what factors do I need to be aware of or be looking for when choosing a school for a child with SEN. What sort of things influence other peoples decisions who have had to make this choice?I thought that a mainstream school would be sufficient but it seems that inclusion is not fully happening in mainstream schools and that is why special schools are being kept open. Also with the new plan rather than a statement can this suffice for access to special school...
I suggest you post in the Special Needs - Children thread further down the page.
But generally it completely depends on your child's SEN, and in practice it is going to depend on what your local council is prepared to fund. Generally it will go for mainstream or a unit attached to a mainstream every time because that is usually cheaper.
Yes, an EHC Plan replaces the Statement, so it will become what is needed to gain access to specialist provision.
I always advise that you should not decide "mainstream" or "special", but should go and look at a few options, and decide which is the best school for your dc. There are huge variants in what schools offer / how supportive / how much they can meet your child's needs. Think about your dc's needs, and then go and look at each school, trying to ascertain if you think that individual school could meet those needs.