Autism Schools and Autism Colleges

We will do our best to help you look for residential autism schools and autism colleges

Why use Living Autism to help you look for autism schools and autism colleges?

We work with the independent sector and the Living Autism team will –
• Listen to your requirements
• Offer you a free and independent service
• Support you in finding the best choice of bespoke autism schools and colleges focused on specified needs
• Validate autism services within the Living Autism network
• Support you through local authority processes
• Advise you of your rights and when to appeal



Some of the providers within our network successfully support children and young adults with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) conditions alongside those diagnosed with autism.

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    Schools and Colleges

    In this section you can look for schools which support children and young adults with an autistic spectrum condition. Below is some general information on schools and colleges, how special needs are supported and how they are generally funded. This information also pertains to autism schools and colleges.

    autism schools 2


    Schools are overseen by the Department of Education. Local Authorities are responsible for implementing policy in schools. There are 3 age bands for schools:

    • Nursery — ages 3 and 4
    • Primary — ages 5 to 10
    • Secondary — ages 11 to 18

    Children are required to stay in the education system until the age of 16 and they can stay in education till the age of 25.

    There are state-funded schools and privately-funded schools. State-funded schools receive their funding from Local Authorities and are free of charge for pupils.

    There are a small number of City Technology Colleges and academies. These are secondary schools which are funded directly by the Department for Education. Academies can also accept funding from private individuals or companies.

    All state-funded schools are regularly inspected by OfSTED (Office for Standards in Education).

    Approximately, 7% of all school children and 18% of secondary school children attend independent schools.

    Special Educational Needs in Schools (inluding autism schools)

    Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) is a term used for children who have learning difficulties or difficulties that make it harder for them to learn or access education. If you have any concerns about your child’s learning it is important to get help straight away.

    Most children with SEND can be supported in their education and needs within a mainstream school. A school will use the SEND Code of Practice to assess your child’s needs and to guide the school in how best to meet your child’s needs.

    If your child’s teacher or their SEND co-ordinator (SENDCO) feels that your child needs support from outside the school, such as speech and language therapy, they will get help through School Action Plus.

    Education Health and Care Plan (mainstream and autism schools)

    Sometimes, schools cannot fully meet the needs of your child. In that case, you can ask for an ‘education health care assessment’ direct from the Local Authority. This assessment will help to identify in detail your child’s educational, as well as their health and care needs.

    If you are looking for an autism school you will need an EHC Plan.

    If your request for an assessment is accepted by the Local Authority they will carry out an assessment within 20 weeks. Once the assessment has been carried out, the Local Authority will write an EHC Plan.

    This EHC Plan will help your child access extra support. Some autistic children might need to attend a specialist autism school, either autism residential school (also called autism boarding school) or autism day school, for their needs to be met.

    autism schools 1


    After school at the age of 16, students will continue their studies in a sixth form college or a further education college. This sector is called Further Education. Further education usually lasts until the age of 19. There is discretionary financial support for students over the age of 19.

    A child with an EHC Plan can continue in education until the age of 25. Funding is accessed through the Skills Funding Agency (SFA). Colleges also have a variety of adult education courses.

    Special Needs in College (including autism colleges)

    Colleges have an obligation to make ‘reasonable’ adjustments for special individual needs. However, sometimes those ‘reasonable’ adjustments are not sufficient to support an individual. In this case, there are specialist colleges which cater specifically for the needs of people with disabilities or learning difficulties.

    These colleges are usually independent and, often, residential. Funding can be accessed through the Education Funding Agency.


    SEND Code of Practice (2015)