WIASS information and resources on SEND

WIASS logo

We can help you with:

SEND law and guidance

You have the right to request the following types of school or college to be named in your child or young person's Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan:

  • A maintained school or nursery (mainstream or special school) - schools funded by a local authority
  • An Academy or free school (mainstream or special school) - schools funded by the government
  • Further education or sixth form college
  • A non-maintained special school - these are charitable foundations and not-for-profit schools
  • A Section 41 school - independent schools or specialist colleges approved by the government

Find a specialist school

We have produced lists of special educational needs schools that specialise in specific needs to enable you to find an appropriate school.

Our schools lists are designed to give you an idea of what is available in the local area. However, they do not include the names of every school and we cannot guarantee that all the schools listed are suitable for your child or young person.

Schools are available for pupils with:

Communication and interaction difficulties (ASD and speech and language difficulties)

Cognition and learning difficulties

Social, emotional and mental health difficulties

Moderate learning difficulties

Severe/profound and multiple learning difficulties

Sensory needs, physical disability and/or complex medical needs

School details can change quickly and although we try to update our school lists every year, some details may not be accurate and it may not always be complete. We have included links to school search websites so that you can do your own search for the type of school or the area you are looking for.

We suggest that you check with the school when you contact them that the school is appropriate to your child’s particular needs. You can use the Ofsted website to find inspection results for each school.

WIASS is an impartial service so doesn't make recommendations or endorse individual schools.

Section 41 schools information

Section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014 allows the Secretary of State to publish a list of approved independent special schools and post-16 institutions. Find the published list and information on Section 41 below.

The law when looking for a school/college to name on an EHC Plan

The local authority must consult schools and colleges on the above list if you request it, and must name the  school unless it can prove one of the following:

  • It would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or
  • The attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient
      • Education of others, or
      • Use of resources

If you would like more information on Section 41, view the independent schools and colleges guidance on GOV.UK or contact WIASS.

Independent schools (that are not maintained or Section 41 schools)

You can ask the local authority to consider a request for an independent school that is not a maintained or Section 41 school, but this is not a right.

If you request the local authority to consult an independent school, please ensure you have a confirmed offer of a place.

Sixth forms and colleges

We have also provided lists of specialist colleges offering post-16 education for young people with SEND.

Choosing the right school

Visiting a school or college is usually the best way to find out if it’s the right one for your child.

When contacting a school for the first time it is usually best to ask to speak to the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo), Inclusion Manager or the headteacher.

When contacting a college for the first time, we suggest you speak to the SENCo, Additional Learner Support team or the head of college/sixth form.

The following guide might help you through arranging and making a visit:

Details can change quickly and although we try to update our school lists every year, some details may not be accurate. More information is available for young people with SEND on the following school search websites:

If you have any questions or want more information, support or advice about finding a school please contact us.

School exclusions

Templates

Support with a SEN appeal:

Further sources of help

These details are provided for information only and we do not recommend any service. We advise you to contact the service to see if they may be able to help you.

All information is subject to change. Check the websites for up to date information.

Help with special educational needs

Contact SEND helpline

Contact is a charity supporting families with disabled children that runs a free helpline for parents and carers who want to talk through their issues with an expert adviser.

Contact's helpline is for parents and carers in any part of the UK with a disabled child aged from birth to 25.

Your child can have any kind of disability or additional need and you do not need to have a diagnosis.

  • Telephone: 0808 808 3555 (free from UK landlines and UK mobiles)
  • Hours: 9.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday

Press 1 to speak to an education advisor, press 2 for all other helpline enquiries. 

Help with SEN appeals - SEND Tribunal

National Autistic Society 

Independent Parental Special Educational Advice (IPSEA)

Coram Children's Legal Centre 

Civil Legal Advice

For confidential and independent advice call:

  • Telephone: 0345 345 4345
  • Minicom: 0345 609 6677

Lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, and Saturday 9am to 12.30pm.