London Schools SEN Provision

For London parents whose children require additional special needs support within school, this blog will be useful. All London schools are obliged to set out a Special Educational Needs (SEN) Policy. Under these guidelines, schools must be able to demonstrate some form of reasonable adjustments that they apply to ensure that SEN children are not overly disadvantaged when compared with their peers.

However, the SEN provision can vary greatly between schools. Some schools have large specialist departments, whilst other, smaller schools may only have the capacity to support low numbers of milder SEN pupils. Therefore, if your child has any form of special education needs, it can be hugely beneficial to research the different provisions and specialisms that different schools adhere to.

Specialisms in the UK are generally organised under four areas:

  • learning difficulties (e.g., dyslexia/SPLD)
  • sensory or physical impairment
  • social interaction difficulties (e.g., autism and Asperger’s syndrome)
  • emotional behavioural and/social difficulties

Some schools such as Park House School near Wandsworth Common provide an entirely specialist education for pupils. Park House is a registered ‘Beyond Autism’ school that educates young people with varied forms of social interaction difficulties (Specialisms include autism, ASD, ADD and ADHD).

Should you want to explore other specialist schools that cater to an entirely SEN intake, it is worth exploring the following Special Needs Guide. This is an interactive tool with an excellent catalogue of school specialisms and reviews.

Additionally, please see our small feature on four mainstream London prep schools which offer excellent SEN support.

Heathside Preparatory School, Hampstead

Friendly, inclusive, and academic, Heathside is a top North London preparatory school. The school is known for its progressive environment, in which children address teachers on a first-name basis, which is unusual in the UK

It’s also an outdoor school, boasting a fantastic location only a stone’s throw from the beautiful Hampstead Heath.  Some lessons are taken outside, and the school encourages pupils to work and play constructively with their environment.  Although the school is known for its progressive attitude – with many families coming from the art & media worlds – Heathside consistently gets children into top London secondary schools including Westminster and St Paul’s.

Heathside is committed to its SEN inclusivity; Louise Shotton is the school’s dedicated SENCO (Special education needs coordinator). The school bases its approach on 6 principles that underpin all support activities:

  • Support is available for all students of all abilities who require it.
  • Inclusion is everyone’s responsibility.
  • No child is a label.
  • Early identification of needs.
  • Careful monitoring of progress
  • A pro-active approach

For parents who would like to employ a teaching assistant to support their individual child, Heathside will consider this on a case-by-case basis.

Cameron Vale School, Chelsea

A tiny, heart-centred co-educational school in Chelsea, where each child is valued as an individual. The school boasts a ‘distinctive family atmosphere’ that sets Cameron Vale apart from many other schools.

Due to the small size of the school, and the one-to-one focus which they provide, they can only accommodate smaller numbers of children with SEN. However, the school does boast an experienced SENCO who is extremely caring and aware. Additionally, for those who might need an extra boost or who have dyslexia or dyspraxia, there are two learning support teachers per year group who work one-to-one with pupils.

For parents who would like to employ a teaching assistant to support their individual child, they will consider this on a case-by-case basis.

North Bridge House Preparatory School, Regents Park

The school has a strong and caring SEN team.   SEN support is offered predominantly in the classroom, though there is some flexibility in this, with certain pupils with different needs being offered one-to-one support. Alternatively, the school can accommodate parents who would like to employ a teaching assistant to support their child, though this will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The school has a range of experience in educating young people with ADHD, autism, dyscalculia, and dyspraxia. There is a ‘well-being officer’ as well as a school counsellor (available at additional cost).

However, should the school feel, they cannot offer the appropriate support for children with more severe conditions, they will explain this prior to the admissions process.

The Hampshire School, Chelsea

The Hampshire School Chelsea is a small, non-selective, co-educational independent school for pupils aged 3 to 11 years old. The school boasts an ‘excellent’ ISI report.

In the prep school, pupils are encouraged to build on their academic and holistic achievements from pre-prep, in what the school presents as a seamless approach to education. The headteacher promotes the school’s five key values: Community, Resilience, Excellence, Responsibility and Respect; in all aspects of pupil learning.

The school has a fantastic SENCO, Chryssa Hart. The team of SEN specialists is focused on bridging any adversity or potential disadvantage with a caring and analytical approach to the needs of each individual child. This school can also facilitate those parents who would like to employ a teaching assistant on a case-by-case basis.

The bottom line is that London boasts an enormous array of varied approaches & provisions to SEN. What is clear, however, is that many of the city’s schools have exceptional facilities to support SEN pupils. Many schools will go the extra mile and liaise, advise, and support the parents of pupils with SEN.

If you would like any more information on the schools listed or, would like to discuss how we can support you in finding an appropriate school for your child with SEN (In London or nationwide), please do not hesitate to CONTACT US.