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Support in school and college

Support in school and college

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Go to the  IPSEA website for a list of frequently asked questions on the how the COVID-19 measures will affect children and young people with special educational needs (SEN).

Support in school or college

Wherever possible, children with special educational needs will be educated in a mainstream school. 

Schools must do everything they can to make sure children with special educational needs get the support they need. 

Some children need extra support and might go to a: 

  • Mainstream school which has been adapted or has specialist teaching and therapists
  • Special school

Every school must publish information about how it supports children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities - this is known as its Local Offer.

To find out more visit our Local Offer directory:

Local Offer directory


Who to talk to about support 

The first person you should speak with is your child's teacher. 

You can also speak with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (usually referred to as a SENCO). Each school has one. They: 

  • Are a qualified teacher who helps to identify children who have special educational needs
  • Make sure children are getting the right help and support
  • Make sure they they keep the parents up to date with what's going on

Sometimes a teacher will identify concerns about a child's progress and speak to the parent about it.

What happens next?

A Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCo) may carry out an assessment of a child's needs.

Following this assessment there are discussions between the parents, teacher and SENCO to put together a school based plan. This will set out targets for the child and the help they will get to achieve them. This plan will be regularly reviewed and updated and gives parents, teachers and other professionals a chance to talk about how the support is helping.

In some cases if the review shows the child is not making expected progress, further support from an Educational Psychologist or the Learning Support Service or Foundry College maybe required.

Parents will be included in discussions about any decisions.

Ordinarily Available Provision

These guidance documents describes the provision that should be ordinarily available in mainstream schools, early years settings and SEND support settings in the Wokingham borough.

They have been developed in collaboration with a range of professionals and partners.

Read the: 

Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment

If a child or young person needs more support than is in the Individual Education Plan, then the parents or the school can ask us to carry out an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.

Young people between the ages of 16 and 25 years can ask us to carry out an Education Health and Care (EHC) needs assessment.

Parents and young people can ask for advice and support from the special educational needs and disability information advice and support service (SENDIASS) during the assessment process.

Find out more

Find out more by reading:

Schools which have been adapted

Some schools have been adapted to provide for specific needs. These are known as extra resource schools.

The schools below have acoustic ceilings and sound field technology for children with hearing impairment:


Extra support is given from Learning Support Assistants, a Teacher of the Deaf, and a Speech and Language Therapist to meet the individual needs of each child.

Schools which have specialist teachers and therapists

These schools provide extra support for specific needs and are known as schools with attached resource bases.

Support for children with Autistic Spectrum Condition:

Support for children with moderate to severe physical disabilities:

Support for speech and language

Some children will only be able to develop and make educational progress at a special school.

These schools use specialist methods to help children access a full curriculum.

Addington School

Addington School is for children aged 3 to 19 years who have significant learning difficulties. Many children also have additional needs such as medical problems, physical disabilities or challenging behaviour.

The school provides small class teaching and specialist teacher input, as well as additional services such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, and sensory therapies. 

The Chiltern Way Academy

The Chiltern Way Academy in Wokingham is for young people aged 8 to 16 years with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Oak Tree School - opening in September 2023

Oak Tree School will provide a safe and happy learning environment for 150 learners with complex needs, including Social, Emotional and Mental Health and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses, from Year 1 to Year 13.

 Find a school

To find:

  • Schools with extra support resources
  • Special schools
  • Further education and training 

search our:

Local Offer directory

Visit the Special Educational Needs and Disability Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) website for a guide to what to look for in a school.

The Government publishes a list of approved special schools on the  UK Government website.

Applying for a school place

You can find out how to apply for a school place in the school admissions section.

When looking at options after year 11, planning should start in year 9. 

Each school has responsibilities to provide information about careers, applying for college and finding a job or training.

All colleges have open days three times a year during autumn, spring and summer terms. Parents and young people can go to these open days.

Visit the college's website to find out:

  • Information about their courses
  • Request a prospectus
  • How to apply

To find local colleges search our:

Local Offer directory


Colleges offer a wide range of courses:

  • Foundation level and above including Higher Education
  • Life skills – preparation for independent living
  • Preparation for work - develop skills for future employment

Support at college

Colleges have Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) or equivalent. 

Colleges may offer the following support: 

  • Additional support for learning
  • Counselling and wellbeing
  • Financial
  • Maths and English
  • Support at break times

 Support is delivered by a range of staff:

  • Behaviour support teams
  • Counsellors
  • Learning Support Assistants
  • Mentors
  • Personal tutors
  • Safeguarding team

Colleges have duties to ensure their courses and learning are accessible to all students.

Go to the UK Government website to read guidance on the Equalities Act 2010.

During the transition period, schools and colleges need to share information to ensure the right support is available for students when they starts.

Financial Support


Colleges have access to bursary funding to support students with:

  • Travel to college
  • Equipment
  • Trips
  • Course fees

The bursary fund does depend on household income please visit colleges websites to find out about financial support.

Vulnerable bursary

The vulnerable bursary scheme is for students who are in local authority care or care leavers, who are receiving: 

  • Income support / Universal Credit independently
  • Employment and Support Allowance / Universal Credit and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) / Personal Independence Payments independently

Free college meals

If you received free school meals at school this could also been available at college.

Course fees

Colleges do not charge for courses for students up to the age of 19. After the age of 19 colleges may charge tuition fees. Speak to the college for further information. Students with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) courses are free.

You can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to help with the costs of a tuition fees for further education courses at a college.

 Go to the UK Government website for further information.


Students can apply for discount travel passes.

Some colleges provide a bus service with pick up routes across the area. The transport cost can be found on the college’s website.

If a student needs additional support to travel to college the local authority has a post 16 Transport policy, there is a charge for this service. 

For further information please read our school and college transport webpage.

Education, Health and Care Plans

Students with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) will continue to have annuals reviews. For further information please read our reviewing Education, Health and Care Plans webpage.

An individual education plan is developed with the young person and parents based on the EHCP outcomes. Education, Health and Care plans can support young people in learning up to the age of 25 and should reflect the young persons progress towards adulthood.

Career advice and guidance

Young people will continue to have access to career advice and guidance to help with their career plan. Colleges have responsibilities to provide career guidance. 

If you want to educate your child at home you need to let the school know first.

Visit the home education page to find out more.

You can find out about options and available support when leaving school on the becoming an adult:

Go to our frequently asked questions related to special educational needs and education to find information about your child moving to a new education setting, transition meetings, support for your child at school and more.

There is a Virtual School Education Team for Looked After Children. The main responsibilities of the team is to ensure that the appropriate range of professionals are engaged in looking at the issues facing Looked After Children, with regard to care and school placements, attendance and educational progress.

Statutory guidance

In January 2010 local authorities (LA) were issued with guidance for looked after children with special educational needs (SEN) placed out of authority.

The guidance aims to outline LA's responsibilities and explains how these responsibilities operate.

Visit the UK Government website to read the statutory guidance for local authorities: promoting the education of looked after children. 

For an summary of the policy and guidance that specifically relates to children in care in the UK visit the NSPCC website.

Visit the Wokingham Children in Care Council website where young people in care can have their say on issues that matter to them. 

This page links to the council's plans for spending the £1.3 million Special Provision Capital Grant to improve education services for children with special education needs and disabilities living in the borough. 

The proposals are for improved facilities for Foundry College, which educates children who cannot be educated in mainstream schools, Wescott Infant School, to improve the Resource Base for children with Autism and to expand the Ofsted Outstanding Addington School to enable more children to be educated in the borough. These proposals may be subject to future revision.

To find out more read:

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