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Finding Special Schools

esthermb1996 Member Posts: 18 Courageous
i have updated a new blog documenting our search for a special school since being told my daughter cannot stay at her current nursery.

Please check it out and feel free to give any advice if you can! 


  • atlas46
    atlas46 Member Posts: 826 Pioneering
    Hi @esthermb1996

    I have read your blog and found it very moving.

    I am tagging @Richard_Scope, as he is knowledgeable about CP and hope he can point you in the right direction.

    Best wishes

  • esthermb1996
    esthermb1996 Member Posts: 18 Courageous
    @atlas46 thanks so much, any help would be appreciated! x
  • Richard_Scope
    Richard_Scope Posts: 3,106

    Scope community team

    edited June 2019
    Hi @esthermb1996, apologies for the length of my reply. 

    Your child may be entitled to free early education or childcare. You can access further information about local preschool provision and funding arrangements from your local council. Information is available on the council website or via your local children’s centre. Children’s centres and many community early years services offer a range of ‘stay and play’ sessions where your child can meet and play with other children. You will be able to stay with your child for the session and there will be staff trained in early language development, special needs, equalities and family support, so it is a good place to start the process of choosing a preschool that is right for your child.  You will need to consider the best option, or combination of options, for your child and family. Children under five can attend:
    • home-based childcare (accredited childminder)
    • daycare provided by a private, independent or voluntary provider 
    • a nursery or playgroup provided by a private, independent or voluntary provider 
    • a nursery class in a local primary school run by the local authority
    • a nursery school run by the local authority
    All early years providers, including childminders, will be registered and inspected by Ofsted. This ensures that everyone working with children under five has completed training and meets the statutory requirements in the Early Years Foundation Stage. For more information visit You can find copies of Ofsted reports for all early years provision at These reports can be useful when considering the different types and the quality of preschool provision. The best way of finding the right preschool for you and your child is to arrange a visit when the setting is open. Here are some important things to consider when you visit the preschool for the first time:

    • How many children are in the setting and how are they grouped and organised?
    • Would your child have access to resources and staffing appropriate for their needs? 
    • Would they be encouraged to play with their peers? • Is the environment bright, welcoming and child-friendly? 
    • Look to see how the staff are interacting, playing and talking with the children. 
    • How do the children respond to the adults? Are they playing happily, confidently and independently as they move around?   
    • Does the setting promote a rights-based and inclusive approach? 

    You would expect to see a role play area, book corner, water and multi-sensory play, and there should be opportunities and space for children to enjoy both indoor and outdoor play. You might want to ask the following questions:
    • What experience have you had of working with children with additional needs, or specifically cerebral palsy?
    • How do you work in partnership with parent carers?
    • How are different communities represented in the setting?
    • Do the children have a say and influence on school practices?
    • What facilities/arrangements do you have in place to support communication and language/personal care/accessibility?
    • How do you work in partnership with health visitors, speech and language therapists and family support workers? 

    Every early years setting is required by law to meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010. This means that the setting must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to meet the needs of your child. Every setting is required by law to have a special education/equal opportunities policy and this should be available for you to read on request. Many early years settings have equality named coordinators (ENCOs) in place who work with the setting’s special educational needs coordinator (SENCO) to support additional needs and other equalities needs for all the children. You may want to have a chat with these staff members on your visit to the early years setting to see how your child will be supported. You can find lots of information about enjoying early education on the Foundation Years website, You will also find up-to-date information about the changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage and there are parent forums if you have questions. Once you have found the right early years setting for your child, you will need to discuss with the nursery manager, or your key person, how you will work together to support your child to settle. Make a list of all the information the setting will need to know about your child.
    Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead

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