Special schools for children with special educational needs

South Gloucestershire Council believe that all children and young people (CYP) can be successful and achieve their potential through access to high quality educational provision and support where there is a culture of high aspiration for all learners and a commitment to delivery of highly effective inclusive practice. Education on offer needs to be relevant, accessible and engaging to all.

Most children with special educational needs will be educated and supported through their local school or education setting.  This can be at pre-school, infant/junior, primary, secondary or post 16 level.  A very few number of children need to attend specialist settings. The decision to offer such a placement  will be made in partnership with young people, parents and on the basis of the advice given by a range of professionals.

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Types of special provision 

The types of special provision within South Gloucestershire consist of resource bases, access centres or special schools. To attend any specialist provision your child will need an education, health and care plan (EHCP). This will require an EHC needs assessment. You can find out about the education health and care needs assessment on the following article. If your child already has an EHCP then specialist provision can be discussed as part of your child’s EHCP annual review or through an early review for the Local Authority to consider.

Wherever possible, it is the council’s intention to find a placement for your child with special educational needs within the local community.  

Resource bases

Resource bases are attached to a school. They provide specialist support for children with special educational needs and disabilities and will enable your child to access mainstream education by using specialist interventions.  This can include small group work and access to more specialist resources and services.  One of the many strengths of a resource base is that pupils can still access parts of the mainstream school as well as having more specialist support from the base.

The different resource bases cover different needs for children such as autism, social communication difficulties, hearing, visual impairments, physical difficulties and speech, language and communication difficulties.

The following resource bases are available in South Gloucestershire:

Blackhorse Primary School resource base - provides specialist provision for children who have recognised autism and/or social communication difficulties for primary school age.

Charborough Road Primary School resource base - provides specialist provision for children at primary school with communication needs.

Emersons Green Primary School resource base – provides specialist provision for children who have visual impairments and/or physical disabilities. 

Abbeywood Community School resource base - provides specialist support for students at key stage 3 and 4 with specific language and communication conditions and/or a diagnosis of autism.

Brimsham Green School resource base - provides a resource base for students with a physical disability and complex health needs at key stage 3 and 4. 

Hanham Woods Academy resource base - specialises in support for students with social communication difficulties (particularly autistic spectrum) at key stage 3 and 4.

Yate Academy resource base - provides specialist support for students with hearing loss. They support students aged 3-19 with varying degrees of hearing loss who use both hearing aids and may have cochlear implants.

Search the directory for resource bases.

Access centres

Access centres are units that are attached to a primary or secondary school.  They focus on providing an individualised, highly specialised curriculum for children.  The majority of pupils will have complex learning needs.  A self-contained specialist provision with no expectations for any mainstream inclusion.

There are two access centres based in South Gloucestershire: 

Lyde Green Primary School - The Access Centre is a specialist provision for pupils with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC) within Lyde Green Primary School for pupils in reception and key stage one.

Chipping Sodbury School -The Access centre is a[ specialist provision for students with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum in key stage 3 and 4. Based within Chipping Sodbury Secondary school.

Search the directory for an access centre.

Specialist schools

Some children will have special educational needs and a disability (SEND) that can be better met by a specialist provision. These are schools dedicated to children with special educational needs and disabilities that meet different needs and have different areas of expertise.

Your child's individual needs should be the starting point for deciding what type of special school they should attend and what is detailed within your child’s education health and care plan.

The following special schools are based in South Gloucestershire: 

Culverhill - is a special school that provides provision for pupils with complex learning difficulties aged 7-16 based in Yate.

New Horizons Learning Centre - offers provision for pupils with social emotional and mental health needs (SEMH)  based on two sites in Kingswood.

New Siblands - offers provision for pupils aged 3-19 with severe learning difficulties or profound and multiple learning difficulties.  In addition to the complex needs of their pupils, many have autism

SGS Pegasus School - is a special free school which provides places for children who have a primary diagnosis of autism aged between 4-19yrs based in Patchway.

Soundwell Academy - is a specialist academy for young people with additional needs principally in the areas of social emotional mental health (SEMH), moderate learning difficulties (MLD), speech language and communication (SLCN) and autistic spectrum condition (ASC).

The Chase - is a specialist college for young people with severe learning difficulties aged between 19-25. It is based at the Stroud campus of South Gloucestershire and Stroud College.

Warmley Park School and College - offers provision for pupils aged 3-19 with severe learning difficulties, profound and multiple difficulties, and those on the autistic spectrum. They also cater for pupils with additional needs including sensory impairments and physical disabilities.

Two Bridges Academy- Enable Multi Academy Trust, the Department for Education, and ISG Construction are working in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council to build a new 112 place special school to support pupils aged 2 – 19 years old with severe learning difficulties and profound and multiple learning difficulties.

The school is expected to open in September 2024, with phased admissions over the first 3 years.

For more information visit: Enable Trust - Two Bridges Academy

Search the directory for a local special schools.

Please note that our directory will develop over time.  Meanwhile, you may find out of county schools by looking at our neighbouring local authorities SEND local offers for schools.  

Independent special schools

The Department for Education has written a guide which lists all the independent schools and colleges in England and Wales for pupils with a special educational needs, including those approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014.

Located in South Gloucestershire are the following independent special schools:

  • Aurora Hedgeway School
  • Sheiling School Thornbury

Located in our neighbouring local authority areas are:


  • Belgrave School


  • St Rose’s Special School
  • Abbey Rose School
  • Cotswold Chine School
  • Hartmore School
  • Norton College Tewkesbury

Contact details

For all enquiries about an EHC needs assessment, annual reviews and provision for pupils with EHC plans please contact Jennie Mackenzie, Team Manager for the EHCP team: jennie.mackenzie@southglos.gov.uk

For all enquiries about school placements please contact Jane Whitworth, Commissioning Manager for Inclusion and SEND: jane.whitworth@southglos.gov.uk

For general enquiries regarding SEND, including SEN Support Services, please contact Will Pritchard, Strategic Lead for inclusion and SEND: will.pritchard@southglos.gov.uk