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Keywords:

  • Special educational needs;
  • SEN;
  • learning difficulties;
  • learning disabilities;
  • school choice;
  • parental decision-making;
  • change of phase;
  • mainstream school;
  • resource provision;
  • special school

This review presents the results of a literature scoping exercise looking at the decisions parents of children with special educational needs (SEN) make when choosing a secondary placement to send their child at change of phase. The review reports on studies that were conducted in England and other areas of the UK as well as in Australia and the USA because there has been only a limited amount of research into this area conducted in an English context. In addition, some of the papers do not discuss school choice specifically but cover related themes. The study identifies a number of broad factors that impact on parents' decision-making: the age of the child, the nature and degree of the SEN; the socio-economic status of the parents; the child's experience of inclusion in the primary phase; the secondary schools philosophy, capacity and perceived commitment to SEN; beliefs about teacher's skills, knowledge, capacity and attitudes; and the influence of other people, for example family, friends and professionals.