Choosing a nursery, school or college
- What’s the general layout of the nursery/school/college? Is it accessible? Do the classrooms have controllable lighting i.e. dimmer switches or blinds?
- Is it well signposted? Are toilets, classrooms and other areas your child will spend a lot of time in accessible and easy to find?
- What are the classrooms like? Are they well organised and uncluttered? Is any information on the walls, or the children’s work, displayed at a height that’s easy to read?
- Will your child have their own seat or position in every class, if necessary?
- How many children or young people are in each class?
- Will your child be able to manage moving from one classroom to another? Are all parts of the building accessible?
- How simple is it for them to get to the dining room? Can they easily move around it? If there’s a choice of food, how clear is this to your child? This may not apply if they’re taking in a packed lunch.
- What about assemblies or other indoor school activities? Your child’s seating and visual needs may need to be discussed in advance before choosing that particular nursery/school/college.
- Can the school and staff adapt to meet your child’s needs in all subjects of the curriculum and other educational areas?
- Is the outdoor space uncluttered and well looked after? Is it one open space or several different areas your child will need to navigate?
- How do all the children collect and put away sports/play/educational equipment?
- Do they have a buddy system? Is it necessary at this school/college?
- Are there any potential dangers, such as a main road nearby?
- Are outdoor spaces well supervised during break/home times?
- How are children/young people with special education needs and disabilities (SEND) supported in class? Are they included and involved in lessons?
- If your child needs in-class support, will they have to share support staff with other children/young people?
- Is the nursery/school/college well equipped i.e. books, computers, sports equipment that are accessible for your child? If not, could they be easily adapted?
- Are they willing to acquire specialist equipment if necessary? This could be negotiated with a specialist visiting teacher so your child’s educational needs are met.
- Is there room for your child to store any additional equipment? Remember, their needs may change as they get older and move through different stages of their education.
- Do the staff/teachers at the nursery/school/college have experience of teaching children with similar SEND? Have they supported children/young people with a vision impairment before?
- What training have they had in SEND, particularly in vision impairment?
- Are staff happy to undergo training to better understand your child’s needs, if necessary?
- Will your child get 1:1 work if they need it?
Approach to learning and education:
- How are SEND children/young people actually taught? Are they withdrawn from lessons or helped in the classroom by support staff?
- How will they involve you in your child’s education, from homework to review meetings?
- How can you contact individual teachers or support staff if you need to? Will you be given one named contact at the nursery/school/college?