On this page you will find information about the admissions process in Leeds, including how to apply for a school.

If your child has SEND but does not have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), then you should follow the usual admissions process.

To be offered a place at a specialist provision, a young person must have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This is because they fall outside of the usual admissions process.

If you are going through the EHC needs assessment process then you should still follow the usual admissions process alongside this, incase a plan is not agreed.

How should I choose a school?

If you are applying for your child to start primary, junior or secondary school for the first time, you can find all the information you need to consider, including national deadlines, online application portal and school admission information for Leeds schools on the Leeds City Council’s website.       

Find out about the school admissions process

If your child is at a school, but you wish to change schools, you’ll need to apply for a school transfer.       

Find out about moving schools

Before applying we would also advise you to visit the schools you are interested in to make sure that you think they are suitable. We can help you to prepare for a school visit.       

You should also think about how your child might travel to and from school and whether you would be eligible for any help with home to school transport.       

Can a school admit my child based on their SEND?

School places are offered according to the admission criteria listed in the school’s admission policy. Across Leeds there are lots of different admissions policies, so you will need to check the school’s policy to see what their criteria are.       

All Leeds schools are inclusive and expected to meet needs for all children with low level SEND and also the majority of complex SEND, medical and mobility needs. Some Leeds schools do offer an admission priority if that school is the only school that can meet a child’s exceptional SEN, medical or mobility needs.       

If you think this applies to your child, check the school offers this criteria and if so, you’ll need to submit extra information when you apply that shows:        

  • the support your child requires due to their specific needs
  • why only that specific school can provide that support
You’ll need supporting evidence from a professional and the school will then decide if your child meets their criteria or not.

Find out about admissions due to exceptional needs

Cases likely to be successful
Complex communication and sensory needs

A child with complex communication and sensory needs, who has been attending a school nursery and struggles with transition.       

All professionals involved agree that going to the same school would help the child. The panel would need specific evidence from professionals that moving the child to another school would be be bad for their wellbeing and unsupportive of their needs.       

Physical difficulties

A child who has physical difficulties and requires an accessible building but the local school is over two floors and has no lift.       

The panel would require a physiotherapist or medical professional to provide evidence of the child’s needs and the access arrangements they need.       


Cases likely to be unsuccessful
Extra learning needs

If a child has learning needs and requires extra support from a Teaching Assistant. All schools should provide support in class when needed.       

Medical needs such as diabetes or eczema.       

All schools should be able to provide support to children with their medical needs such as insulin injections or putting on cream.       

Mild to medium SEN support needs

All schools should be able to provide support for children with mild to medium SEN support needs. Find out more about support in mainstream schools.       


What if I want a specialist placement?

If your child has an EHCP, then the usual admissions process no longer applies.       

You can request a school or setting as part of the EHCP process and the local authority will name one in section I of a finalised plan.       

If you are wanting a change of placement then this can be discussed at the next EHCP review meeting.       

If your child does not have an EHCP, then you will need to apply for an EHC needs assessment. You should still follow the usual admissions process in the meantime, as it is a 20 week process and a plan is not guaranteed.        

We can help you look at specialist placement options.       

You can also visit Leeds City Council's support for pupils with SEND pages for more information.        


Useful resources

Leeds Sendiass are not responsible for the content of sites or services offered by third parties.

You can find more links on our Useful SEND resource page.