Referrals & Admissions

To be eligible for consideration for a place at the school, young people must be of secondary school age, have a diagnosis of autism and may have accompanying learning disabilities. In addition, many of the young people who attend The Shires have challenging behaviour, often as a result of their communication difficulties.

Referrals for places are usually received directly from the education or social services departments within Local Authorities, (Placing Authorities), and parents, sometimes with the agreement of the local Placing Authority, may also make applications.

The school’s assessment team makes a detailed assessment of the young person’s needs, which includes discussions with parents, and where possible, with the young person concerned. The views of professionals involved with the young person are sought. Observations are made of the young person in a variety of settings. If the young person would benefit from a placement at the school, the Local Education Authority and parents are informed, and an admission date is agreed.

On occasions, parents do not always get the support of their local placing authority when trying to place their children at residential special schools such as The Shires.

Under these circumstances some parents may consider making a legal challenge through the Special Educational Needs Tribunals, or SENDIST. Click here to access the SENDIST website.