Securing a place for your child at one of our schools involves a three-way conversation between parents, the school and your local authority.  It can be a little confusing, so we hope this step-by-step guide helps you navigate the process.

Ultimately, whether your child comes to one of our schools depends on:

  • Whether you and your child like it.
  • Whether your local authority agrees that a special school is best for your child, and will fund a place.
  • Whether the school has the space and resources to meet your child’s individual needs.

The process

Step 1: Talk to your local authority’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) team 

You should be able to find contact details on the education section of your council’s website. The SEND Team will assess your child and provide you with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) – previously known as ‘Statements’. The EHCP will indicate whether or not the local authority believes that your child will benefit from being in a special school.

Step 2: Arrange an informal visit to the school to see what we can offer your child

If the local authority concludes that your child will benefit from being in a special school, you should arrange to visit schools that may be able to support your child.

You do not need to bring your child on this initial visit; it’s just an opportunity for you to see the school in practice and ask any questions you may have.

Step 3: Inform the local authority of your preferred choice of school

Assuming the local authority believes your child should attend a special school, you should tell the SEND Team that you interested in being referred to Whitefield School or Joseph Clarke School.

If you live outside of Waltham Forest, your local authority may suggest another, more local school. If the local authority agrees to one of our schools as an option, they will send the school a referral letter and reports for their consideration.

Step 4: The school formally assesses the referral

At this stage, the school will match all incoming referrals in terms of age, educational needs and resource requirements to the places that they have available and will treat children who are or have been 'Looked After' as a matter of priority.

Step 5: Visit with your child

If on paper it looks as if one of our schools can meet your child’s needs, you and your child will to visit the school. This face-to-face meeting is an important opportunity to find out more about your child’s needs and ensure the school can fully meet them.

Step 6: The school tells your local authority if they think they are right for you and your child

If the school has the spaces and the right resources, they will inform the local authority.  If they don't have a space, they’ll ask if you would like to be added to their waiting list.

Step 7: Your local authority formally lets you know whether your child has a place at Whone of our schools

You will hear from your local authority first, not from the school.

Step 8: The school sends you a letter

If you’ve been offered a place by the local authority, the school will write to you to let you know about start dates and other arrangements.

Useful Links

If you live in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, you can find information about how the council handles special educational needs and disability provision, including school admissions here:

London Borough of Waltham Forest SEND AdmissionsIf you do not live in Waltham Forest you will need to talk to your own local authority.

Admissions Contacts