WIASS information and resources on SEND
We can help you with:
- Finding a specialist school/college
- Choosing the right school/college
- Law and guidance
- Form and letter templates
- Further sources of help
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
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, physical disability and/or complex medical needs
- A list of fully accessible schools
- Independent and non-maintained primary and secondary schools for pupils with ASD
- Maintained academies and free primary schools, or nurseries and primary units for pupils with ASD
- Residential schools for pupils with ASD
- Independent and non-maintained primary schools and units for pupils with speech and language difficulties
- Maintained primary schools and units for pupils with speech and language difficulties
- Maintained secondary schools and units for pupils with speech and language difficulties
- Maintained secondary special schools and units for pupils with ASD
- Primary and secondary schools for pupils with dyslexia
- Primary and secondary schools for students with dyspraxia
- Primary schools (maintained and independent) for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties
- Maintained and independent secondary schools for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties
- Residential schools for pupils with behavioural and emotional difficulties
- Primary schools for pupils with moderate learning difficulties
- Secondary schools and units for pupils with moderate learning difficulties
- Primary schools for pupils with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties
- Secondary schools for pupils with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties
- Residential schools for pupils with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties
- Residential primary and secondary schools for pupils with hearing impairment
- Day and residential schools for pupils with visual impairment
- Primary and secondary day schools and units for pupils with hearing impairment
- Special primary and secondary schools for pupils with physical disabilities, PMLD 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
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.
- Specialist colleges in London
- Specialist colleges in Surrey
- Specialist colleges in East Sussex
- Specialist colleges in Hampshire
- Specialist colleges in Kent
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:
- Special Needs UK
- Find My School
- Special Needs Guide
- GOV.UK - Choosing schools (for Ofsted reports)
- GOV.UK - Schools guidance (previously Edubase)
- Independent Schools Council
If you have any questions or want more information, support or advice about finding a school please contact us.
- Exclusions leaflet (fixed period or permanent)
- Exclusions checklist to help you gather information about your child’s exclusion
- Government guidance on school exclusions (GOV.UK)
- Helpful organisations
- EHC plan annual review your views template (children and young people)
- EHC plan annual review your views template (parents)
- Section A EHC plan template (children and young people)
- Section A EHC plan templates (parents)
- EHC needs assessment request letter template (children and young people)
- EHC needs assessment request letter template (parents)
Support with a complaint:
Support with a SEN appeal:
- WIASS informal disagreement resolution request template letter
- Refusal to carry out an EHC Needs Assessment appeal form (GOV.UK)
- EHC plan appeal form (GOV.UK)
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.
- The Council for Disabled Children is the umbrella body for the disabled children's sector in England
- The Information, Advice and Support Services Network (IASSN) provides training and support to IAS Services across England
- Independent Parental Special Educational Advice (IPSEA) offers free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities
Help with SEN appeals - SEND Tribunal
National Autistic Society
- Website: www.autism.org.uk
- Email: email@example.com
- Helpline: 0808 800 4104, open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm
Independent Parental Special Educational Advice (IPSEA)
- Website: www.ipsea.org.uk
- Tribunal helpline: 0845 602 9579
Coram Children's Legal Centre
- Website: www.childlawadvice.org.uk
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Family law helpline: 0300 330 5480
- Education law helpline: 0300 330 5485
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.