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Education for children with Special Educational Needs

Children with Special Educational Needs may need extra help because of a range of needs, such as in thinking and understanding, physical or sensory difficulties, emotional and behavioural difficulties, or difficulties with speech and language or how they relate to and behave with other people.

Many children will have Special Educational Needs of some kind at some time during their education. Schools and other organisations can help most children overcome the barriers their difficulties present quickly and easily, but a few children will need extra help for some or all of their time in school.  In Peterborough we have 67 primary and secondary schools, and a further 10 special schools or pupil referral units.  

"In year" transfers from one school to another within the same local authority for children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) should be done via the Statutory Assessment and Monitoring (SAM) Service, not the admissions service. You can contact the SAM Service on 01733 863733 or by email to

What does the term special educational needs mean?

Children engaging in craft at school

A child of compulsory school age or young person will have special educational needs (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty or disability which means that they:

  • have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of others
    of the same age; or
  • have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of the educational facilities provided for others of the same age in mainstream
    schools or mainstream post-16 institutions

This definition is set out in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice: 0-25 years (2015). You can find out more about the SEND Code by going to the GOV.UK website.

SEN can be characterised by a range of needs and difficulties, children and young people with SEN may have problems with;

  • physical or mental impairments
  • concentration levels
  • ability to read or write
  • behaviour or ability to socialise
  • ability to understand things

Specialist Hubs

School children eating their lunch at school

To keep improving the expertise available to our children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in all education settings in the Peterborough area, we have established a growing network of specialist hubs.

A guide to the Peterborough hub network can be seen on this page.

The purpose of the hubs is to help raise the quality of support for all children with SEND in all schools in the Peterborough area. Each hub is a commissioned service arising from a partnership between the City Council and the host school / academy, with senior staff from each organisation working together. 

View the map of special schools and hub in Peterborough.

Each hub has a designated type of SEND, eg Autism or Physical Disability.  A centre of expertise might support a local school by:

  • Offering specialist resources and training;
  • Modelling high quality support in mainstream classrooms;
  • Providing telephone helpline and/or drop in sessions.

You can also find a link to an individual leaflet describing each hub below. There is also a link to the schools website.:

The Autism Hub for Primary Schools at Welbourne Primary School - view their website

The Secondary Hub for Learners with Hearing Impairment at Jack Hunt School  - view their website   

The Primary Hub for Pupils with Physical Disability at Ormiston Meadows Academy - view their website   

The Secondary Hub for Learners with Physical Disability at Jack Hunt School - view their website 

Centre of Expertise Specific Learning Difficulty Dyslexia Queen Katherine Academy - view their website   

The Hub for Hearing Impairment at St John Fisher Catholic High School - view their website   

The Hearing Impairment Hub for Primary Schools at Middleton Primary School - view their website   

Secondary School HUB supporting those with a Vision Impairment at Arthur Mellows Village College - view their website   

Primary School Hub supporting children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) at Southfields Primary School - view their website   

The Autism Hub for Secondary Schools at Nene Park Academy - view their website   

The social, emotional and mental health hub for primary schools at NeneGate School - view their website   

The hub for SEND in the Early Years Foundation Stage at Caverstede Nursery School - view their website   

Orimiston Bushfield Academy Social, Emotional and Mental Health - view their website

There are a limited number of places in the hubs for children and young people with particular types of SEND to be directly supported by the school / hub. These places are allocated by the SEND Panel as part of the Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment process. For full details please see the Assessment and EHC Plan page of the Local Offer.

What can I expect from a school or educational setting?

Every school is required to identify and meet the learning needs of every child in their school, including those learners identified as having a special educational need or those with a disability.

At school, most children will make progress with the support of their class
teacher through the school’s arrangements known as SEN Support.  School
governing bodies are required to publish detailed information about their
arrangements for identifying, assessing and making provision for pupils with SEN.
This must be school-specific and describe a school’s arrangements for providing a graduated response to children’s SEN.

For the small number of children with complex/severe needs who do not make enough progress despite intervention from the school, it may be necessary for a statutory assessment of the child’s special educational needs to be undertaken by the Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Service (SAMS).

‘Mainstream schools’ are maintained schools and academies (that are not special schools); maintained nursery schools, 16 to 19 year old academies and Pupil Referral Units.

Mainstream schools must:

  • Use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need – this means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s special educational needs
  • Ensure that children and young people with SEN engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEN
  • Designate a teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEN provision (the SEN co-ordinator, or SENCo)
  • Inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child
  • Prepare an SEN information report and their arrangements for the admission of disabled children, the steps being taken to prevent disabled children from being treated less favourably than others, the facilities provided to enable access to the school for disabled children and their accessibility plan showing how they plan to improve access progressively over time

Admissions Guidance for Peterborough Special Schools

Children at school

Peterborough special schools provide appropriate placements for children and young people with the most significant needs and who require a curriculum which is wrapped around them so that they can engage in learning.

There are overlaps between the provision of services in some of the Peterborough special schools to enable the right of parents to express a choice for a type of school (including a mainstream school).

Peterborough recognises the 'presumption' of mainstream outlined in the Code of Practice. However, for some children and young people the combination of their needs and current context suggests the appropriateness of a special school placement.

The Local Authority is responsible for the decision to place a child or young person in a special school.  A provision panel with a multi-professional membership considers individual children or young people with a statement or Education Health and Care Plan where a special school placement is requested and advises the Local Authority.

Children and young people who are successful in a specialist setting may return to a mainstream setting at any time, following appropriate review of their statement of SEN/EHCP.  However it is especially important to consider mainstream options at times of transition, e.g. transfer between primary and secondary phases.

Detailed guidance for making the decision about whether a child or young person would be appropriately placed in a particular special school is available to download

Request for involvement of Specialist Teachers and Portage Service

Education Settings (nurseries, schools and academies) can request the support of the Specialist Teaching Services (including the advisory teachers for ADHD and Autism and teachers of the deaf, blind, and physical disabilities) and the Portage Service (for Early Years children), through the Request for Involvement form.

The form must be signed by the Headteacher / Lead practitioner in the setting and submitted to

The request will be reviewed by the SEN and Inclusion Services Management Team in order to ensure the most appropriate service responds in a timely manner.

If the matter is urgent, please contact SEN and Inclusion Services directly (the contact details available on Peterborough Local Offer).

For further information please contact or 01733 863702



SEN Information Report

Schools are required to produce a SEN Information Report every year.  The report
must include:

  • the kinds of SEN that are provided for
  • policies for identifying children and young people with SEN and assessing their needs, including the name and contact details of the SENCO (in mainstream schools)
  • arrangements for consulting parents of children with SEN and involving them in their child’s education
  • arrangements for consulting young people with SEN and involving them in their education
  • arrangements for assessing and reviewing children and young people’s progress towards outcomes. This should include the opportunities available to work with parents and young people as part of this assessment and review
  • arrangements for supporting children and young people in moving between phases of education and in preparing for adulthood. As young people prepare for adulthood, outcomes should reflect their ambitions, which could include higher education, employment, independent living and participation in society
  • the approach to teaching children and young people with SEN
  • how adaptations are made to the curriculum and the learning environment of children and young people with SEN
  • the expertise and training of staff to support children and young people with SEN, including how specialist expertise will be accessed
  • evaluating the effectiveness of the provision made for children and young people with SEN
  • how children and young people with SEN are enabled to engage in activities available with children and young people in the school who do not have SEN
    support for improving emotional and social development. This should include extra pastoral support arrangements for listening to the views of children and young people with SEN and measures to prevent bullying
  • how the school involves other bodies, including health and social care, local authority support services and voluntary sector organisations, in meeting children and young people’s SEN and supporting their families
  • arrangements for handling complaints from parents of children with SEN about the provision made at the school

It should also include arrangements for supporting children and young people who are looked after by the local authority and have SEN.

Funding for SEN

Funding for SEN

Arrangements for funding educational provision for pupils and students with high needs were introduced in 2013 for maintained schools and academies. Funding for all high needs pupils in mainstream schools and academies is broken down into 3 main elements.

Element 1 - the basic entitlement

This is the basic amount funded to the school for each pupil and varies between primary and secondary schools.

Element 2 - additional need funding

Part of the overall school budget is classified as the notional Special Educational Needs budget. It is from this budget that mainstream schools and academies are required to put in place support for all children with SEN and to contribute the first £6,000 (equivalent to approximately 11.8 hours teaching assistant time per week).

Element 3 - top up funding

Where the cost of additional support is more than £6,000, the council will provide funding from their high needs block. The level of need is agreed by the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities panel and funding is provided to the school for that pupil.

Although academies receive their main funding directly from the Education Funding Agency, the top-up funding (element 3) is still the responsibility of the council.

Defining high needs

Children and young people with high needs are those who need educational provision that costs more in total, including the provision given to all pupils, than about £10,000 per year. This threshold defines the level of need that would be expected to be met through mainstream funding and those for whom additional funding is required.

Post-16 students with special educational needs

Like academies, all post-16 providers receive their main funding directly from the Education Funding Agency. However, the funding for students with special educational needs follows the same principles as for mainstream schools and academies.

They will receive:

Element 1 – core funding for each student calculated by a national 16 to 19 funding system
Element 2 – an allocation of up to £6,000 to support identified students with special educational needs based on agreed numbers
Element 3 – top-up funding from the council to meet the agreed needs of individual pupils placed with them who require additional support.

This funding applies to:

  • Mainstream school sixth forms
  • Sixth form colleges
  • Post-16 in special schools
  • Colleges of further education
  • Specialist colleges
  • Other providers such as training providers
  • Out of area post-16 providers

Independent Special Schools and Colleges

The Government produces a list each term of the approved independent special institutions who have specific duties to work with the council in relation to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

SEN Home to School Transport

Girl in wheelchair in school library

Travel assistance is not automatically given because a child has an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, and many children with special educational needs and disabilities travel to school without special provision.

However, some children with specific needs will require additional support, often for an agreed period of time and in such cases we will arrange transport to meet the specific needs of the students.  This might include various forms of transport including public transport, taxi, minibus, wheelchair accessible vehicle and bus/coach. 

See our school transport page for more information.


Youth Custody

Professionals at a desk discussing a report

The Local Authority (LA) will promote the fulfilment of detained young people's learning potential whilst they are in custody and on their release.  The LA will use the EHC plan to actively monitor progress towards outcomes.  The LA and Youth Offending Service will prepare for release of the young person by reviewing their educational progress and their continuing special educational and health needs.

The LA will keep the EHC plan while the detained young person is in custody and will review it as soon as possible on release.

Support will be available to young people who are being released from custody. On the day of release from custody, they will report to the Youth Offending Service office, where their educational needs will be reviewed, linking to any agreement made whilst the young person was serving a custodial sentence and ensuring agreed provisions are in place.

Support to engage with provision being offered will be given by either the Youth Offending Service case manager or the Youth Offending Service Education, Training and Employment Officer or both to maximise the young person’s opportunity and ability to engage with the education, training or employment provision offered. The level of support provided will depend on the young person’s assessed needs and wishes.

Complaints and Mediation

If parents or young people are unhappy about certain decisions made by the Local
Authority, they have a right to appeal. This would include the following areas:

  • not carrying out an EHC needs assessment
  • not issuing an EHC plan
  • content of a final or amended EHC plan
  • decision not to amend an EHC plan
  • cease an EHC plan
  • placement named in a plan

More information can be found on the Appeals, Mediation and Complaints page.

Educational Psychology Service

Thought bubble drawn on a blackboard with a lightbulb in the thought bubble

The Educational Psychology Service is for children and young people aged 0 to 25. All of the Educational Psychologists (EPs) we employ are registered with the Health Care Professions Council and have specialist training and qualifications in Child Development, Psychology and Education.

You can see more on our Educational Psychology Service page

Alternative Provision Census

The Alternative Provision Census is a statutory return that Local Authorities are required to send to the Department for Education on an annual basis.

The census covers pupils attending a school not maintained by an local authority for whom the authority is paying full tuition fees, or educated otherwise than in schools and pupil referral units, under arrangements made (and funded) by the authority.

You can view the Alternative Provision Privacy Notice and the Education Privacy Notice on this page.

Special Provision Capital Fund Plan

Local authorities must ensure there are sufficient good school places for all pupils, including those with SEN and disabilities. The Government has committed £215 million of capital funding to help local authorities create new school places and improve existing facilities for children and young people with SEN and disabilities, in consultation with parents and providers. This capital is not ring-fenced and local authorities can use it as they see fit to improve special provision for children and young people with education, health and care plans. This funding can be invested in mainstream schools and academies, special units, special schools, early years settings and further education colleges, or to make other provision for children and young people aged from 0 to 25.

Local authorities can invest their share of the special provision capital fund in:

  • Creating new (additional) places at good or outstanding provision
  • Improving facilities or developing new facilities

This can be through: 

  • Expansion(s) to existing provision including at the same site or at a different site.
  • Reconfiguring provision to make available the space for the additional places or facilities.
  • Re-purposing areas so that they meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • Other capital transactions that result in new (additional) places or facilities’ improvements.
  • Investing in provision that is located in another local authority where this supports providing good outcomes for children in their area.

The Government requires local authorities to complete and publish a short plan that sets out how they intend to invest their allocation, which is visible to parents, carers and other local groups. The plan for local authorities’ SEND capital provision allocations should sit coherently with their wider plan.

New measures to support children with complex needs and disabilities

The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has announced new measures to support children with complex needs and disabilities. Councils will receive an additional £250 million over the next two years, on top of the high needs budget already allocated to provide support to children and young people with complex SEND. £100 million will also be provided to create specialist places in mainstream schools, colleges and special schools, through capital funding. 
More special free schools will also be approved by the department, with the Education Secretary confirming that he will approve all high quality bids in the current round of applications. This should create more educational places for children and young people with SEND, and give parents more choice. 
The Government has also confirmed an expansion of the funding to train more educational psychologists, and the launch of a long term research and analysis programme. This will assess the impact of current SEN provision on children and young people’s outcomes, and the value for money of SEN provision in England.

You can see more details about The Secretary of State’s letter to local authorities, on the Council for Disabled Children's website.

Information from neighbouring authorities

Image of a school

If you are interested in finding out about schools in neighbouring local authorities, included here are links to Local Offers nearby.

Cambridgeshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council

Northamptonshire County Council

Leicestershire County Council

Easy links to the SENCO Network and SEND resources pages

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