SENDAT Admissions and Review Officer Sarah Hopkins   

Admissions to Priory School are through the Local Authority, Suffolk. Information can be found on its website here

Information from Suffolk County Council updated in Headlines 29-06-2020

Having discussed with families and school colleagues about the most important things to have in place when considering requests for specialist placements for Suffolk’s children and young people in 2020/2021, three key themes were identified:

  1. Specialist settings: knowing what specialist settings there are, the specialist educational needs that they support and when placements may be available. For example, immediately, in the next term, or in the new school year. 
  1. Communication: clear information about the process with the same information about outcomes and decisions shared at the same time with young people or families and the current education settings. 
  1. Timely decision-making: more frequent referral points so where places are available these can be taken up and where requests are not supported, this feedback is given as soon as possible.

From 5 October 2020, Inclusion Services will consider requests to consult with specialist education settings on a weekly basis through two Panels:

  1. Alternative Provision Panel: requests for consideration of a placement within a pupil referral unit/alternative provision.
    1. Requests can be made directly by the child’s education setting using the Inclusion Service Referral Form and Risk Assessment.
    2. For requests not agreed, the reasons and any further action required will be shared with the referrer after the Panel. The referrer will advise the family.
    3. For requests accepted, but where a place is not available, these will be held until places become available. The referrer will be advised of this and is expected to share the information with the family
    4. For requests accepted, where places are available, information will be shared with the PRU/AP setting and an admission date requested. When a date is received, the referrer will be advised of the start and end date of any placement and will contact the family and PRU/AP settings to arrange transition. 
  1. Specialist Education Panel: requests for a consultation with a specialist group, unit or school, or a specialist education provider for a bespoke learning programme.
    1. Requests for a place in an assessment nursery or Reception/Key Stage One Specialist Nursery for a child not undergoing an EHC Needs Assessment or with an EHC Plan, will be made by the practitioner working with the child or the current education setting. The Inclusion Service Referral Form must be completed and submitted to the Inclusion Service Referral mailbox.
    2. For all other specialist settings, education settings and other practitioners will support the young person’s or family’s request for a specialist setting through the Education Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment Advice or the Annual Review Report.
    3. The Family Services Team will complete the request to consult form and submit to the Panel. The request deadline is Wednesday 12 noon to be discussed at the following week’s panel.
    4. Panel Outcomes will be as follows:
      1. For requests not accepted by the Panel, the reasons and any further actions that should be considered by the school will be shared with the Family Services Team.
      2. If a young person or family have made a specific request, a consultation with their preferred setting will be actioned. The Panel will advise the Family Services Team of the outcome and if a placement is not being supported, the reasons why.           
      3. For requests for immediate specialist placement that are accepted, but a place is known not to be available, information will be shared with the specialist settings identified so that if a place becomes available, admission can be made. These will be held on a shortlist with actions identified for the current setting. 
      4. For requests for a specialist placement that are accepted and a place is likely to be available, a consultation will be actioned with the specialist setting and a response will be expected within 15 days. The Panel will inform the Family Services Team of the outcome, including start and end date.
      5. For requests for a specialist placement for children and young people in phase transfer years where it may be appropriate to place in a specialist setting, information will be shared with specialist settings for an initial view and any further information or actions required will be identified for the current education setting. The impact of any further information and actions requested will be assessed and the children and young people will be discussed late Autumn/early Spring so that the education setting for September is identified in the EHC plan by mid-February for school age children and the end of March for those moving into Post 16.

The Family Services Team will share all Panel outcomes with the young person or family and current education setting.

There is an information document available with flowcharts with regards to both the Alternative Provision Panel and the Specialist Admissions Panel.



“The majority of children and young people with special educational needs will have their needs met through SEN Support. Where a child does not make expected progress despite SEN Support, an education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment may be appropriate. The Local Offer website has more information about how to a request EHC assessment, and frequently asked questions about the referral and assessment process.

The Suffolk County Council special needs team is split into three areas

  1. The Ipswich Team covers south Suffolk and pupils and young people attending education outside of Suffolk. They can be contacted on 01473 265101 or by email –
  2. The Lowestoft Team covers north Suffolk. They can be contacted on 01502 674718 or by email –
  3. The Bury St Edmunds Team covers west Suffolk. They can be contacted on 01284 758809 or by email –

Sendiass (Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Information, Advice & Support Service) offers support and guidance to parents.