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.

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.

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.

Search the directory for a local special schools.

Search the directory for special schools outside of the area.

Please note the 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.

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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