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Schools and SEND support

Special Education Provision in Croydon

Our commitment:

  • An inclusive offer for a diverse borough
  • Provision that is responsive to changing needs in Croydon
  • Provision that meets individual needs
  • Local provision at the heart of local communities
  • High quality specialist facilities to meet children’s complex needs
  • Expert and committed staff teams – specialist teachers, therapists and support staff
  • Working with families to support children and young people to achieve their life goals

To fulfil these commitments Croydon has developed a broad continuum of specialist provision including:

  • Mainstream Schools
  • Enhanced Learning Provisions (ELPs)
  • Special Schools

A programme of investment over the past few years has delivered new special schools and new enhanced learning provision to meet specialist needs in mainstream schools.

A new all through special school (2- 18 years) will open in 2020 to meet the needs of pupils with autism.

Please see the attached document  - Croydon’s continuum of provision

Provision for pupils with disabilities

Croydon council has produced an Accessibility Strategy to help schools develop and implement their accessibility plans for disabled pupils. It sets out how Croydon plans to increase:

  • The extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the schools’ curriculums
  • Improving the physical environment of schools
  • Delivery to disabled pupils of information which is readily accessible to pupils who are not disabled

This accessibility strategy is available to download together with further guidance to support schools to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils in schools published by Equality and human Rights Commission.

Types of schools: Mainstream state funded schools

Most children with special educational needs will go their local mainstream school where they receive extra help to overcome difficulties. This is referred to as School SEND Support (link).

Mainstream schools must follow the statutory duties and guidelines set out in SEND Code of Practice to identify and make appropriate provision for its pupils with SEND. Each school must publish a SEN Information Report on their website to describe in more detail their approach and arrangements to meet these duties.

The Local Authority have produced summary guidance setting out its own expectations on what should be in place to ensure high quality inclusive provision for pupils with SEND in Croydon Schools: The Croydon Mainstream Offer for Pupils With SEND (download)

The Croydon Mainstream Offer ‘Ordinarily Available Descriptors’ document provides more detail about the type of help and resources for children with different special needs.  (link/download).

Unless a child has an Education, Health and Care Plan, entry to mainstream schools is managed by Croydon Schools Admission team.

Details of all Croydon mainstream schools can be found on the Croydon website:

Types of schools: Enhanced Learning Provisions (ELPS)

ELPs provide specialist provision for specific types of special needs as part of mainstream school. Children who are placed in ELPs do not require full time specialist provision but require some additional specialist support to access the curriculum. Their time is spilt between mainstream lessons and activities and specialist teaching support in the ELP.

There are 11 Primary school ELPs and 6 secondary school ELPs.

Admission to each ELP is managed by the 0-25 SEND Service. Most children who are placed in an ELP will have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan or in the process of being drafted.

For details about each ELP and their particular specialisms please use the following link:


Types of schools: Special schools

Croydon currently has six special schools providing primary, secondary and post 16 provision for pupils with significant learning needs, autism, complex medical needs and difficulties with social, emotional and mental health.

A new special all through (2-18 years) special school is due to open in 2020 to meet the needs of pupils with autism.

All Croydon special schools have been judged to be good or better in their most recent OfSTED Inspection.

Special schools provide small group teaching, access to specialist staff and therapeutic support. Packages of support are highly personalised for each child.

Admission to special schools is managed by the 0-25 SEND Service. Children who are placed in an ELP will have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan. In exceptional circumstances children may be placed in an ELP without an EHC Plan.

For more information about Croydon Special schools please follow click on the following link:


Other educational provision in Croydon: Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) and alternative provision

Croydon has a range of alternative educational provision, which pupils can access on a short-term or long-term basis if their school place breaks down. School places can break down for a variety of reasons: some young people may have been excluded from school, but others may have medical needs or need a different environment to engage successfully in learning.

Parents will always be included in any decision to place a child in a PRU.

Schools in Croydon work together to provide children and young people who are struggling at school with the support they need so that wherever possible they can be educated in a setting that meets their needs. Where there is a risk of a place breaking down, head teachers meet with the relevant support services at a Fair Access Panel to discuss the needs of individual children and secure an alternative educational placement that will meet the child’s needs; this may be another school, a PRU or other alternative provision.

Secondary PRUs

Croydon’s secondary PRU is Saffron Valley Collegiate. Saffron Valley seeks to provide a personalised educational experience that identifies and responds to the circumstances and needs of each individual child or young person. In doing so, it enables them to progress academically and become successful learners through the re-engagement of the young person with education.
The secondary PRU is formed of five provisions: Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 North, Key Stage 4 South, Cotelands and Springboard (see below).
More information, (including the referral process for Cotelands and Springboard), can be found on the Saffron Valley website.

Primary PRU

Croydon has only one primary PRU, Bramley Bank which is managed by the Beckmead Family of Schools which provides short stay provision for children aged 5 to 11 who are experiencing difficulties managing behaviour in their mainstream school Family of Schools.

Bramley Bank works closely with the Primary Fair Access Panel to decide which children would benefit from placement at the PRU. The aim of this short-term intervention is to enable reintegration into a mainstream school as soon as possible.

Other educational provision in Croydon: Springboard tuition service.

Springboard provides personalised teaching for children and young people who temporarily not able to access full time mainstream teaching. This is usually due to medical reasons, including poor emotional/mental health.

Support can include a combination of one-to-one support in the home or community, online learning support and/or attendance at the Springboard provision. The aim of this intervention is to help the child or young person to return to a full-time education in an appropriate school/provision as soon as possible.

Springboard is part of Saffron Valley Collegiate. Visit the Saffron Valley website to find out more about the educational offer.

Elective Home Education: Children and Young People (CYP) with SEN educated at home.


Parents and carers can choose to educate children and young people (CYP) with SEN at home.

The home education provided must be suitable for the CYP’s age, ability and aptitudes as well as his/her special needs.

Croydon Local Authority (LA) will visit families to view the education on offer and check that it is suitable. Parents can refuse any visits but many find this support useful and welcome the advice and recommendations to ensure that home schooling is successful and helping their child to learn.


What about Children and Young People with EHC Plans?

In some cases Croydon LA may agree that home education is right for a child or young person. If so, the LA will work closely with parents to ensure that arrangements are in place to give the special education provision and make clear that home education is the agreed placement.


In other cases,  where the LA has named a school in the EHC Plan, mainstream or special, but parents decide that they want to home educate, the LA has no obligation to arrange and fund the special education provision set out in the plan.

If the LA are satisfied that the home education is suitable, the EHC plan will be amended with Section I naming the type of provision (mainstream or special) and state that parents made their own arrangements to home educate.


The LA will make sure that the EHC Plan is reviewed annually so that help and support for the child’s or young person’s SEN remain appropriate and match his/her needs.


If you would like further information about educating at home use the link below. You can   request the booklet called 'Educating Your Child at Home' which provides more information.


Section 10.30 from the SEND Code of Practice provides details of the legislative duties for CYP with EHC plans educated at home.

Schools outside Croydon

To help you find information on schools in other local authorities, go to Find your local council. Choose the local authority you are interested in and use their schools list (external link).

Neighbouring boroughs to Croydon are:

Approved Educational establishments

The Department for Education has a register of approved educational establishments in England and Wales that includes special schools and independent schools via (external link).

SEND support when attending an out of borough school

SEND support when attending an out of borough schoolFor pupils with SEND without an EHC Plan the school will be able to  provide extra help to meet these needs from the resources it already has available.

For pupils with an EHC Plan the required support will be maintained and funded and provided by Croydon Local Authority unless there is a reciprocal agreement in place, for example, the school may provide the service and Croydon will fund it. Annual reviews will be managed by Croydon

Moving to secondary school: choosing and applying

When considering the best options for a secondary school for your child it is best to start early.

A good starting point is to look at the Croydon Admission to Secondary School Prospectus: 

Croydon Admission to Secondary School Prospectus

It has details of all Croydon schools and the entry criteria.

It also has details of open days and events held by each school so that parents and children can visit and find out more about what each school can offer.

This online booklet explains the process and timeframes for applying to secondary schools

The prospectus is updated annually.

  • Use the prospectus to find secondary schools close to you.
  • Plan visits to a number of schools, you can take your child along too.  (If your child is in Year 5, you can still attend open events planned for the current Year 6 pupils.)
  • Before visiting, check that you meet the entry criteria. This will give you a better idea of which schools are likely to be able to offer your child a place.
  • When you visit, prepare some questions to help you decide if the school will suit your child.
  • Find out more about what support each school offers by:
    • Looking on their websites, each school publishes a SEND Information Report (Insert internal link), this gives details on the arrangements and support in place to help pupils with SEND and make sure they can take part in all aspects of school life.
    • Looking at Ofsted reports and see what they say about SEND provision
    • Talk to friends and families about their views of local schools.
    • You may find it helpful to speak directly with the SENCO; this will give you the opportunity to talk about your child’s needs and find out more about how the school will help your child to settle in and the extra support they can give.

Moving to Secondary School

Croydon Parent in Partnership (PIP) Service and the 0-25 SEND team have worked together to produce information and guidance to help families with children with SEND choose and get ready to go to secondary school.

If your child is receiving SEND support without an EHC Plan or you are in the process of an EHC needs assessment, the process of choosing and applying for a school place is the same as for all pupils and you will need to complete the general online application form.

It is important that you name more than on school on your online application. The form allows you to select six schools, which you must name in your order of preference. The LA will  try to give you your first preference but this is not always possible.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC plan) the process for applying to secondary school is managed by the Croydon 0-25 SEND service. For more information about this go to EHC Plans: Transitions (insert link).

Moving to secondary school: getting ready

Your child’s secondary school place will usually be confirmed by March giving you, your child’s primary school and new secondary school plenty of time to plan and prepare to support as smooth as possible move to secondary school.

Planning and preparation could include:

At home:

  • Talking positively about the move to secondary school, discussing the things that will be the same or the things that will be different.
  • Encouraging your child to share any anxieties he/she may have about the move so that you can address these at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • Getting a map of the school, to locate form room, science labs etc.
  • Practising the journey to and from school, especially is this involves public transport.
  • Looking at the school prospectus and/or website together to support familiarisation with the new school
  • Attending any events the new school might be hosting such as a summer fayre to help to get know the school.

    With your child’s primary school and the new school:
  • Checking that arrangements are in place so that information about your child’s needs and the extra help that has been in place are shared.
  • Making sure that areas of progress and successes and any special interests and skills your child are highlighted.
  • For some children, drawing up a simple profile to include information on:
    • Areas of strength and/or personal interests
    • Things that might cause him/her anxiety and stress and the impact of this on behaviour
    • Strategies that help soothe and calm
    • How he/she likes to be helped – what has worked well/how can this be replicated in a secondary school setting.
    • How he/she communicates; verbally and non-verbally e.g. visible signs of stress and anxiety.

This can be shared with staff in different departments to support shared understanding of need and continuity of approach.

  • If required, making arrangements so that your child can have extra visits to the school to become more familiar with buildings and routines in the school day as well as meeting key staff.
  • Making sure your child is able to take part in any other transition activities the school might be running in the summer holidays.
  • Identifying the key member of staff your child should go to if they are unsure about anything.
  • For children with more complex needs, with and without and EHC plan, agreeing a date within the first three weeks of term to talk to or meet with the school to check how things are going and to highlight any emerging issues so that they can be addressed early.

For children with social and communication difficulties or sensory needs other tips to support the move include:

  • Creating a photo booklet to support familiarity with the new school building and key staff
  • Creating social stories to help your child understand new events and routines in the day which they may find more difficult to adapt to, as such as moving between lessons.  (Use simple language to explain what is expected and why).
  • Sharing any information about dietary needs and eating habits which can be shared with canteen staff and lunchtime supervisors to avoid any difficulties for children with restricted food preferences or rigidity about eating patterns.

 The National Autistic Society have produced useful guidance on  starting and moving school which you may find useful.

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