Types of education provision

Combined provision
Involves children attending more than one setting, usually on different days of the week, when this is thought to be the best way of meeting their educational needs. Individual arrangements will be made for each child.

A child in a wheelchair laughing with another childEducation by parents at home
This may be provided by the local  authority (LA) in exceptional circumstances.

This is a parental choice, as it is for all children. If the child has a statement of special educational needs, the LA must be satisfied that the child's special educational needs are being met.

Mainstream schools
Local schools serving children with and without disabilities.

Maintained (state) schools
These are run by LAs.

Non-maintained (independent) schools
Independent schools require LAs or parents to pay fees for the child's education. Many non-maintained special schools are run by charities.

Out-county placement
An out-county placement is when a child attends a school not run by their LA - either a non-maintained school or a school run by another LA. In either case, the child's own LA must pay the fees.

Residential schools
These provide accommodation for children during the school week or also at weekends. LAs are most likely to agree to fund residential provision if children have severe or multiple special educational needs that cannot be met by day provision and support from other agencies. In some cases (for example, for children looked after by the local authority) placements may be funded jointly by the LA and health or social services.

Special schools
Normally only for children with statements of special educational needs, although sometimes children may be admitted before the statement is complete. Most are for children with particular types of disability. Increasingly, they act as resource centres supporting mainstream schools.

Specialist units
These units for children who are multi-sensory impaired are attached to mainstream or (usually) special schools. Children may spend all of their time in classes within the unit, or spend part of their time in other classes within the school, usually with support.

Related Links

Children's assessments

Education campaign

First published: Wednesday 30 May 2012
Updated: Friday 10 April 2015