On 1st September 2010 the School Regulations (Amendment) Act came into force. This specifies the information that all schools MUST now provide in their prospectus. This is a brief summary minus the legal jargon - the full text can be found here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/1006/made
1. The name and postal address of the school, a telephone number for the school, the address of the school’s website (if one is maintained for the school by or on behalf of the governing body), an e-mail address to be used by anyone wanting to contact the school and the name of a person to whom enquiries should be addressed.
2. The name of the head teacher of the school and of the chair of the governing body.
3. A statement of the school’s ethos and values.
4. Where the school has a specialist status, a description of the status held by the school.
5. For a faith school, a description of the school’s religious character.
6. A summary of each of the following in relation to the school—
(a) the curriculum policy for the school;
(b) any other policy with respect to the teaching given to pupils, including any policy for monitoring the progress of pupils;
(c) any policy to support parents of pupils and to promote the engagement of parents in their child’s learning and development;
(d) the policy regarding the elimination of unlawful racial discrimination and the promotion of race equality;
(e) any policy for promoting community cohesion;
(f) the policy regarding pupils with special educational needs);
(g) the policy regarding the elimination of unlawful discrimination and harassment of disabled persons, the promotion of equality, the need to take account of disabilities, the promotion of positive attitudes towards disabled persons and the need to encourage participation by disabled persons;
(h) the policy regarding the elimination of unlawful discrimination and the promotion of equality of opportunity between men and women;
(i) the policy regarding the duty to hold collective worship;
(j) any policy for providing support to pupils who are looked after;
(k) the policy with respect to the behaviour of pupils at the school;
(l) any policy for securing the regular attendance of pupils at the school;
(m) any policy with respect to the clothing and other items to be worn by pupils at the school; and
(n) any policy for identifying and making provision for gifted and talented pupils.
7. Information as to where, and by what means, a person is able to obtain further information about the policies and other matters referred to in paragraph 6.
8. Information as to where, and by what means, a person is able to obtain access to sources of general information about the school, including information as to annual school achievement and attainment tables, published reports of recent school inspections and school open days.”
Looking at the websites for a few schools, implementation of this is very patchy at present, but at least you now know what you are entitled to ask for.