Preparing for primary school

Applications for school places are managed centrally by the Admissions team and follow a nationally agreed timescale. If your child has had extra support in their nursery, pre-school or early years setting but does not have an Education, Health, and Care Plan, or is undergoing assessment, you will need to follow the primary school admissions process

If your child has an Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plan, your SEN Casework Officer from the Statutory Assessment and Resources team (START) will contact you to explain the application process for your child.

Help with choosing a primary school

Choosing which school you would like your child to attend will be based on a range of factors individual to you and your child. Most children attend their catchment school. Information about schools, special schools, and specialist centres can be found in the Cambridgeshire Online Directory. The Parents' School Preference Adviser can help at this stage, with advice and information on choosing a school and how to apply.

All maintained schools (including academies) must publish an Information report outlining how they support children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Each year, all maintained schools and nurseries must produce an Information Report, which has to be on their website, describing the way they support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. Please visit individual school's websites for details.

We have written guidance for schools on the Information Report:

Starting school and planning for the move to reception

Children make the best start at school when arrangements and plans are made in advance so that they are familiar with their new environment and staff at the school are prepared to receive them. Parents and carers play a vital role in this process. It can be hard to hide your worries at this time but if you are positive about what is going to happen next your child will feel secure and this will help them make the change and settle into school.

All schools, including special schools, have a visiting programme for new starters which is usually held in the latter part of the summer term before your child is due to start school. Visits help children to get used to their new surroundings, find out where the toilets are and find out how things will be organised for them. Sometimes your child might need specific arrangements to be planned in order to help them make a successful transition into Reception class. This might involve organising a separate visit for your child instead of, or as well as, the general class visit. You can talk to the school or any of the people working with you about how to organise this.

What you can do

Arrange to meet with the school SENCo to discuss issues that are specific to your child. The school will want to know what works for your child so that they plan in advance and make arrangements that will help your child to settle. The school is responsible for making sure that they are ready to meet your child’s needs when they start.

Begin to prepare your child for their move into reception for example, talk to them positively about school, visit the school together, get used to the journey to school and read books about starting school. Having photographs of the staff, the classroom and the school at home can help you to prepare your child.

You can also put together information about your child to share with the school. This could be from your Family File if you are part of Early Support or something that your early years setting or childcare provider helps with such as an 'All about me' or a communication passport.

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The leaflet Visiting a new school identifies information you might want find out and some questions to ask.
Size: 130KBFile format: pdf

Who can help?

Any of the people working with you and your family can help you with advice and support.

The Parent Partnership Service providing Cambridgeshire's Special Educational Needs and Disability Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) offers impartial information and advice for families who have a child with special educational needs.