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Special schools

Special schools often cater for children aged from 3 to 16 years old. Some special schools offer places for young people up to 19 years old.

The Right to Mainstream

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, children and young people with SEND have a right to be educated within a mainstream school if they, or their parents, want.

Mainstream schools cannot refuse a child a place for the reason that their needs or disabilities are too great or complex.

The Local Authority (Haringey) can only refuse if they can prove that a mainstream placement would not be compatible with the efficient education of others, and that there are no reasonable steps the Local Authority can take to avoid this.

However, although parents and young people have a right to request mainstream education, they do not automatically have the right to a placement at a specific mainstream school or setting.

Children WITHOUT Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)

Children without an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) must be educated in a mainstream school. The only exception would be in cases where children are home-schooled, or where parents or carers choose to pay for their child to be educated in an independent school.

Very rarely, a child without an EHCP might be offered a placement at a special school with the prior consent of their parents, or the young person themselves if over the age of 16.

Children WITH Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs)

Most children with an EHCP are educated within a mainstream school or setting.

For a child to be educated in a special school or a specialist unit within a mainstream school, the Local Authority has to agree that this is the most appropriate type of provision for the child's needs.

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Special schools

Blanche Nevile School for the Deaf

Blanche Nevile School for the Deaf provides a high-quality education for deaf and hearing impaired children from all areas of London. It is co-located with Highgate and Fortismere Mainstream Schools and offers a unique signed bilingual model of communication for children who are deaf or hearing impaired.

Visit Blanche Nevile School for the Deaf website (external link)


The Vale 

Vale School is a pioneering and innovative day special school catering for children with a range of special educational needs including; physical disabilities, medical conditions, sensory impairments, learning difficulties, developmental delay, communication difficulties.

Depending on each child’s needs, Vale school offers a tailored programme from a range of provision - mainstream inclusion with support through to specialist small group teaching and support from a skilled staff group trained to meet their needs. For a very small number of pupils with very complex medical needs that prevent them from attending school, we offer a home outreach programme while we transition them into school.

The school is co-educational and the age range is 2-16 years. There are approximately 114 pupils on roll, who are mostly Haringey residents with a few from neighbouring boroughs of Enfield, Hackney and Islington.

Vale school is situated on 4 mainstream school sites:

Visit the main Vale School website (external link).

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The Brook on Broadwaters

The Brook on Broadwaters has places for 121 pupils aged 4 - 11 years and specialises in coeducational day school provision for children with Autism (ASC); profound, severe and complex learning difficulties plus associated physical, sensory, medical, communication and emotional needs. Inclusion is at the very heart of its vision as it shares the building and learning opportunities with the Willow mainstream Primary School.


Riverside Secondary School

Riverside Secondary School is a special school for 11 to 19 year olds, who have severe, and profound and multiple learning difficulties, including those who have emotional, language and communication needs, and students with autism. The school is located next to mainstream school Woodside Secondary School. Riverside Special School now has a unit attached called 'Riverside Learning Centre'. The learning centre can meet the needs of young people with severe to profound learning difficulties and challenging behaviour, aged 14-19 years.


Mulberry Specialist Autism Unit 

Mulberry Specialist Autism Unit is a specialist Unit for primary age children with Autism within Mulberry Mainstream School. This school offers specialist teaching and daily access to mainstream peers and mainstream curriculum. Your child's specific needs will determine the level of integration they receive.

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The Grove Free School 

The Grove Free School is a specialist school in Haringey which caters for pupils aged 5 to 19 who have a primary diagnosis of autism. Many pupils have additional needs including, speech and language difficulties or difficulties associated with social communication. The school offers educational pathways for pupils who are working within the semi-formal curriculum through to GCSE examinations. You can find the school prospectuses and lots more information about the school offer on the school's website.


Approved independent special institutions

This is the Governments' Section 41 list of approved independent special institutions (external link) (independent special schools - England and Wales and special post 16 institutions) for the purposes of satisfying Section 38 (Preparation of an Education, Health and Care plan by local authorities) of the act.

We always try to place a child in a school as close to home as possible. But sometimes, if we can’t meet your child’s needs in a Haringey special school, we may need to arrange for your child to attend a special school in another borough, to make sure that they are getting the right support. All school placements are discussed and agreed with you.

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Page Last Updated:

October 28, 2022

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