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Most children and young people who have an EHC plan will attend a mainstream school. For some, it might be right for that child or young person to go to a specialist setting, school, or college, or specialist unit. Assessment by a number of different professionals will help to decide whether a specialist setting is appropriate. The parent’s views and advice will be an integral part of the decision making process for a specialist or mainstream setting.



Early years

All early years settings in Camden make provision for children with SEND, including school nurseries, private and voluntary sector nurseries, and children’s centres.  Early identification of a child’s special educational needs, informed by relevant assessments, is important to help families and settings identify what strategies and interventions will best help a child make progress.

Some children will require more specialist support than can be provided from within that setting, and there are teams and support services in Camden who help with additional support. These include:

Some teams work across all settings, and some work in particular settings. 

Children who require additional support in all settings have access to targeted support from a range of services, including family support workers and health professionals. Some settings (such as early years centres) have a range of support services providing information, advice, guidance, and direct support on site.

Children with more complex SEND may benefit from attending provision where there is more specialist support made available on site.  Camden has ‘enhanced’ places for children with social and communication difficulties or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in five local settings. For further details, see the section on Early Education and childcare.

  • For further details about Camden's Children's Centres, click here.
  • A list of early years providers in Camden can be found here.

Special schools and additionally resourced provision

To go to a special school or a specialist (additionally resourced) provision in a mainstream school, a child or young person must have an EHC plan or a statement of SEN which sets out the specialist support necessary for the child/young person.

There are nine special schools and specialist (additionally resourced) provisions in Camden catering for children and young people with a wide range of needs. Some of these schools are ‘maintained’. That means they are in the state system. Some are independent special schools.

Children with learning difficulties (special educational need)

Most children with learning difficulties attend mainstream provision.

  • Swiss Cottage School is a large, five times outstanding special school in the London Borough of Camden, accommodating 232 children aged 2-19 with complex learning difficulties.
  • Swiss Cottage is a highly successful teaching school leading an alliance of schools and other organisations, offering professional development for staff. It also has a development and research centre, which works locally, nationally and internationally.
  • In addition, it offers short breaks facilities - for out of school hours learning and small residential facilities for overnight stays for selected children from both within and beyond the school.

Children with Autism

We have three primary schools that have an additionally resourced provision for children with Autism:

  • In addition, Acland Burghley secondary school has an additionally resourced provision for children with Autism.

Torriano Primary School has an additionally resourced provision for children with complex language and communication difficulties, but who have not been diagnosed with autism. The resource base supports children in Keystage 1 and Keystage 2. 

Children who are deaf

Provision for children and young people who are deaf within Camden is primarily in mainstream early years settings, schools and colleges. Placements are supported by two qualified advisory teachers of the deaf.

We also have:

  • Frank Barnes School (a specialist primary school for deaf children). Frank Barnes makes provision for children from the age of 2-11, and offers a range of courses and training opportunities both for families of pupils, the wider deaf and hearing community, and other professionals.


Children are supported wherever possible to access mainstream provision, including children who have cochlear implants. Where deaf children at secondary age with a range of more complex needs require specialist provision, we access places outside of the borough depending on the needs of the children. 

Further information about non-maintained schools outside of Camden is available on the Department for Education list that can be accessed under external links. 

Children with physical disabilities

We have a primary school additionally resourced provision for children with physical disabilities at Kentish Town School.

For secondary age, we also have additionally resourced provisions at

Camden also has Physical Disabilities Outreach Service that works across all primary settings as well as supporting transition to secondary.

Social, emotional and mental health needs

A Pupil Referral Unit is an education provision where a young person can be placed if they are having difficulties in school and need a shorter time away from their mainstream school in a specialist setting. Children who are excluded from their primary school can also be placed in a Pupil Referral Unit.

  • For secondary school age young people we have provision at the Camden Centre for Learning (CCfL). In CCfL there are two types of provision – a pupil referral unit (as described above) and a special school. The PRU and special school is integrated on seperate Keystage 3 and Keystage 4 sites. 

There is also support offered for mental health needs (e.g. school phobia/anxiety). Schools work with a variety of different services and agencies to provide support within the school.

If a child requires support in addition to this, the Thomas group on a short-term basis and also through the Royal Free Hospital School can provide specialist intervention. A referral from a consultant is required to access provision in the Royal Free Hospital School.

Local provision for local children

Camden seeks to make provision for children and young people in local maintained provision wherever possible. This includes both mainstream and specialist provision, and also includes maintained provision in nearby boroughs. 

When considering specialist provision in neighbouring boroughs, parents are advised to consider Camden’s SEN transport policy. Where a child is eligible to receive transport assistance, this will be considered on the basis of the nearest suitable school to home.   

Links to specialist provision in neighbouring boroughs are below:

To search for Ofsted inspection reports for any school, you can click here. (will open in a new window)

Where we cannot meet needs locally, Camden will consider funding independent provision that can meet the child’s needs. In exceptional cases, residential provision will be considered. A link to the Department for Education list of independent and non-maintained schools (also known as section 41 list) can be accessed by clicking the link.

Further Education

Alexandra Centre is Camden’s new provision for young people aged 16 to 25 with profound and multiple learning difficulties or severe learning difficulties, some of whom have complex autism and / or physical difficulties.

The new college opened in September 2015. It is offering personalised learning for 20 young people, rising to 50 by September 2017.

Camden Council is developing the college in partnership with Westminster Kingsway College. The service is run by the charity MacIntyre, which has achieved good outcomes for students with a similar range of needs in its provision elsewhere. For further information about post-16 options, please click here.

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