Finding out about local schools

How do I find out about the schools in my area?

Information about all state schools in your area will be available on your local council's website. You can also use the government's 'schools finder' website to find information about any school in the country, or the schools in any particular local authority(i).

Once you have indentified which schools are in your area, it is a good idea to look at their individual websites for information about their facilities and admissions procedures. You can make enquiries about which school would best meet the child's needs by browsing the websites, attending school open days, asking to visit the school, making enquiries of the local education authority, reading Ofsted reports, and speaking to parents or carers whose children have attended these schools.

You can ask each school for its prospectus, which has to include information about the admission of children with special educational needs and disabilities. You may also want to read the school's policies on matters like behaviour, discipline, bullying, home-school agreements, inclusion and diversity.

Most state schools hold open days/evenings for prospective students and their families early in the autumn term (most private and grammar schools hold their open days/evenings late in the summer term). This is a good opportunity to look around the school and talk to staff or students. If possible it is often useful to make visits when the child is in year 5 as well as in year 6, so you can get a really good "feel" for the school.

(i) Search the official database of schools in England