How to build a portfolio for schools

If you are moving into the UK, and looking for a school for your child, it is helpful to have a portfolio to illustrate your child’s strengths and areas that need work.

Schools receive a lot of enquiries on a day-to-day basis and the aim of the portfolio is to lift your child out of the pack and develop the relationship with the school before the admissions process.

Some items that can be helpful:

  • Copies of school reports, most importantly the most recent end-of-year report.
  • Evidence of any standard testing that they have undertaken and scores achieved.
  • A recommendation from the child’s current school.
  • Examples of work – for younger children this can be written work in English and Maths and names of books that they have been reading with confidence.  For older children, it might include work in foreign languages and sciences.
  • For older children, it is also good to get an idea of the curriculum that the child has been following in individual subjects, so that this can be set alongside the curriculum being taught in the prospective school.



Children with Autism – Dean Associates perspective

An interesting article today that more families are taking legal action to challenge their local authority over the help given to their autistic (ASD) children (for more information on autism, an easy summary here).

Dean Associates helps a number of relocating families who are moving with ASD diagnosed children.

Some have moderate special educational needs and can be brought into a mainstream school setting without too much difficulty.  Others have more severe needs, and schools and councils are concerned about the strain on existing resources to provide the necessary help.

Some observations we have:

Parents often have very incomplete diagnosis and school report history.  All institutions like to have a clear and up-to-date paper history that they can review.  Not having this (or having this but in a foreign language) can hamper progress.

Within the state sector, schools and the special educational needs (SEN) departments of the local authorities are reluctant to provide much forward planning for families who are not yet resident.

Communication within local authorities between the mainstream admissions team and the SEN department can be very haphazard.

The response from schools can vary dramatically.  Some schools really don’t want to know and will try and resist taking a child.  Others have active SEN co-ordinators.  Finding the latter can be often be key in unlocking the system for relocating parents as they know both the system and the personalities involved within the local authority.

Parents should never be afraid to push back and question.  We have regularly witnessed the foot-dragging and box-ticking highlighted in the article.  Parents need to be steady, clear sighted and resolute in their approach.  Flexibility is good but it needs to be a two-way process, not just demanded of the family.

For more information or help with moving with ASD diagnosed children, please contact us at