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Education and SEND

SEND education options and admissions

All children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) can go to a mainstream education provider.

Read more about the education providers that children and young people with SEND can go to, including:

Parents and carers can also consider home education.

SEND school admissions

Without an EHC plan

If a child or young person does not have an education, health and care (EHC) plan, follow the normal school admissions process when applying for a school place.

Read about school admissions on the Buckinghamshire Council website, including how to:

  • apply for a school place
  • find a school place
  • appeal a school admission decision

With an EHC plan

If a child or young person has an EHC plan, parents, carers and the young person themselves can say which education provider they would like to go to.

They can do this when a new EHC plan is in draft form, or as part of an EHC plan annual review.

The council must consult with education providers before naming them in an EHC plan.

We will name the parents’, carers’ or young person’s preferred education provider in their EHC plan, unless:

  • the education provider is unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or special educational needs of the child or young person
  • the attendance of the child or young person would be incompatible with the efficient education of others – and there are no reasonable steps the council can take to avoid this – or the efficient use of council resources (paragraph 9.79, SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years)

Mainstream schools

Mainstream schools work with the council to make sure that:

  • the same level of support is given to all children and young people with SEND
  • they focus on getting the best results or outcomes for children and young people

When considering a mainstream school, it is important to:

  • look at the school’s website to read the information on SEND (this is usually called the ‘SEND information report’ or ‘SEND inclusion policy’)
  • talk to the school about how they help children and young people with SEND
  • arrange a visit where possible to have a look around

Use our directory to find mainstream schools in Buckinghamshire, the link to their SEND information report can be found under SEND support (local offer):

Show me local mainstream schools

Changing from a mainstream school

If a parent or carer thinks that a mainstream school is not right for their child and is affecting their progress, they can ask to change schools during an EHC plan annual review.

This also applies to young people with SEND, who think that a mainstream school is not right for them.

Where possible, when making a decision about changing education provider, the council will seek advice from a panel of professionals called the SEND Placement Panel.

Mainstream schools with Additionally Resourced Provision

To help children and young people with SEND who have additional needs get a mainstream education, some schools are commissioned by the council to provide extra support.

Schools with Additionally Resourced Provision (ARP) are experts in particular areas. In Buckinghamshire these include:

  • speech, language and communication needs
  • communication and interaction needs (autism)
  • hearing impairment
  • physical disability

Use our directory to find schools in Buckinghamshire that offer ARP:

Show me local schools with Additionally Resourced Provision (ARPs)

Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)

Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) are types of school for children who aren’t able to attend a mainstream school.

PRUs might be available to children who:

  • are permanently excluded from a mainstream school, usually for behavioural reasons
  • are experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties
  • are being bullied
  • missed out on a school place
  • have been diagnosed with special educational needs (SEN), or in the process of getting a diagnosis
  • are suffering from an illness which makes mainstream school unsuitable
  • have a child themselves or are pregnant

Use our directory to find PRUs in Buckinghamshire.

Show me Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)

Special schools

If a parent or carer feels their child with SEND needs more help than a mainstream school can give them, they can consider a special school.

This also applies to young people with SEND, who feel they need more help than a mainstream school can provide.

There are specific criteria in the SEND Code of Practice that will affect whether a placement at a special school is agreed. These relate to a child or young person’s:

  • age
  • ability or aptitude
  • special educational needs
  • the impact on the education of others
  • the efficient use of resources

(paragraph 9.79, SEND Code of Practice: 0 to 25 years)

All children and young people who go to special schools in Buckinghamshire have an EHC plan.

Special schools work with the council to help children and young people with SEND who have high-level needs.

Use our directory to see special schools in Buckinghamshire. You can use our helpful drop-down filters to refine your search by age and special educational needs, which will help you with your decision making.

This list includes Buckinghamshire special maintained schools and academies in Buckinghamshire.

Show me local special schools

Ability range of Buckinghamshire Special Schools

When considering the ability range of the school, the following guidance is useful:

You can use this guide to cross-reference with our school list below, so you are aware of what specialist provision in Buckinghamshire is for.

Average cognition or specific learning difficulties

  • Chiltern Way Academy must have a primary need of Social, Emotional and Mental Health or Communication and Interaction (Autism).

Moderate learning difficulties

Severe learning difficulties or profound and multiple learning difficulties.

Independent schools

There are independent schools in Buckinghamshire, and outside the county, that parents, carers and young people can consider.

For independent schools other than specialist schools, it is likely that parents, carers, or young people will need to pay fees if the costs are deemed not to be an effective use of local authority resources.

In these cases, the council can pay the equivalent they would pay to a local mainstream school as part of EHC plan support.

Independent special schools can be more expensive than maintained special schools and special academies.

The local authority needs to consider requests for independent schools, and decide if they are an efficient use of resources.

This ensures that the council's funds are spent well to provide positive, fair and transparent support for all children and young people with SEND in Buckinghamshire.

Use our directory to see independent schools in Buckinghamshire and Out of County:

Independent special schools and colleges (section 41)

In some cases, parents may think that an independent special school or college is the best option for their child with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Independent special schools and colleges are run privately and don’t have to follow the national curriculum. Instead of being funded by the government, independent schools and colleges usually charge fees.

For an independent school or college to be considered for a child or young person with SEND (and named in an EHC plan) it must be on an approved list by the secretary of state for education. This is known as “approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act”.

See independent special schools and colleges approved under section 41

Further education

At the age of 16, young people with SEND can choose between:

  • staying in mainstream or specialist full-time education
  • combining work with studying or training

Read more about SEND further education options.

Search our directory to find mainstream colleges in Buckinghamshire and Out of County. You can our filters to narrow your search and find colleges that support young people with SEND:

Show me mainstream colleges

Home education

A parent or carer can educate their child with SEND at home, rather than sending them to an education provider.

This is known as elective home education.

All children have a right to be educated at home, not just those with SEND.

If your child does not have an EHC plan and you want to educate them at home, you must:

  • tell your child’s school, so they can inform the council
  • contact us if your child is not attending school

We will contact you to talk about the arrangements you are making to educate your child at home.

We will also put you in contact with an elective home education support worker, who will arrange a home visit to discuss your plans.

If your child has an EHC plan, you must:

  • tell your child’s school, so they can inform the council
  • contact us if your child is not attending school

We will then arrange a review of your child’s EHC plan.

After the review, your child’s EHC plan will be updated with any changes, including the place where they will be educated.

We will continue to review the EHC plan annually.