Children with Special Educational Needs may need extra help because of a range of needs, such as in thinking and understanding, physical or sensory difficulties, emotional and behavioural difficulties, or difficulties with speech and language or how they relate to and behave with other people.

Many children will have Special Educational Needs of some kind at some time during their education. Schools and other organisations can help most children overcome the barriers their difficulties present quickly and easily, but a few children will need extra help for some or all of their time in school. 

We have 67 primary and secondary schools, and a further 10 special schools or pupil referral units. 

Information about all the schools and education services in the area is also available on the Peterborough Education Network website

Click on the headings below to jump to sections you are most interested in

SEN support in schools

Every school is required to identify and meet the learning needs of every child in their school, including those learners identified as having a special educational need or those with a disability.

At school, most children will make progress with the support of their class teacher through the school’s arrangements known as SEN Support.  School governing bodies are required to publish detailed information about their arrangements for identifying, assessing and making provision for pupils with SEN. This must be school-specific and describe a school’s arrangements for providing a graduated response to children’s SEN. This is known as the School Offer.

For the small number of children with complex/severe needs who do not make enough progress despite intervention from the school, it may be necessary for a statutory assessment of the child’s special educational needs to be undertaken by the Statutory Assessment and Monitoring Service (SAMS).

‘Mainstream schools’ are maintained schools and academies (that are not special schools); maintained nursery schools, 16 to 19 year old academies and Pupil Referral Units.

Mainstream schools must:

  • Use their best endeavours to make sure that a child with SEN gets the support they need – this means doing everything they can to meet children and young people’s special educational needs
  • Ensure that children and young people with SEN engage in the activities of the school alongside pupils who do not have SEN
  • Designate a teacher to be responsible for co-ordinating SEN provision (the SEN co-ordinator, or SENCo)
  • Inform parents when they are making special educational provision for a child
  • Prepare an SEN information report and their arrangements for the admission of disabled children, the steps being taken to prevent disabled children from being treated less favourably than others, the facilities provided to enable access to the school for disabled children and their accessibility plan showing how they plan to improve access progressively over time

Every school is expected to publish their SEN information report on their website, outlining how it contributes to the Peterborough Local Offer.

Specialist hubs

To keep improving the expertise available to our children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in all education settings in the Peterborough area, we have established a growing network of specialist hubs.
The purpose of the hubs is to help raise the quality of support for all children with SEND in all schools in the Peterborough area. Each hub is a commissioned service arising from a partnership between the City Council and the host school / academy, with senior staff from each organisation working together.

Click on the map / document to see where our Hubs are located.

Special Schools and Hubs in Peterborough - Map

Size: 565.39 KB File format: pdf

You can view a Google Map showing local authority maintained specialist hubs or schools in Peterborough

Each hub has a designated type of SEND, eg Autism or Physical Disability. A centre of expertise might support a local school by:

  • Offering specialist resources and training;
  • Modelling high quality support in mainstream classrooms;
  • Providing telephone helpline and/or drop in sessions.

There are a limited number of places in the hubs for children and young people with particular types of SEND to be directly supported by the school / hub. These places are allocated by the SEND Panel as part of the Education, Health and Care (EHC) Needs Assessment process. For full details please see the EHC Plan page of the Local Offer 

Admissions Guidance For Peterborough Special Schools

Peterborough special schools provide appropriate placements for children and young people with the most significant needs and who require a curriculum which is wrapped around them so that they can engage in learning.

There are overlaps between the provision of services in some of the Peterborough special schools to enable the right of parents to express a choice for a type of school (including a mainstream school).

Peterborough recognises the 'presumption' of mainstream outlined in the Code of Practice. However, for some children and young people the combination of their needs and current context suggests the appropriateness of a special school placement. 

The Local Authority is responsible for the decision to place a child or young person in a special school.  A provision panel with a multi-professional membership considers individual children or young people with a statement or Education Health and Care Plan where a special school placement is requested and advises the Local Authority.

Children and young people who are successful in a specialist setting may return to a mainstream setting at any time, following appropriate review of their statement of SEN/EHCP.  However it is especially important to consider mainstream options at times of transition, e.g. transfer between primary and secondary phases.

Detailed guidance for making the decision about whether a child or young person would be appropriately placed in a particular special school is available by following the link below - Peterborough Special Schools Admissions Guidance 

Peterborough Special Schools Admissions Guidance

Size: 196.92 KB File format: pdf

You can view the special educational needs information on the Peterborough local offer online.

Funding special educational needs

Arrangements for funding educational provision for pupils and students with high needs were introduced in 2013 for maintained schools and academies. Funding for all high needs pupils in mainstream schools and academies is broken down into 3 main elements.

  • Element 1 - the basic entitlement
    This is the basic amount funded to the school for each pupil and varies between primary and secondary schools. 
  • Element 2 - additional need funding
    Part of the overall school budget is classified as the notional Special Educational Needs budget. It is from this budget that mainstream schools and academies are required to put in place support for all children with SEN and to contribute the first £6,000 (equivalent to approximately 11.8 hours teaching assistant time per week).
  • Element 3 - top up funding
    Where the cost of additional support is more than £6,000, the council will provide funding from their high needs block. The level of need is agreed by the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities panel and funding is provided to the school for that pupil.

Although academies receive their main funding directly from the Education Funding Agency, the top-up funding (element 3) is still the responsibility of the council.

Defining high needs

Children and young people with high needs are those who need educational provision that costs more in total, including the provision given to all pupils, than about £10,000 per year. This threshold defines the level of need that would be expected to be met through mainstream funding and those for whom additional funding is required.

Independent Special Schools and Colleges

The Government produces a list each term of the approved independent special institutions who have specific duties to work with the council in relation to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.


  • Children up to Year 11 - Travel assistance is not automatically given just because a child has a statement of special educational needs or an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, and many children with special educational needs and disabilities travel to school without special provision. However, some children with specific needs will require additional support, often for an agreed period of time and in such cases we willarrange transport to meet the specific needs of the students.  This might include various forms of transport including public transport, taxi, minibus, wheelchair accessible vehicle and bus/coach. See our school transport page for more information
  • Young people after Year 11 - As part of a young person's transition to adulthood, it is hoped that as many young people with special educational needs and disabilities will have started to travel independently by the time they reach college age. However, many young people will still require special provision or support for their travel as a result of their needs. In such cases we will arrange transport to meet the specific needs of the students, and this might include various forms of transport including public transport, taxi, minibus, wheelchair accessible vehicle and bus/coach. See our school transport page for more information.

You can view all the current transport information on the Peterborough local offer online.

Youth custody

The Local Authority (LA) will promote the fulfilment of detained young persons’s learning potential whilst they are in custody and on their release.  The LA will use the EHC plan to actively monitor progress towards outcomes

The LA and Youth Offending Service will prepare for release of the young person by reviewing their educational progress and their continuing special educational and health needs.

The LA will keep the EHC plan while the detained young person is in custody and will review it as soon as possible on release.

Support will be available to young people who are being released from custody. On the day of release from custody, they will report to the Youth Offending Service office, where their educational needs will be reviewed, linking to any agreement made whilst the young person was serving a custodial sentence and ensuring agreed provisions are in place. 

Support to engage with provision being offered will be given by either the Youth Offending Service case manager or the Youth Offending Service Education, Training and Employment Officer or both to maximise the young person’s opportunity and ability to engage with the education, training or employment provision offered. The level of support provided will depend on the young person’s assessed needs and wishes.

Appeals and mediation

If parents or young people are unhappy about certain decisions made by the Local Authority, they have a right to appeal. This would include the following areas:

  • not carrying out an EHC needs assessment
  • not issuing an EHC plan
  • content of a final or amended EHC plan
  • decision not to amend an EHC plan
  • cease an EHC plan
  • placement named in a plan

Have your say

We want to make sure that Peterborough's Local Offer continues to develop to meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and their families To let us know your views please fill in our online feedback form.