Finding a space for your child at a Whitefield Academy school involves a three-way conversation between you, the school and your local authority. It can be a little confusing, so we hope this short guide helps.
Ultimately whether your child comes here depends on:
- Whether you and your child like it here.
- Whether your local authority agrees that a special school is best for your child, and will fund a place here.
- Whether the school has the space and resources to meet your child’s individual needs.
- Where you live: We tend to prioritise children who live in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.
How it works
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 Web site. These are the people who will assess your child’s and will provide you with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) - these have replaced the old-style ‘Statements’.
Step 2. Arrange an informal look around. You’ll probably be interested in visiting Whitefield or Joseph Clarke to see what it’s all about.
- To arrange a look around Whitefield Schools, phone Ursula Austin on 020 8531 3426.
- To arrange a look around Joseph Clarke School call Sarah Bent on 020 8523 4833
We'll ask you a bit about your child and their particular needs, whether your child already has a Statement or EHCP – or whether he or she is currently being assessed. This will let us tailor your visit to make sure we show you the parts of the school that are most likely to be of interest. You don’t have to bring your child on this initial visit, it’s just an informal way for you to get your questions answered and see what we do.
Step 3. Waiting for the local authority referral
If you like what you see, you can tell the local authority SEN team that you are interested in being referred to Whitefield Schools, or Joseph Clarke School. However then you have to wait for your child’s Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP ). This will tell you whether the local authority believes that your child will benefit from being in a special school. If so, they may agree to your child coming here, or if you live outside of Waltham Forest, they may suggest another, more local school. If they do agree to Whitefield as an option, they will send us a referral letter and papers for us to consider.
Rarely, the local authority will arrange a short ‘assessment placement’ with us, to help them write the EHC – but this only happens in a handful of cases a year.
Step 4. The School formally assesses the referral. At this stage Whitefield matches all incoming referrals in terms of age, educational needs and resource requirements to the places that we 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 we can meet your child’s needs - we’ll invite you and your child for a visit to the school. This face-to-face meeting is an important opportunity to find out more about your child’s needs, meet them in person and to ensure that school and potential pupil are a good fit.
Step 6. The School tells your local authority if we think we are right for you and your child. If we have the spaces and the right resources, we’ll let them know. If we don't have a space we'll let them know that too and ask if they would like to be told when a space becomes available.
Step 7. Your local authority formally lets you know whether your child has a place at Whitefield Academy Trust . You hear from your local authority first, not from us.
Step 8. The School sends you a letter. If you’ve been offered a place by the local authority we'll let you know about start dates and other arrangements.
If you live in London Borough of Waltham Forest, you can find information about how the council handles special educational needs and disability provision, including school admissions here:
If you do not live in Waltham Forest you will need to talk to your own local authority.