Choosing a school


Parent/carers can find choosing a school for a child with SEN or disabilities to be a big decision. You may be choosing your child’s primary school, a change of school or your child’s secondary school. You are likely to be looking for a school that:

  • can meet your child’s special educational needs or disabilities
  • can provide them with the opportunity to make friends
  • enables your child to be involved in a variety of in-school and out-of-school activities
  • is as close to home as possible.

What to consider when choosing a school

How can I find out about schools in the East Riding?

Most children attend their catchment area school. This is the primary or secondary school that is designated as serving the area where you live. It will normally be the nearest school to your home. Information about schools in the East Riding can be found on the council's website:

Schools, colleges and academies - East Riding of Yorkshire Council website (external website)

If your child has significant SEN it is advisable to begin the process of choosing a secondary school for your child 24 months before he/she is due to transfer. You may wish to speak to your child’s primary school and professionals who work with your child for their views about the schools you are considering.

Maintained mainstream schools

A maintained mainstream school is a state school that receives its funding from the local authority (LA), follows the National Curriculum and is inspected by Ofsted.

Ofsted website (external website)

Academies, independent ('private' or 'public') schools and free schools


Academies are state-funded independent schools.

Each academy has a funding agreement (contract) with the Secretary of State for Education. The funding agreement provides the framework within which the academy must operate. Funding Agreements differ from school to school and are published on the Department for Education website:

Funding allocations for academies - GOV website (external website)

To find academies in the East Riding visit the council's website to search:

Academies - East Riding of Yorkshire Council website (external website)

Independent (‘private’ or ‘public’) schools

Independent schools do not receive government funding and are reliant on receipt of school fees paid by parents and donations.

Many select pupils on the basis on ability in:

  • academics, or
  • sport, music and artistic talents.

Others are generally non-selective – the only criteria being the parents’ ability to pay the fees. Some independent schools offer bursaries and scholarships to talented students. East Riding of Yorkshire Council aim to make sure that whenever possible children and young people are educated in East Riding schools. If this is not possible the Council may use approved Independent Schools.

For more information on Independent School placements see:

East Riding of Yorkshire Council Independent School Placements (pdf 45kb)

These schools have been though a quality assurance process, are regularly reviewed and are expected to provide the authority evidence of standards and outcomes each term. This is to ensure a high quality school is chosen. For information about Independent Schools in the East Riding and surrounding areas visit the Independent Schools Council website.

Independent Schools Council (external website)

Free schools

Free Schools are non-profit making, state-funded independent schools. They can be set up by a wide range of proposers – including charities, universities, businesses, educational groups, visionary teachers or committed parents. For information about open free schools or free school applications see:

Free Schools information - GOV website (external website)

The Hub School and Specialist Services

For more information on Hub Schools and Specialist Services visit the Hub school page on the Local Offer.

Enhanced Education Resources

East Riding of Yorkshire has contracts with some schools to provide enhanced education resources which aim to:

  • provide a specialist enhanced resource that offers a broad and balanced curriculum for children and young people who have an Education, Health, and Care Plan
  • provide a caring, stimulating and consistent environment in which pupils can learn.

The process for securing placement within an enhanced education resource is as follows:

  1. School confirms during Annual Review they are unable to meet pupil needs

  2. School refer to East Riding of Yorkshire Council Special Educational Needs Panel

  3. Special Educational Needs Panel recommends consultation with enhanced education resource

  4. Enhanced education resource confirms whether they are able to meet pupil needs

  5. Pupil placed at enhanced education resource.

The enhanced education resources are:

Primary Schools

Brough Primary - Provision Type: Social, Emotional, and Mental Health

Croxby Primary - Provision Type: Social, Emotional, and Mental Health

Hornsea Primary - Provision Type: Social, Emotional, and Mental Health

Inmans Primary - Provision Type: Autistic Spectrum Condition

Keyingham Primary - Provision Type: Autistic Spectrum Condition

Secondary Schools

Harland House (Bridlington Sports College) - Provision Type: Social, Emotional, and Mental Health

Harland House (external website)

Hornsea School and Language College - Provision Type: Autistic Spectrum Condition

The Market Weighton School - Provision Type: Autistic Spectrum Condition

Howden School - Provision Type: Autistic Spectrum Condition

Holderness Academy - Provision Type: Autistic Spectrum Condition

Enhanced Education Resources

Special schools are specifically organised to meet the special educational needs and disabilities of children and young people. They may have smaller class sizes, specialist facilities and equipment and staff who have received additional training.

There are 3 special schools in East Riding:

Riverside Special School

Age: 2 to 19 years, including EYFS and Post-16 provision.

Range of needs supported: On completion of our wonderful extension and refurbishment, the school has been designated as supporting pupils who present with SLD, PMLD and Complex Needs. Currently the majority of pupils have MLD and Complex Needs. The phased transition to cater for a wider range of additional needs in underway now that the building programme is complete. Post-16 provision began in September 2018 and has developed to near capacity since then.

Support and interventions available to meet the needs of the children/young: Riverside School currently supports children aged 2 to 19 years who will typically have a variety of learning difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Conditions and medical or sensory impairments that present a barrier to their learning. Our new change of designation now includes pupils with severe learning difficulties and profound needs as children join our younger classes.

Our new seven classroom extension includes a Hydrotherapy pool, a sports hall, gym, sensory room, small group rooms and office space. The refurbishment of our existing building was completed by September 2019, so that our age range and provision could gradually expand from 2 years old to 19 years old and to develop to meet the needs of a wider range of conditions.

The refurbished area includes an immersive sensory room, science room and IT suite. We continue to develop our outdoor learning space to ensure this becomes an integral part of our offer.

Planned intervention groups take place by a skilled team of Learning Support Assistants to help us to meet individual needs.

Address: Ainsty St, Goole, East Yorkshire, DN14 5JS

Contact number: (01405) 763925

Contact email:

Website: (external website)

St Anne’s School and Sixth Form College

Age: 2-19

Range of needs supported: St. Anne's School is a day school with residential provision, catering for 2-19 year olds. Our school provides a quality, inclusive education for pupils with learning difficulties and those with MLD, SLD and profound and multiple needs. The school is a specialist in providing education for those with Autism Spectrum Condition.

Support and interventions available to meet the needs of the children/young people: On site residence providing 24-hour curriculum, autism support through designated communication groups, staffing levels appropriate to the level of need, onsite medical support, fully adaptive curriculum and facilities, sensory curriculum, post 16 provision preparing for adult life and employment, extra-curricular activities through off site provision, inclusion with local primary schools, sensory garden, sensory room, hydrotherapy pool, children’s kitchen, trampolines, soft play playgrounds, horticulture and poly-tunnels, and a small animal care facility.

Address: St Helen’s Drive, Welton, East Yorkshire HU15 1NR

Contact number: (01482) 667379

Contact email:

Website: (external website)

Kings Mill School

Age: 2-19 years

Range of needs supported: Kings Mill School caters for pupils with learning disabilities (MLD, SLD, PMLD and Complex Needs). We are a day school with residential provision during the week. Our post 16 provision is in our Sixth Form Centre based at Driffield School and Sixth Form.

Support and interventions available to meet the needs of the children/young people: Our school motto is learning for life and we adapt our provision to meet the needs of each learner within small class groups. We have formal, semi-formal and informal curricula which allow us to choose learning activities appropriate to each pupil. We also run an ABA programme in 2 dedicated classes. We are well equipped with a hydrotherapy pool, rebound room, sensory rooms and sensory integration room. We make good use of the local community thanks to our convenient location and fleet of minibuses. Our post 16 provision focuses on preparing for adulthood with opportunities to experience the world of work as well as local colleges.

Address: Victoria Road, Driffield, East Riding of Yorkshire, YO25 6UG

Tel: (01377) 253375

Website: (external website)

For information about special schools in the East Riding visit the council's website.

Special Schools - East Riding of Yorkshire Council (external council website)

Special Schools Admissions Policy

For information on the application and allocation process for admissions to the three community special schools in East Riding of Yorkshire please view the special schools admissions policy:

East Riding Special Schools Admissions Policy (pdf 115kb)

For a further summary of special schools in the area please visit Hull's Local Offer website:

Local Special School information - Hull Local Offer website on Connect to Support (external website)

Does my child need a statement or an Education, Health and Care Plan to attend a special school?

Children must have a statement of SEN or an Education, Health and Care Plan to attend a special school unless the child is accepted on an assessment placement. Assessment placements might be offered to children under 5 with complex needs or when immediate support is needed for a child following a sudden onset or deterioration of the child’s difficulties.

Can I ask for a special school that is not in the East Riding?

Yes. You can express a preference for a school in another area.

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Assessment and Review Team (SENDART) will consider your preference and talk to you about whether the school is suitable, compare the cost and ask ('consult') that Local Authority (e.g. Hull) if they can offer a place for your child.

You can also ask for a non-maintained or independent special school. You may feel that a particular school has good facilities and would therefore be best for your child.

SENDART will listen to your views, however, the starting point for them will be whether there is suitable provision within local and neighbouring-maintained schools. They will take into account what provision your child needs and the cost of the placement. For information about independent and non-maintained special schools in England visit the The National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools website:

National Association of Independent Schools and Non-Maintained Special Schools (external website)

Can I ask for a residential special school?

A residential school may be considered where there is multi-agency agreement that your child has severe or multiple SEN, or medical needs that cannot be met in local day provision.

List of approved independent special institutions (known as Section 41)

Section 41 allows the Secretary of State, by order, to publish a list of approved independent special institutions (Independent Special Schools – England and Wales and Special Post-16 institutions). Institutions can only be included on the list with their consent. This list is updated termly and can be viewed on the GOV.UK website:

GOV.UK - Section 41 Secretary of State approved list (external website)

Factors to consider when choosing a school

Before making a decision it is important that you find out more about the schools you are considering. You can:

  • ask the school to post or email to you a copy of their prospectus or alternatively look up information about the school (such as pupil numbers, name of headteacher, contact details) on the internet. Schools in the East Riding have been asked to publish information about how they meet pupils’ special educational needs on their websites. This is the school’s Local Offer. Click on the Local Offer button on the school’s website.
  • Download a copy of the school’s latest Ofsted report from the Ofsted website.

Ofsted website (external website)

Other factors to consider might be:

  • how to maintain your child’s friendships
  • the distance from your home/place of work/childcare/other family members
  • the out-of-school opportunities available, and
  • how different schools describe the arrangements they have for supporting pupils with SEND.

Where can I ask questions?

Some schools will have designated open evenings for parents which may be a suitable opportunity for you or you may need to arrange a separate visit to suit your circumstances.

Before your visit think about the questions you would like to ask the school and who you would like to meet, for example the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).

Questions you might like to ask include:

  • How many children would be in your child’s class/tutor group?
  • How do the school provide support for children with special educational needs? (You can ask for a copy of the school’s SEN policy and their SEN Information Report)
  • Has the school knowledge or experience of your child’s special educational needs?
  • Are all the areas of the school accessible to your child?
  • How will your child be supported outside the classroom?
  • What extra activities does the school offer at lunchtimes and after school? Will your child be encouraged and included in these?
  • How do the school manage challenging behaviour? (You can ask the school for a copy of their discipline policy)
  • How is bullying dealt with at the school?
  • How can the school help your child mix and make friends?
  • How does the school communicate with parents?
  • When are parents invited to talk to their child’s teacher(s)?
  • What arrangements are there for parents to get involved in school life?

After the visit

Consider the following:

  • Did you feel welcomed at the school?
  • Do you think your child would be happy at the school?
  • What were the school’s strengths?
  • Did the school answer all your questions?
  • How will my child get to school?

Apply in time for places

Make sure that you apply in time for places at primary and secondary schools. You can apply online on the council's website:

School places and admissions - East Riding of Yorkshire Council (external website)

If you want your child to change schools (in-year application) either because you are moving house or change in circumstances you can also apply online or obtain a paper application form from the school admissions team.

You may be concerned about your chances of being allocated a place for your child at the school of your choice. You can use the information about numbers of applications contained within the admissions guides or speak to the school admissions team for information to help you.

If your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan the process for expressing a preference for a school place is different from children who are on SEN support.

Contact the Special Educational Needs or Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)

SENDIASS is an impartial and confidential service that provides information, advice and support in relation to special educational needs. We are able to offer support with understanding your rights and the process of requesting a school, college or setting.

Tel: (01482) 396469


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