Best UK Schools For Special Education Needs (SEN) 2024

In the UK, schools are legally required to identify and provide support for children with Special Education Needs (SEN). SEN covers a wide range of requirements, including physical, cognitive, emotional, or behavioural challenges. In our comprehensive guide, we look at the best SEN schools to consider for 2024.

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Table of Contents

Overview of SEN Schools In The UK

SEN consists of a range of learning difficulties and disabilities which result in children unable to keep up with their peers. In the UK, SEN can be grouped into the following categories:

  • ASD Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • MLD Moderate Learning Difficulty
  • SLD Severe Learning Difficulty
  • HI Hearing Impairment
  • MSI Multi Sensory Impairment
  • PMLD Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
  • PD Physical Disability
  • OTH Other difficulty/Disability
  • SLCN Speech Language and Communication
  • SEMH Social Emotional and Mental Health
  • SPLD Specific Learning Difficulty
  • VI Visual Impairment
While all schools are required to provide SEN support, some schools stand out for their dedicated support and specialisation in specific SEN areas.

What Should You Look Out For In A SEN School?

When considering a SEN school for a child, several key factors should be valuated to ensure the best possible fit:

  1. Specialised Support: Look out for schools with expertise in addressing the specific needs of your child, whether it’s dyslexia, autism, ADHD, or other learning difficulties. Consider the qualifications and experience of staff members, including teachers, therapists, and support staff.

  2. Individualised Education Plans (IEPs): Ensure that the school provides personalised learning plans tailored to each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning goals. Effective IEPs should outline specific interventions, accommodations, and goals for academic and social development.

  3. Accessible Facilities: Evaluate the school’s physical environment to ensure it is accessible and accommodating for students with mobility impairments or sensory sensitivities. Examples include considerations such as wheelchair access, sensory rooms, and quiet spaces.

  4. Positive Learning Environment: Look for a school culture that promotes acceptance, inclusivity, and positive reinforcement. Pay attention to factors such as class sizes, student-teacher ratios, and behavioural support systems to ensure a supportive and nurturing atmosphere.

  5. Additional Support Services: Check if the school offers additional support services, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, counselling, and behavioural interventions. A multidisciplinary approach ensures that students receive the support they need to thrive in their education environment.

  6. Transition Support: Assess the school’s approach to transitions between key stages, as well as post-school planning for students nearing graduation. Effective transition support prepares students for success beyond the school environment, whether it’s further education, employment, or independent living.

  7. Parental Involvement: Look for opportunities for parents to be actively involved in their child’s education, including regular communication with teachers, participation in IEP meetings, and involvement in school activities and events.

  8. Reputation: Lastly, consider the school’s reputation within the SEN community, including reviews from other parents, testimonials from current or former students, and any awards or accreditations received.

List Of Best SEN Schools In The UK

1) Abingdon House School

Abingdon House School, situated in Marylebone, London stands as a beacon of excellence in the realm of Special Educational Needs (SEN) education. With a specialised focus on supporting Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia, alongside addressing social communication difficulties and associated needs, the school caters to a diverse range of students with unique learning requirements.

The co-educational day school welcomes students aged 5 to 19 from all backgrounds. The school embraces an Integrated Therapy Approach with Speech and Language Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Mental Health Practitioners working collaboratively with educational staff. Therapy is seamlessly integrated into the school day, supporting academic achievement and social participation for all students.

School website:

2) Bredon School

Bredon School is focused on supporting Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD), particularly dyslexia and dyscalculia by providing tailored interventions and resources to empower its students. Welcoming a co-educational cohort spanning ages 7 to 18, the institution offers both day and boarding options, ensuring accessibility for families with varying needs.

Bredon School is special because of one unique feature — Outdoor education. The school boasts an extensive curriculum enriched by access to an on-site school farm. This approach not only enhances the academic experience but also fosters a profound connection with nature, promoting holistic development.

School website:

3) Frewen College

Nestled in East Sussex is Frewen College, a co-educational day and boarding school that specialises in supporting children with specific learning difficulties or speech and language disorders. The school was recently awarded the ‘Best Dyslexia Friendly School’ by the British Dyslexia Association. The school’s entire classroom staff, including teaching assistants have specialist dyslexia training, and provides therapy and counselling services where required. Frewen College provides education from Prep School all the way to the Sixth Form, so students can have a seamless SEN education journey from a young age all the way to university.

School website:

4) Wilds Lodge

In this day and age there is an increase in awareness on mental health issues, especially among the youth. Wilds Lodge, located in East Midlands is renowned for its exceptional dedication to supporting students with social, emotional, and mental health difficulties. The school provides day and boarding education to children aged 5-19 and has a remarkable track record of excellence, having received nine consecutive Outstanding ratings by Ofsted since its establishment in 2007.

Wilds Lodge prides itself in ensuring all members of staff as well as support staff receive regular training on child protection mental health issues. Their training includes wide areas of SEN including Autism, attachment and ADHD. The school has qualified Sherwood instructors and all staff are trained in Sherwood Positive Behaviour Support & Physical Interventions Training.

School website:

5) The Holmewood School

The Holmewood School provides specialised education for individuals on the autism spectrum, including those with Asperger’s syndrome. The inspiring London-based school was awarded with the Advanced Accredited Award (Autism Accreditation), which is only given to schools that offer excellent person centred support, showing a high level of consistency and quality rooted in a specialist understanding of best practices in the field of autism.

What sets The Holmewood School apart is its innovative approach to therapy integration, boasting an on-site therapy centre that includes an award-winning Occupational Therapy cafe. This unique facility not only provides essential therapeutic services but also fosters a supportive environment where students can develop crucial life skills in a practical and inclusive setting.

School website:

6) Fairley House School

Founded in 1982, Fairley House School is one of the pioneers of SEN schools, focusing on providing quality education and care to children with specific learning differences (SpLD). The day school accepts pupils aged 5 to 16 and is particularly known for catering to dyslexia and dyspraxia needs.

Fairley House prides itself on its highly trained and experienced in-house Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy centres, which caters to each SEN student’s education needs in a personalised manner.

School website:

7) Emerson House

To top off our list we have Emerson House, which provides specialist SEN education to students aged 6-11 who need extra support in literacy and mathematics.

Staff here are trained extensively in teaching children with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia. Classrooms are small or 1-to-1, ensuring a tailored experience and adequate support for each student.

The school structures its programmes in a way that gives each child a taste of success at every step, ultimately building their confidence and enjoyment in learning.

School website:

Is There Financial Support For SEN Schooling?

Your child may be eligible for an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan which provides supplementary assistance for educational, health and social needs.

To request an assessment, reach out to your local authority via this linkIf the local authority opts to proceed with an assessment, they may request:

  • Reports from your child’s educational institution or childcare provider.
  • Medical evaluations of your child.
  • A written account from you outlining your child’s requirements.

Within 16 weeks of the request, the local authority will communicate whether your child will be eligible for an EHC plan or not.


The UK is undeniably an exceptional destination for Special Education Needs. Institutions across the country have robust systems in place to make sure that students have the support they need, be it through highly trained staff, facilities, tailored classroom environments and emphasis on holistic development. Should you require any advice on selecting a good SEN school, feel free to reach out to our education consultants for a chat.

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