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Section: Education

Subsection: Early Years 0-5

Specialist Schools

Special school or mainstream school?

If your child has a statement of special educational needs, they will usually go to an ordinary school, play group or nursery. However, if their needs are quite complex then you can also ask for them to go to a special school. From September 2014 statements will be being replaced with individual Education and Health Care Plans (EHCP). If you do not currently have a statement in place – or will be applying for the new EHCP once they come in to affect – please see our Educational Terms Explained and Independent Advice.

In the EHCP – there will be a blank section for you to say what school you want your child to go to (either mainstream or special), or how you want them to be educated out of school. Your local council must agree to send your child to the school you want as long as:

  • The school you choose is suitable for your child’s age, ability, skills and needs
  • Your child meets any academic selection criteria the school has (although most state schools do not select pupils by academic ability)
  • Your child’s presence will not have a negative impact on the education of other children already at the school
  • Putting your child in the school will be an efficient use of the local authority’s resources
  • If there’s a suitable state school, the local council doesn’t have to send your child to a private school

When choosing a school for your child we would recommend visiting any potential schools and asking any questions that you think may be important. Visiting a number of schools will help you to get a good view of the provisions that may be available for your child – and which school may suit their needs best. If you are not sure what questions to ask the schools you choose to visit then this link will help you get started:

This document on the Portsmouth Local Offer lists all the special schools in Portsmouth, click here

An A-Z list of all schools in Portsmouth with catchment areas is also available here

Information on 2016/17 admissions for Portsmouth schools is published here.

The current Special Educational Needs Code of practice can be found here.

Related subsections

Education - Education Health and Care (EHC) Plans, Education - Post 16, Education - Primary Years, Education - Secondary years