This page includes information on independent schools as they relate to children with statements of special educational needs (SEN), section 146 of the Education and Skills Act 2008, registration of new independent schools, and the public list of non-maintained special schools and independent schools specially organised to make special educational provision for students with SEN.
An independent school is defined as any school that provides full-time education for five or more pupils of compulsory school age or one or more pupils with a statement of SEN or who is in public care (within the meaning of Section 22 of the Children's Act 1989) and is not maintained by a local authority (LA) or a non-maintained special school.
The majority of independent schools are not specially organised to make provision for students with SEN. These schools may have pupils that have SEN, either with or without a statement, but do not cater specifically for any particular SEN type.
Some independent schools are specially organised to make provision for pupils with SEN and most of the pupils placed in these schools have a statement of SEN and are placed by LAs. However, a school can accept a pupil without a statement if it wishes to do so.
When an independent school applies for registration, the proprietor is required to specify whether or not it will be specially organised to make special educational provision for students with SEN. If so, then it is required to specify details of any learning difficulty that will be catered for and is then only registered to admit pupils of the SEN type specified.
Independent schools specially organised to make special educational provision for students with SEN are included in the list of schools that is required to be given to parents of children with statements of SEN.
This came into force on 1 September 2009 and amends section 347 of the Education Act 1996 (the 1996 Act) to remove:
the category of independent schools approved as suitable for the admission of children for whom statements are maintained under section 324 of the 1996 Act in England;
the requirement to seek consent from the Secretary of State to place a pupil with a statement in an independent school.
This latter change also means it is no longer a requirement for the Secretary of State to grant 'enabling consent' before the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (the Tribunal) can hear an appeal for a child with a statement to be placed in an independent school where the placement began on or after 1 September 2009.
For more information, please contact the Independent Education and Boarding Team.
Independent Education and Boarding Team
Department for Education, Mowden Hall
Telephone: 0370 0002288