Admissions

Students at Polden Bower all have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP). These are assessment documents that guide the education system in how best to meet the needs of the individual child/young person.

Before an EHCP is considered, there are a number of steps which will have been put in place by your child’s school or nursery in consultation with you, EHCP's can also be instigated by health and social care professionals alongside parents and carers. 

There are a number of steps that schools and nurseries can put in place to support your child and it should be noted that remaining in mainstream is beneficial for the vast majority of children. However for a very small percentage of school aged children (approximately 2%) the experience of the school’s organisation, curriculum and the size of mainstream school classes does not support their learning and development, and they are unable to thrive in this environment.

The agreement to consider a special school placement should be part of this process, and involve, family, child where possible, health and education professionals.

For children and young people who are in the process of receiving an EHCP the county council will allocate a Reviewing Officer. It is often the reviewing officer who makes the approach to the school by preparing documents and information on which the school can make their decision about offering a place.

The process for the school is outlined below:

Admissions Process
Admissions Process

What happens if we are over- subscribed:

  • Somerset County Council commission places within each of our schools. This figure can change each year, but remains within an agreed margin.
  • If we have already achieved the agreed place number and other children/young people are looking for places, we are able to agree places in negotiation with the county council – casework panel. The strongest reason to cap numbers within our schools would be the ability to keep every child safe, given the constraints of the buildings or the make-up of the group of students. Obviously the main benefit of being in a special school is specialist support and intervention, reduced class size and increased access to teachers and specialist teaching assistants. If this is compromised then we may defer accepting your child until a time when other children leave and we have capacity to agree the place. For example: we may be asked to consider your child for a place in May but have no places available until September. In this case we may agree to put support into the current school until a place is available within the school.

We assess every request based on:

  1. Whether your child would have a friendship group at school – are there other children who are learning in the same way?
  2. Whether your child will be safe within our school
  3. Whether your child is developing typically in terms of academic attainment
  4. Sometimes it may be that your child could remain in their local school with their friends but receive support from our Outreach Team

Initial Enquiry

Please contact the school if you wish to make an enquiry or ask any questions about Polden Bower School or to arrange a visit if you think we might be the right school for your child or young person. 

Transition

Once your child has been allocated a place at Polden Bower School by the Local Authority, we will begin the transition process for your child. 

For children in Reception, a SEP (School Entry Planning) meeting will be held. These meetings form a key part of the planning process for starting school. Your lead professional will organise this and arrange a suitable date and time. 

For older children, we may hold a transition meeting, if for example, there are a number of professionals involved with your child, this will ensure all the relevant and important information is shared with key staff at Polden Bower School. 

Visit to current setting

Staff from the transition team at Polden Bower may make a visit to see your child in their current setting, this could be pre-school, nursery or school. If this is not possible, they may arrange a home visit. These visits enable us to collect all relevant information about how your child learns, interacts and gain a better understanding of their needs. 

Visits to Polden Bower 

We hold coffee mornings for new parents and carers and we strongly encourage you to attend one of these events. These ensure that you have the opportunity to see the school and facilities, meet key staff and ask any questions. These events also enable you to meet other parents and carers. 

Transport 

Some children and young people who attend Polden Bower School are entitled to transport between home and school. This is in accordance with Somerset County Council Transport Policy. This may involve specialist transport arrangements for some children. Please see the link below for more information:

Somerset County Council Transport

Please see Somerset County Council website for more information about the Local Offer:

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities provision (somerset.gov.uk)

Admissions Policy