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SEND Schools Guide


Finding schools for special educational needs and disability 

Finding the right school for your child is enough of a minefield, but what if it’s obvious that the school isn’t doing enough for them? Time and time again, we come across parents at their wits’ end, unable to track down the best school for their child with additional needs such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD or autism – but Talk Education is here to help. Armed with expert guidance from our partners at specialist SEND educational consultancy Acorn to Oak Education, it’s our job to help parents find the right support and provision for children with special education needs and disabilities. From our in-depth reviews of the UK’s top SEND schools to our honest, insider advice penned by market-leading specialists, we will steer you through the process and do everything we can to help you give your child the best possible start in life. 

Founded by a crack team of SEND specialists and parents of SEND learners, Acorn to Oak has a strong track record in supporting families through the specialist-school search, helping to identify the schools that meet your child’s needs, draw up shortlists and assist with the all-important application. Using their in-depth SEND expertise and a highly personalised approach, the team at Acorn to Oak can also help with everything from Education and Health Care Plans (ECHPs) to accessing the right therapy and mental-health support. 

We have given our SEND seal of approval to any schools featured on the site (both mainstream and specialist) that we feel stand out from the crowd when it comes to exceptional SEND support. Sign up today to access our unbiased reviews, and look out for the SEND badge around the site to help you find the perfect school for your child. 

Types of special education schools  
There are a variety of different types of schools and educational settings for SEND students to attend, but it can overwhelming trying to understand the differences between them. Mainstream schools often cater to children with special educational needs and can sometimes provide special units or resource bases to aid learning. Children can be taught separately in the special units or assigned a dedicated SEND staff member to provide support in the same classes as other pupils.

Special schools are specifically designed around educating children with learning difficulties. These can be split into three types: authority or community-maintained schools, charity-run schools, and independent schools. Special schools teaching secondary school-aged students can opt to specialise in one of the four main areas of special education:

  • Cognition and learning - emotional, intellectual, and social understanding
  • Communication and interaction
  • Sensory and physical needs
  • Social and emotional mental health

Some schools also specialise further – so it is essential to understand the full offering in order to compare and review schools and choose the most suitable option for your child.

Things to think about when choosing a SEN school  

It’s never easy making that final decision on which SEND school to send your child to. However, here at Talk Education, we want to help you feel confident in your next steps. But where to start?

Most parents are looking for schools that will most effectively aid their child’s special educational needs or disabilities while allowing them to still participate in all the same activities as other children. Whilst all our reviews will give you an insight into the SEND support offered at each school, the schools themselves host frequent open days that will take prospective parents and their children through the offerings in detail, answering any questions you may have.  

To get you started, here are a few top-rated independent SEND school reviews:
Bredon School
Bruern Abbey School
Fairley House School
Burlington House School
Egerton Rothesay 

For those looking for mainstream independent schools with a stellar SEND offering, do have a read of the school reviews below:
Shiplake College
Clayesmore Senior School
King’s College School, Wimbledon
Dulwich College

To find out more about how we can help, whether for a detailed SEND consultation or a school or college search:

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If you have any questions about SEND or how we can help, please contact us. We are here to talk.