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  • Children aged 5-11 go to a primary school and older children aged 11-18 go to secondary schools.
  • At 16, younger people can go to college - either a further education college or sixth form college.
  • Primary schools can be for children aged 5 -11 or may be infant schools (from ages 5-7) and junior schools (from ages 7-11).
  • Special schools often cater for children from ages 3-16. Some special schools offer places for young people up to 19 years.

Nearly all children with SEND go to a 'mainstream' early years setting or school. Many children and young people may need some extra help or support at some time. Very few children will have special educational needs (SEN) that are long-term or a disability or medical condition that significantly affects their learning. It is important to identify children who do have SEND as early as possible. This is known as early intervention and makes sure they get the help they need.


What Camden expects education settings to offer?

Camden's local offer - Quality teaching and learning for ALL learners

In schools and colleges, there is an expectation that all children, including those with special educational needs, receive a universal offer of high quality teaching. This is sometimes called ‘Wave 1’ offer or ‘Quality First Teaching’. 

What does this mean?

  • Lessons are highly focused with sharp objectives
  • Teachers have high demands of pupil involvement and engagement with learning
  • There are high levels of interaction for all pupils
  • Lessons have appropriate use of questioning, modelling, explaining
  • There is an emphasis on learning through dialogue – this might be modified for children who have a special educational need

This can be summarised in the video below:

To find out how schools and settings are funded to meet early intervention, click here

Applying for schools – primary and secondary

School Admissions

The school admissions team coordinates admission to reception places at Camden primary schools as well as coordinating the transfer from primary school to secondary school.

For information about higher education, you can visit the options after 16 (college or getting a job) page.

Children with a statement of special educational needs or EHC plan

The application process is different for children with statements of special educational needs, or an education, health and care (EHC) plan. Parents of children who have a statement or EHC plan should not apply through the ordinary process, but should be guided by the SEN team of the local authority that maintains the statement or EHC plan.

You can contact The Camden SEN Team by calling 020 7974 6500 or by emailing

Children being assessed for an EHC plan

If your child is being assessed for special educational needs you need to apply by completing the common application. You do not have to wait until the assessment is completed before enrolling your child. Please seek the advice of the SEN team of the local authority that is carrying out the assessment.

You can contact the The Camden SEN Team by calling 020 7974 6500 or by emailing

Special educational need or disability (SEND)

Children have ‘special educational needs and disability’ if they have learning difficulties (SEN) or disabilities that make it harder for them to learn than most children of the same age.

The government says that children have a learning difficulty if they:

  • Have a significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of the same age


  • if they have a disability which prevents or hinders them from making use of educational facilities of a kind generally provided for children of the same age

This is the definition given in the special educational needs and disability Code of Practice (2014). The Department for Education has a guide that explains how the system that supports children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities works.

If you're worried or concerned

If you are worried about your child you should talk to their class teacher or early years setting. You could talk to another professional such as a health visitor, GP or childminder. They will be able to help find out whether your child may have special educational needs and disability.

Accessibility strategy

As part of the Equality Act 2010, it is the local authority’s duty to publish an Accessibility Strategy.

To download and view the London Borough of Camden's Accessibility Strategy for Education Settings 2017–2020, please click here.

More information - by school phase

  • To find out about early education options, click here.
  • You can find out more about mainstream schools, settings and colleges and what they offer (including links to their SEN information report) by visiting this page.
  • You can also find out about special schools and other specialist provision by clicking here
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