Special schools for children with special educational needs

South Gloucestershire Council’s education provision should be inclusive and supportive. A place where all children and young people can learn, build friendships and feel part of the community.  Most children with special educational needs can be supported to reach their full potential through their local school or education setting.  This can be at pre-school, primary, secondary or post 16 level.  Some children with a special educational need may have their needs met through specialist provision.

In South Gloucestershire specialist provision consists of resource bases, access centres or special schools.  To attend these settings or schools your child will need an education, health and care plan (EHCP).  Wherever possible, it is the council’s intention to find a placement for your child with special educational needs within their local community. However, in exceptional circumstances, the council may consider placing your child outside of their local community.

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Resource bases

Resource bases are attached to a primary or secondary school. They provide targeted 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 designated for children who have recognised Autism and/or Social Communication Difficulties for primary school age. The aim is to fully include Resource Base pupils with their peers within mainstream. For more information please visit ‘Resource Base’ on our website and see further details about Resource Base admissions.

Charborough Road Primary School resource base provides special provision for children at primary school with communication needs within the primary school.

Emersons Green Primary School resource base - is designated for children who have Visual Impairments and/or Physical Disabilities. The role of the resource base is to facilitate and support full inclusion into the mainstream classes. 

Abbeywood Community School resource base - provides specialist support of students at key stage 3 and 4 with specific language and communication conditions and/or a diagnosis of autism. The Resource Base (RB) has a maximum of 23 students all of whom will have a Local Authority Education, Health and Care Plan.

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. Details about the resource base can be found in the academy’s SEN information report.

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. Transmitters are also used successfully within mainstream lessons and within the base.

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. It is the only provision of its kind in South Gloucestershire for pupils in Reception and Key Stage one.

Chipping Sodbury School -The Access centre is specialist key stage 3 and 4 provision where students with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum can learn, flourish and achieve success in a positive, nurturing environment designed specifically to meet their spectrum of need. Based within Chipping Sodbury Secondary school.

Search the directory for an access centre.

Special 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 a disability based on different needs and 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 needs and provision is described in their EHCP.

The following special schools are based in South Gloucestershire: 

Culverhill is a special school that provides for 135 pupils with complex learning difficulties aged 7-16 based in Yate in South Gloucestershire. All pupils have an Educational Health Care Plan which reflect moderate to severe learning difficulties plus a range of additional needs.

New Horizons Learning Centre offers provision for pupils with Social Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH) at KS2, 3 and 4 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 our 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. To meet the needs of our current pupils, they are focusing their provision on pupils aged 9-19yrs and will expand provision to other year groups in due course.

Warmley Park School 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.

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 of 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

How to apply for a place in a special school

Your child will need an education, health and care plan (EHCP) to access a resource base, access centre or special school.  You can find out about the education health and care assessment process and how to apply for one.  If your child already has an EHCP then specialist provision can be discussed as part of your child’s EHCP annual review or early review for the Local Authority to consider.

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