Choosing a school

Information about different types of school for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The options for children with SEND are:

  • special schools that are dedicated for children and young people with SEND
  • Special Support Centres (SSCs) in mainstream schools are dedicated to meeting the needs of pupils who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • mainstream primary schools
  • mainstream secondary schools
  • independent private schools.

Most children and young people with SEND will be able to attend their local mainstream school where they will receive the support they need to do well.

The range and level or type of need that can ordinarily be expected to be supported within a mainstream setting can be found in the Ordinarily Available Inclusive Practice (OAIP) Guide. This guide, developed for school staff, is available on Tools for Schools, while we develop a guide for parents.

Some schools develop their own ways to support the additional needs of children and young people. This us called internal provision. Schools include information on this type of provision in their SEND Information Report, which can be found on their website.

See our full guide on how to apply for a school place if your child has special educational needs.

To search for schools in West Sussex, visit our page Find a school, academy or college.

Support from SEND Information, Advice and Support (SENDIAS) service

Looking for a school or college for your child or young person with SEND can feel overwhelming.

The SENDIAS have put together a guide that may help you to think through your options and come to an informed decision about what type of school or college will meet your child's needs and what your specific preference may be.

If you find it difficult to understand the information, please contact SENDIAS.