Step 3: Collect information about possible school choices

State schools - Check the local authority guides first. Then ask all the schools you are interested in, for their information. If a school is in another education authority's area, your own local authority should be able to tell you how to contact them. It should also tell you if a school received more applications than it had places last year. Schools must have a guide too - often called the school prospectus - to give to interested parents. By law this must include information about admission of children with special educational needs and disabilities. Check schools finder for profiles on all state and independent schools in England. These include tables of pupils' achievement at each individual school. If you don't have Internet access or the profile is missing, ask the school for a hard copy of the information.

Independent schools - you can find out more about individual schools at the Independent Schools Directory UK. Then you should contact the individual school.

General Policies

Each state school profile also contains the following and most independent schools do observe similar good practice - the school's successes, details of extra-curricular activities, health and safety information. You can also study other documents available from the school. There must be: Home-School Agreement, Inspectors' (OFSTED) Reports written on the school, Accessibility Plan, Sex Education Policy, Race Equality Policy, Performance (league) Tables, Work schemes and syllabuses, Religious Education Syllabus.

Specific policies that may affect your child who stammers

Special Educational Needs Policy

This explains how the school carries out the guidance of the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (SEN Code), in which the Government states how resources can be allocated to meet a child's individual need. Occasionally the SEN policy may actually specify that support must be given for communication needs as the Government is committed to training school staff in these, including stammering. If you read that in an SEN policy it will be a good sign of the school's commitment to the speech needs of your child.

Enrichment policy

Schools are expected to meet the individual needs of all pupils, including those who are identified as gifted and/or talented. A separate policy explaining this provision shows that there is a real effort to meet all individual needs.

Behaviour Policy

The behaviour policy should mention bullying and include racial and sexual harassment. Most schools will have a separate anti-bullying policy and that is to be preferred as it indicates that bullying is considered specifically to be a serious issue.

Support for your child's stammer

While it is helpful if your selected schools have some experience or knowledge of stammering, you do not need to restrict your choice of school in any way when your child stammers. All teachers (and home educators) can learn the very simple strategies to support your child. Speech and language therapists often provide information or training for staff and specific strategies of support for class teachers are available at BSA:Education.

Make a list of the schools that you are considering

List the good points for each school and list any not-so-good points. Are there any points you need to look out for when you visit the school? Are there any questions you would like to ask? Write them down now.

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