Shropshire Council

How do I choose?

How do I choose a setting?

Make a list of the settings you wish to consider and then visit several so that you can compare them.

Before visiting the setting

Once you have made a shortlist of settings that you would like to consider, make a checklist of all the things that are important to you and your child; this will help you to ask the right questions. You may want to:

  • Ask for a setting prospectus or brochure (or find a copy online)
  • Have a look at the setting /school/college's website – especially their SEND Information
  • Look up the most recent OfSTED report on the internet
  • Take any relevant information about your child’s additional needs with you
  • Think carefully about whether you want to take your child with you on the first visit (you could discuss this with the setting or another professional)
  • Take someone along with you such as a friend or relative – they can help in discussing your impressions afterwards
  • Ask to have a guided tour of the setting – you will get a better feel for the setting if you do this when the children/young people are there
  • Ask to speak to the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) about what could be provided to meet your child’s needs. Every setting is required by law to have a SENCo

What should I ask before I visit the setting?
Here are some questions you might want to ask.

  • How many children will be in my child’s key group?
  • How will information about my child’s needs be shared with the staff?
  • How does the setting arrange extra support for children who need it?
  • How will I be involved in planning for my child’s needs and reviewing his or her progress?
  • How will my child be helped to settle in and to make friends?
  • How will the other children be helped to understand my child’s needs?
  • How will I be updated about what is happening?
  • How does the setting support the personal, social and emotional development of all children?
  • How will the setting include my child in all activities?
  • How soon will a place be available?

What should I do after my visits?

Try to keep an open mind until you have looked at all the possibilities. Once you have visited several settings you may have further questions which you want to contact the setting to ask. You may want to share your thoughts with any professionals involved with your child and you may want to take your child on a visit, if you haven’t already done so.

Once you have made a decision you will need to agree a start date directly with the setting. After this you can support your child to be ready for the transition.


Everyone involved will work in partnership with you to plan for your child’s transition. Best practice might include the following types of activities:

  • A transition meeting with the receiving setting attended by the family and professionals
  • Visits by the receiving setting staff to the home or child’s current setting
  • Opportunities for you to share the information you would like the key person and staff to know about your child.
  • Transition resources to help your child prepare for the changes ahead, such as a transition book with photographs of their new environment and key staff
  • Record sharing between settings which outline your child’s strengths, needs and next steps, including how they have been supported to make progress so far
  • A transition document outlining agreed steps to settle your child into the setting
  • Additional ‘getting to know you’ taster sessions
  • A flexible settling in period