORMATION VISIT
Any parent who makes contact with the school is invited to visit. This visit is arranged and managed by the Early Years Leader who is responsible for maintainng a record of any such contact with families. If a request is received from the LA to place a child who has not yet visited the school then this visit will be arranged by the Early Years Leader as soon as possible. Parents may or may not wish to bring their child with them to this meeting. They are given basic information about the work of the school.
STAGE 2 - PLACEMENT REQUEST
When a placement request is received from the LA an individual file is established with all available information about the child. This is then made available to staff and interdisciplinary team members. Parents are contacted to arrange either an information visit or an admission as appropriate. The request form is returned to the LA. Once a placement is agreed a home visit will be arranged to meet with the family and child to gather more individual information.
STAGE 3 - FIRST ATTENDANCE
A parent is encouraged to attend with their child to enable the smooth transition into the specialist nursery. The length of time for this to continue is likely to be different for each family and should be led by the parents wishes, but there is an expectation that a parent or carer will attend for the first four sessions.
STAGE 4 - REVIEW MEETING
A meeting is arranged for parents and professionals within approximately 6 weeks of admission. This takes the form of a general discussion of the first few weeks’ attended. The meeting then agrees priorities for the child in the next six months. Summary notes of the meeting are taken and circulated.
SCHOOL AGE PUPILS
Pupils of school age are placed at Welcombe Hills School when identified through an Education Health and Care (EHC) Plan or a Statement of Special Educational Need. At a child’s annual review of their EHC Plan or Statement of Education Need the need for a place at a special school will be highlighted and then the Warwickshire Special Education Need Assessment and Reporting (SENDAR) team will be notified. SENDAR will advise the family to contact their local special school, which may be Welcombe Hills School, to arrange a visit. The following procedure is intended to provide guidance for normal practice. It may be necessary to deviate from this in order to accommodate the needs of an individual family. This is most likely if a pupil is transferring from another placement and needs to be placed quickly.
STAGE 1 - INFORMATION VISIT
Any parent who makes contact with the school is invited to visit. This visit is arranged and managed by a member of the admin team who will pass on all information on to the Headteacher. A record will be maintained of any such contact with families. If a request is received from the LA to place a child who has not yet visited the school then this visit will be arranged by a member of the admin team as soon as possible. Parents may or may not wish to bring their child with them to this meeting. They are given basic information about the work of the school and the curriculum offered. They are also taken to visit classes in the appropriate age range and the school’s specialist facilities. A school prospectus is provided for the parents to take away. Welcombe Hills staff are always happy to attend Annual Review meetings of pupils who may be referred to the school.
STAGE 2 - REFERRAL TO COUNTY ADMISSIONS PANEL
If through Statutory EHC Assessment or Annual Review (Statement or EHC) it is identified that there is a wish by parents to consider Specialist placement and there is evidence from the current school, Educational Psychologist and Specialist Teaching Service support consideration of change of placement then a referral to the County Admissions Panel is made by the pupil’s current school. The purpose of this panel is to:
- Consider the evidence for placement of children in line with agreed criteria to in county state funded specialist SEND provision
- Ensure the most effective and efficient use of the Local Authority High Needs Block funding.
- Ensure fair and equitable access to educational support for Warwickshire children and young people (5-16) having regard to the views and preferences of those children, young people and their parents and carers.
- Provide transparent and consistent evaluation of the evidence of high level and additional needs.
- Offer a multi-disciplinary decision making forum in which best outcomes for the child along with alternative options are agreed upon. Having regard to accurate specialist information.
- Ensure our most vulnerable learners with highly complex needs have an appropriate local educational placement.
STAGE 3 - PAPERWORK PASSED TO WELCOMBE HILLS
If a pupil is deemed appropriate for consideration of a place at Welcombe Hills by the County Admissions Panel then the pupil’s paperwork will be sent to the school. Once a request for a place has been received from the County Admissions Panel, schools must aim to respond with a decision within 1 month, before the next panel meeting.
A representative from Welcombe Hills will contact the child’s current setting to arrange a visit, and arrange for the family and child to visit the provision.
The decision reached may be:
The County Panel Administrator will send out the confirmation letter to the family and current setting so the transition process can be agreed.
The provision must clearly state why they feel they are unable to provide a place for the child (against the agreed admissions criteria) The County Panel Administrator will send out the decision letter to the family.
Not yet able to reach decision:-
The setting must state why they are not able to make a decision at this point and what they are doing to be able to reach the decision.
STAGE 4 - PARENT DECISION
Following Stage 3, as soon as a parent / carer confirms that they would like to take the place at Welcombe Hills, an individual file is established with all available information about the child. This is then made available to all appropriate staff and interdisciplinary team members. Parents are contacted to arrange either an information visit or to discuss an admission date as appropriate. As much information as possible is collected through contact with the current placement or other professionals who know the child. For reception aged pupils; once a placement is agreed a home visit will be arranged to meet with the family and child to gather more individual information.
STAGE 5 - TRANSITION VISITS
Where possible a series of transition visits are arranged for the child to familiarise with the school and staff. Staff from previous settings are encouraged to visit with the child in order to transfer information. Photographs of key people and activities may be taken to go home with the child so that they can be further prepared for any change. Where children move into the area and need to start school quickly it may not be possible to arrange transition visits.
STAGE 6 - FIRST ATTENDANCE
All staff are made aware that a new pupil is starting at the school and class staff take responsibility for settling the child into school routines in an appropriate way. Class staff will discuss the needs of the pupil at the earliest possible class meeting. The teacher will liaise with interdisciplinary staff to ensure that an all-round picture of the child’s needs can be established as quickly as possible. The school nurse and therapy staff will arrange to see the pupil and parents at the earliest opportunity. Teaching staff are responsible for ensuring close liaison with parents is maintained over this period and any issues addressed as soon as possible.
If you would like your child to attend our school, please contact the school office and a member of the admin team will be more than happy to speak to you.
If you require any further information on the process for admission to a Warwickshire Special School please contact the SENDAR team or visit