The Education Act 1993 requires the Secretary of State to produce a Code of Practice to guide local authorities (LAs) and governing bodies of maintained schools on their responsibilities towards children with special educational needs.
This information is provided to parents during the assessment process to enable them to consider options so that in the event that their child requires a statement of special educational needs (statement) they will be well placed to express their views.
The LAs are required by the Code of Practice to secure the education of children with statements in mainstream schools or maintained special schools in compliance with parental preferences, provided the placement is appropriate to the child’s educational needs, whilst also compatible with the interests of other children already in the school and with efficient use of LAs’ resources.
As well as providing information about maintained schools, in order that parents may make representations, LAs are required by the Code to inform parents of the names of all independent schools and
non-maintained special schools registered with the Department for Education. Whilst parents can express a preference for a maintained school, they also have the right to make representation in favour of a school outside the maintained sector. Parents may obtain details of the level of fees charged from the schools concerned.
The LA must consider this representation; if after discussion they do agree with the parents’ representation, parents still have an opportunity to express a preference for a maintained school. In deciding the school that should be named in the statement, appropriateness to the child’s educational needs, compatibility with the efficient education of other children and compatibility with the efficient use of resources are criteria that the LA must apply.
Reviewed February 2021