Which school for me (school provision)
What type of school should I go to?
If you have autism or Asperger syndrome there are lots of different types of school you might go to. Every person is different and learns in different ways so it is important that a range of options are available to you to make sure you have the best chance of achieving your potential.
We have listed below the types of school which might be available in your area (not all areas have access to all of these types of school):
- Mainstream schools: many children on the autism spectrum go to school in mainstream primary and secondary schools. If you have a ‘Statement of special educational needs’ (see below for more information), you may get extra support in school for a set number of hours a week.
- A base or unit specialising in autism within a mainstream school: some mainstream primary and secondary schools have classes for pupils on the autism spectrum. Pupils have classes in the mainstream school when appropriate and are educated in the base or unit for the rest of the time.
- Special schools: these are schools specifically for children with special educational needs. The pupils they cater for vary. Some are just for pupils on the autism spectrum, while others are for pupils with other types of difficulties e.g. learning difficulties or physical difficulties.
- Residential schools: these schools can be for children with varying needs or specific needs. Pupils who attend these schools stay overnight and have a 24-hour curriculum - meaning there is support available 24 hours a day. Some pupils who attend these schools have a 52-week placement (they stay all year round), others go home at weekends or during the holidays. Parents and local authorities should agree any arrangements for a pupil's contact with their family and for any special help, such as transport.
- Independent or non-maintained schools: these schools are not funded by the local authority. Parents can choose to pay for their child to attend one of these schools, or can make a special request to their local authority for funding if they feel it is the best option for their child.
Who decides which school I will go to?
You and your parents / carers, together with education professionals from your local authority, will decide on the best school option for you depending on your specific needs. It might be a mixture of the options given above.
You may need to have a formal assessment of your educational needs if your parents and the educational professionals working with them cannot decide on the best place for you to learn. This is called a ‘Statement of Special Educational Needs’. (See separate document on SEN within this section of the website for more information on special educational needs.) This ‘Statement’ will describe your specific needs in detail and will list all the help required to make sure your needs are met.
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The National Autistic Society The NAS publishes Schools, units and classes for children with autism and Asperger syndrome, which lists all the autism-specific provision they know of in the UK. This is available from their online shop.
The NAS also produces an Autism Services Directory which contains details of schools that cater for children and young people with autism. You can visit Autism Services Directory to search for schools in your area.
The Good Schools Guide: options for children with SEN This website provides lots of information about choosing a school and gives information about specific schools.
BBC CBeebies: Fun and Games This section of the CBeebies website has activities and games for children with SEN
BBC CBeebies: SEN More information for children with SEN including those on the autism spectrum
BBC: SEN explained This section of the BBC website offers information about SEN for parents but you may also find the information useful
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The National Autistic Society The NAS provides lots of information on autism and education and has a dedicated Advocacy for Education Service to help with getting the right kind of school support.
Teachernet Teachernet offers considerable information on all aspects of autism and education
The Good Schools Guide A good source of information about specific schools and issues surrounding SEN
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Make School Make Sense for Me Real stories from children and young people on the autism spectrum about their experiences at school.
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