Education in Independent or Non-Maintained Special Schools

Most children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) will have their needs met in a maintained school, academy or college in Essex, or one within a reasonable distance.

A small number who have very complex needs and an education, health and care plan (EHCP) might not have their needs met in a maintained school, academy or college in Essex or within a reasonable distance.  This is when a parent or young person together with the local authority might consider an education setting in the independent or non-maintained (private) sector.

A parent or young person can make a request for an independent school when the first draft of an EHCP is issued or at an annual review of an EHCP.

If you feel an independent school is an option for your child, contact the SEND Operations team.

Decisions about independent or non-maintained school placements

When a decision is made to find an independent or non-maintained school for a child or young person with an EHCP, Essex County Council aim to use schools that will meet the needs of the child or young person within Essex or as close to Essex as possible. Sometimes a residential setting (weekly or termly) further from Essex is more suitable. Decisions will always be made in partnership with young people, parents and carers.  The priority will always be the needs of the child or young person.

Before a child or young person attends an independent or non-maintained setting, Essex County Council makes sure that it is suitable.

Once a child is placed, they regularly carry out checks on the setting. If it has a residential part, the checks will look at the quality of care.

Essex County Council expects independent and non-maintained schools to provide them with evidence of their standards and outcomes.  They also use information from other local authorities. This helps to make sure that independent or non-maintained schools offer high-quality education (and weekly or termly care where appropriate).

For an explanation on the different types of independent schools, visit the types of school page.

Finding an independent or non-maintained school

List of independent or non-maintained schools for pupils with special educational needs (including those approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act).

Use these links to help you find: