Across the UK, there exist more than 1,000 special educational needs schools.*

The proportion of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) continues to rise.  As of January 2019, there were just over 8.8M pupils in total, including 1.3M pupils with SEN.  SEN pupils represent 14.9% of the total pupil population.

These schools cater to students with a diverse array of needs, including those with physical disabilities, social and behavioural challenges, and/or learning disabilities. All providing good education and support for these children.

The four areas of SEND needs

Communication and interaction

Children and young people with speech, language, and communication needs (SLCN) who have difficulty understanding and communicating with others. This may include those with ASD, including Asperger Syndrome and Autism.

Cognition and learning

Children and young people who learn at a slower pace than their peers, and those with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD). For example dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dyspraxia.

Social, emotional, and health difficulties

Children who may be withdrawn or isolated, as well as those displaying challenging, disruptive, or disturbing behaviours. These behaviours may reflect underlying mental health difficulties. For example, anxiety or depression, self-harming, substance misuse, eating disorders or physical symptoms that are medically unexplained.

Sensory and/or physical needs

This includes children with a disability that prevents or hinders them from making full use of general educational facilities. For example, those with visual or hearing impairments, multi-sensory impairments, and/or physical disabilities.


Identifying children with SEND

Health services will check a child’s health and development from birth to school age. Screening, tests, and checks form part of the healthy child programme. Local health services will work with schools to make sure that the child’s needs are met when she or he starts nursery or school. The NHS pays for these services.

A young person over the age of 16 is likely to have already had their needs identified and have a support plan. However, colleges do have learning support teams to identify students with additional needs and give them support.

Laws that apply to children with SEND

For all children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, including those with EHC plans, the law is as follows:

The Children and Families Act (‘CAFA’) 2014 is statute law and legally binding. This means that the local authority and schools must comply with it or else they are acting unlawfully. Part 3 of the CAFA 2014 contains the relevant sections about children and young people with SEND.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 are the main set of regulations underpinning the CAFA 2014.  They are also legally binding.

Special schools are funded from the high needs block

High needs funding supports provision for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) Is provided to local authorities (LAs) through the high needs block of the dedicated schools grant (DSG).

Types of Schools

The apparent range of options available to children with special needs can be overwhelming. Depending on the nature and severity of disabilities, as well as presence of any coexisting disorders, the options include different types of schools.

Key differences between them include:

  • The amount of time pupils spend in mainstream versus specialist classes.
  • Any specialism the school may have in particular conditions
  • How the school itself is funded, be it state or independently funded


The majority of children with SEN in the UK attend mainstream schools. State funded schools are required by law to provide the support and physical adjustments necessary for a child to be able to fully participate at school.


SEN units are special provisions within a mainstream school where the children are taught mainly within separate classes. These units receive additional funding from the local authority specifically for the purpose of the provision, they cater for a specific type or types of SEN (e.g. autistic spectrum disorders) and are usually for pupils with statements or those with EHCPs (Education, Health and Care plans)


Resourced Provisions are where places are reserved at a mainstream school for pupils with a specific type of SEN, taught mainly within mainstream classes, but requiring a base and some specialist facilities around the school.


A school which is resourced and organised to provide for the education of pupils with an EHCP who need a high degree of support in the learning situation and in some cases specialist facilities, equipment, and teaching. There are also independent special school that are fee charging special schools independent of local authorities.

The importance of specialist care equipment

To provide quality education to children, schools need to be equipped with the correct specialist equipment to allow their students to get the proper education they need in a comfortable environment catered to their unique requirements.

It is important to remember that for SEN schools to regularly assess the needs of the students and ensure that the care equipment provided is up-to-date and appropriate for the evolving needs of the student’s requirements. Therefore, having specialist equipment to help when transferring a student or for general hygiene purposes can make all the difference to the way these students perform in school.       

Types of specialist education equipment

Specialist equipment to schools and early years ensures pupils who have significant special educational needs can have better access to the curriculum and in many cases can develop and advance a pupil’s independence.

The essential equipment a school would take into consideration are listed below,

  • Specialist seating and standing equipment.
  • Specialist communication aids.
  • Toilet aids, hoists, slings, freestanding height adjustable changing tables.
  • Sensory equipment such as radio aids or portable sound field systems and Perkins or electronic braillers or Braille notes.

An equipment provider you can trust

Wealden Rehab have been equipment providers to schools across the UK for many years. Our history of excellence has made us the preferred choice for those seeking exceptional products and services in this field. We are committed to providing tailored solutions to match the users’ specific needs.

Our mission goes beyond product supply; it's driven by a desire to enhance the quality of life for individuals with limited mobility. Whether it's promoting greater independence, improving comfort and safety, or providing peace of mind, we're dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of those who rely on our solutions.

Bathing & Hygiene

Getting the right bathing and hygiene equipment is essential for students with limited mobility to feel comfortable and secure during their bathing routine. Our specialised bathing equipment is designed to address the needs of the user and is ideal for SEN schools for several reasons:

  • Addressing Diverse Needs: Bathing and hygiene equipment, such as a shower trolley, is designed to accommodate students with specific needs and can help with a range of requirements. This ensures that every student, regardless of their abilities, can maintain personal hygiene comfortably and effectively.
  • Promoting Dignity and Independence: Many students require assistance with personal hygiene tasks. Equipment like the RAZ SP shower chair can aid students in participating in hygiene routines with as much independence as possible.
  • Ensuring Safety and Well-being: These specialised pieces of equipment are designed with a focus on safety, minimising the risk of accidents or injuries during hygiene routines.

These specialised pieces of equipment contribute to creating an inclusive and supportive environment where students can engage in personal care routines with comfort and confidence.

Moving and Handling

In the healthcare industry, the importance of tailored solutions for student support cannot be overstated. The correct utilisation of moving and handling equipment is instrumental in aiding individuals with mobility challenges, playing a pivotal role in ensuring both safe and dignified care. Here's why these specialised equipments are indispensable:

  • Ensuring Student Safety: Specialised moving and handling equipment, such as ceiling hoists and transfer slings, are crucial for ensuring the safety of students with physical disabilities or limited mobility during transfers from wheelchairs to desks or other surfaces.
  • Promoting Independence: The provision of suitable moving and handling equipment empowers students in SEN schools to achieve greater independence in their daily activities.
  • Supporting Personalized Learning: Recognising the uniqueness of each student and their distinct needs and abilities, specialised equipment tailored to individual requirements significantly contributes to creating an inclusive environment where all students can actively participate.
  • Facilitating Inclusion in Activities: Appropriate specialised equipment enables students to participate in mainstream activities, including physical education, fostering social inclusion and enhancing engagement with peers in various learning and recreational settings.
  • Preventing Physical Strain on Staff: Acknowledging the vital role played by teachers and support staff in assisting students with special needs, the use of suitable specialised equipment helps reduce physical strain on educators. This proactive measure prevents injuries and ensures effective support for students without compromising the well-being of staff.

The presence of moving and handling equipment in SEN schools are essential for championing safety, independence, personalised learning, inclusivity in various activities, and the overall well-being of both students and staff.

Hygiene rooms

Hygiene rooms are vital in SEN schools, yet they are often overlooked and hastily considered, this results in impractical spaces for the intended users. We've gathered insights from our experience to guide you on creating an effective hygiene room.

  • Optimise Space: Aim for a spacious hygiene room, ideally 3m x 4m or larger, to accommodate wheelchairs, students, carers, and equipment comfortably.
  • Choose Appropriate Equipment: Consider the student's current and potential future needs. Evaluate the necessity of hoists, opting for ceiling hoists when applicable to streamline operations and maintain student dignity.
  • Plan Showering Facilities: Assess the frequency of showering needs and choose between wall-mounted beds or accessible shower trolleys based on the student's requirements.
  • Strategically Position the Toilet: Centralise the toilet with ample space on each side, especially if hoisting is involved. For teenagers, consider toilets with washing and drying features to preserve dignity during adolescence.
  • Central Location: Place the hygiene room centrally within the school to ensure quick and easy access for all students, regardless of year or class, especially during limited break times.
  • Create a Positive Atmosphere: Design the hygiene room to be cheerful, bright, warm, and inviting. Fostering a sense of safety and security is crucial for students in vulnerable positions.

Care Spaces by Wealden Rehab specialise in creating safe and accessible environments, particularly for educational institutions. We understand the importance of hygiene in shared spaces, especially for students. With the team expertise, they can assist in installing hygiene rooms suited to the students needs and school regulations. From concept to completion, Care Spaces is dedicated to guiding you through every step of your project, enusuring that the process is seamless and the end result is a secure and clean environment for your students. 

For more information on hygiene room contact the Care Spaces team by emailing -

Further reading:

  1. *Key UK education statistics
  2. Area guidlines for SEND schools 

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