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Admission Policy and Procedure


This document is concerned with the procedure for entry into Parayhouse School.

Prospective students are referred from a variety of sources, which include:

  • Local Authority Special Educational Needs departments
  • Parents
  • Independent educational psychologists
  • Independent speech and language therapists.
  • Other schools

Students at Parayhouse

The School caters for a maximum of 48 students, aged from 7 - 16 years and covering Key Stages 2, 3 and 4.  Students may enter at any stage of their school career, subject to this Admissions Policy and where vacancies arise.

Parayhouse provides a specialist education for students whose special educational needs emanate from the following conditions:

  • speech, language and communication needs
  • moderate/severe learning difficulties
  • medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy and asthma
  • syndromes such as Down’s, Soto’s, Fragile X, Tuberous Sclerosis and Prader-Willi
  • fine and gross motor difficulties, dyspraxia and sensory integration problems
  • social, emotional and behavioural difficulties & delay, related to learning and language needs

Parayhouse is not able to meet the needs of:

  • students with SEB difficulties or Autism as their primary special educational need
  • students who are not yet toilet trained [we do not have the requisite changing and showering facilities]

The Admissions Process:

Parents of prospective students, and/or other interested parties, arrange to visit the School  on one of our Visitors Mornings, which take place approximately monthly throughout the year [apart from August].

Please note – this is for adults only, please do not bring children.

Following this visit, if it is thought by both the School and parents that Parayhouse might be a suitable educational placement, then the following procedure is adopted:

1. The child is invited to spend a minimum of 2 consecutive Observation Days in school, spent in the relevant peer group (see below).

2. The School asks to see recent paperwork about the child. This is often the child’s most recent EHCP Review minutes. When the child does not have an EHCP, then recent reports from educational psychologists, speech and language therapists, doctors, teachers or other professionals are asked for.

3. A place is offered on the following criteria:

  • We can meet the child’s Special Educational Needs
  • The child fits into the existing group structure
  • There will be a place available at the time for when entry is sought

4. If after observation we are unsure that Parayhouse can meet the child’s special educational needs we may ask to see the child for another day, or for a short block of time and/or we would seek further information on the child.   We may also suggest that we visit and observe the child in his/her current placement.

5. On occasion the School will offer an assessment place for a set period of time, which will then be reviewed, and either terminated or made a permanent placement. This is not something that happens frequently, and not the School’s preferred option.

6. If we feel unable to offer a place, we will, where possible, refer parents to other educational establishments which we consider may be able to meet their child’s specific needs

Observation Days

An Information Sheet about the Observation Day is given to parents prior to their child’s appointment. Parents are asked to complete a contact form for that day.

Parents are also sent a Consent Form allowing Speech and Language therapists to obtain a communication sample video. This video will not go ahead if a signed form is not received.

The time in school is structured to be a fairly informal and enjoyable event for the child, in order to help him/her relax and perform well.

The child is observed in a range of situations so that we can assess social development, self-help skills, behavioural responses, physical abilities, pre-academic and academic functioning.

The child may be withdrawn from the relevant peer group and be observed in a distraction-free setting for informal assessment work by a Speech and Language Therapist [SLT] and the Occupational Therapist [OT].

The Speech and Language Therapists’ role on Observation Days is to gain an overall view of the child’s functional speech, language and communication abilities. When a

prospective student is already in therapy, then the assessment is subjective as required in professional practice. Previous therapy reports or assessments are considered and the current therapist may be contacted for background information.

Observation of the child takes place on entry to the School, separation from parents, in class and in free play situations. General use of social skills, non-verbal and verbal communication is noted. The child also spends time on a one-to-one basis with a SLT.

The SLT will be informally assessing the child’s:

  • General desire to communicate
  • Ability to focus attention
  • Ability to engage in interactive speaking and listening behaviour
  • Comprehension
  • Expression
  • Voice
  • Fluency
  • Articulation
  • Social skills

A prospective student on Observation Day will be assessed by the Occupational Therapist only if physical and/or SI difficulties are deemed to be a significant aspect of the child’s SEN. The OT’s role on this day is to observe and analyse the child’s skills and abilities throughout a range of activities, which cover all aspects of gross and fine locomotory function, perceptual and sensory functioning.

Parayhouse School is a non-maintained provision, therefore places are offered at the discretion of the Headteacher and Senior Leaders.

 It is a criterion for entry that students be adequately transported to and from school. In the case of a student being funded by their local authority, then Parayhouse School will ask that the LA make the necessary arrangements for this. In special circumstances, notably where an agreement has been reached between LA and the family, the transport costs and arrangements may be the responsibility of the parents.