All children are entitled to a mainstream education. If your child has a severe disability, they may need to go to a special school.

local offer logo Most children and young people with special educational needs or a disability will attend a mainstream school.

However, some children may benefit from a more specialist setting, either in a specialist resource base in a mainstream school, or a special school.

If a child or young person needs a more specialist setting, they will need to have an education, health and care plan (EHCP) or a statement of special educational need.

The assessment for the EHCP will include consideration of the most suitable Lambeth special school or resource base for them.

If a child or young person’s needs cannot be met in Lambeth, we may seek a placement in provision in another borough or in a school on the Secretary of State’s approved list.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Applying for a school place

You don’t need to apply for a primary or secondary school if your child has one of the following:

  • statement of special educational needs
  • education, health and care plan (ECHP).

You'll be sent a form by your monitoring officer asking you to state which schools you'd preferred your child goes to. You'll need to send this back to the special educational needs service using the contact details on the form.

When you do need to apply

You'll need to apply for a school place in the same way as other parents if your child:

  • doesn’t have a statement or EHCP
  • has a SEND support plan
  • is being assessed for special educational needs.

Your child may miss out on a place at your preferred school if you don’t apply and they don’t get an EHCP.

2. Choosing a school

When choosing a school for your child it is useful to know what each school is able to offer and what you can expect from the school.

Each maintained and academy school, in line with the Local Offer, will have details of how they support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities in their SEND Information Report.

You can use our Map of schools in Lambeth to find a school and a link to their website, where you can view their information report.

It is always advisable to contact any school or nursery you are thinking of sending your child to, to discuss how they will meet their needs.

Your child has an EHCP

You can tell us which school you’d like your child to go to when we create your child’s EHCP.

We will talk to your preferred schools and your nearest schools. Your child may not be able to go to the school you choose.

Download our guide to secondary school transfers for children with an ECHP or statement of SEN.

How we decide which school is right for your child

The right school for your child will depend on:

  • how suitable it is for your child’s age, ability and special educational need
  • whether the school has the resources and ability to teach your child and still teach other children
  • if there is a nearer school that is suitable for your child
  • the cost of the fees if your preferred school is an independent school

We will name the school we think is best for your child on their EHCP.

You can appeal if you disagree with the school named in your child’s EHCP.

Transport

You’ll have to pay for transport if you choose a school that is further away from your home than the nearest school that’s able to teach your child.

School transport for special educational needs and disability

Special schools

Special schools only take children who have a particular type of disability or educational need like blindness or a severe learning disability.

You can tell us which special school you’d like your child to go to when we create your child’s EHCP. We will name a special school on your child’s plan if we think it’s best for your child.

Independent special schools approved under Section 41

These are independent special schools providing specialist support.

The Department for Education publishes an approved list of independent special schools and specialist post-16 institutions, approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

This is often called the 'section 41 approved list.'