Choosing a nursery, school or college

What to look for when considering a new nursery, school or college.

On this page

Indoors:

  • 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?

Outdoors:

  • 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?

Support:

  • 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.

Staff:

  • 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?

Here to help

If you’ve got more questions about education support, please call our advice line or email us

0800 781 1444