Part of our local offer

Choosing a school

Choosing a school

It is a big decision for parents and carers to choose a school for their child or young person. You will want an environment where your child is happy, safe and able to benefit from the type of teaching that enables them to learn, develop and meet their potential.

In Newcastle we have a range of different schools including:

  • Mainstream (Academies, maintained schools, free schools and others) 
  • Mainstream schools with additionally resourced provision for specific special educational needs, these are called an ARP for short
  • Special Schools that specialise in support for children and young people with complex special educational needs and disabilities above what mainstreams schools can offer

In Newcastle, the majority of children and young people with special educational needs can and do attend mainstream schools and achieve well in terms of their personal and academic progress.


Why choose a Mainstream school?

Mainstream schools can provide additional support and skilled class teachers will adapt lessons to meet children’s level of ability and learning style.  Accessibility has also greatly improved as schools have been re-built or modernised.

If children or young people require specific therapy this can still be accessed in mainstream provision and, if your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), will be clearly identified in the plan for your child or young person

Many children with special educational needs attending a mainstream school also benefit from developing friendships in the local community and engaging with a cross section of peers.

Funding for schools

Mainstream schools receive a budget to support children with special educational needs, in some circumstances, apply for ‘top up funding’ from the local authority to spend on an individual child that requires more specific support.

Short term funding may be available through Individual Pupil Support (IPS) funds whilst those children who have long term needs beyond the level that can be met from within school funds needs can receive funding through their EHCP.  

Newcastle City Council is committed to supporting as many children as possible in mainstream schools, where this is appropriate to their needs, The additional costs to support your child will be detailed in the Education, Health and Care Plan, therefore funding should not prevent your child from attending mainstream school.

For more information about funding please see this page: SEND funding guide.

School with an ARP or a Special school?

Some children with special educational needs may need to be taught in a more specialist provision. This could be a mainstream school with enhanced provision or a special school. 

We have a number of mainstream schools with enhanced mainstream provision for children and young people with particular special educational needs such as hearing impairments, visual impairments, speech and language difficulties, physical difficulties, autism spectrum disorders and social, emotional and mental health needs. A list of these schools is available here.

Some children with complex special educational needs might need a place in a special school.  A list of the special schools is available by searching for special schools. We would always try and ensure that a child’s needs could be met in a maintained school, academy, free or special school before considering a place in a school in the independent or non-maintained sector.

In many cases these schools are of some distance from Newcastle, for example in Durham, which may involve long travel times for children and young people.

If you believe that the authority should arrange special educational provision for your child at an independent or non-maintained special school or an independent school, or a school out of Newcastle’s Local Authority area, you can request this.

Local Authorities are required to provide a list of independent schools and colleges in England and Wales, which are approved by the Secretary of State for Education.

The list is also available here State approved Section 41 schools.