DfE - List of Approved Independent Special Schools and Special Post-16 Settings (Section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014)

Type of service:
Advice And Information
Address:
c/o Department for Education (DfE), Piccadilly Gate, Store Street, Manchester M1 2WD
Telephone number:
0370 000 2288
Service description:

Independent special schools and special post-16 institutions do not have a distinctive definition in law. Unlike maintained schools and academies, further education (FE) colleges and non-maintained special schools, such institutions cannot be subject to statutory duties as a distinct group.

Section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014 (the Act) allows the Secretary of State, by order, to publish a list of approved independent special schools and special post-16 institutions. Institutions can only be included on the list with their consent. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 set out the criteria for inclusion and removal of institutions. The list is published here.

Those independent institutions applying to join the approved list make themselves voluntarily subject to certain duties in the Act 2014:

• Local authorities’ published local offer of support available to children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN) must refer to the institutions on the approved list

• Institutions on the approved list have a reciprocal duty to co-operate with the local authority on arrangements for children and young people with SEN, and to have regard to the statutory guidance in the Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice: 0 to 25 Years.

In addition, the Act gives parents and young people the right to express a preference for independent specialist provision when their Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plan is being agreed and completed. If a parent or young person requests that an approved independent special school or special post-16 institution be named in their Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plan, the local authority is under a conditional duty to accept (unless it would be unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEN of the child or young person, or the attendance of the child or young person there would be incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources). If named on an Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plan, the independent special school or special post-16 institution must admit the pupil or student. This places approved independent special schools and special post-16 institutions on the same legal footing as maintained schools, academies, non-maintained special schools and FE colleges.

Parents and young people may request that an independent special school or special post-16 institution not on the approved list be named in an Education, Health, and Care (EHC) Plan. The local authority will consider this request, but is not under any specific duty to secure a place, and there is no duty on the institution to admit the pupil or student. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) is acting as the Secretary of State’s agent in determining which independent special schools and special post-16 institutions should be approved to join the list.

Cost:
Contact provider for cost details
Age range:
0 - 99 years
Eligibility criteria:
  • Open to everyone
Referral route:
  • No referral needed
Last updated on:
01/06/2022