Supporting Families
  • banner3
  • banner11
  • banner2
  • banner6
  • banner12
  • banner8
  • banner7
  • banner4
  • banner9
  • banner10

Kent Special Schools and Units



(Last updated August 2016) Currently updating April 2020. My apologies for the current chaos as I am in the middle of a complete reorganisation of these pages.   

If your child doesn't have a statement of special educational needs or education health and care (EHC) plan you apply for a primary school place in the same way as other parents. If your child has a statement of special educational needs or EHC plan, the school named in it must offer them a place. If your child is being assessed for special educational needs you should follow the standard process. If you don't apply for a place and your child doesn't get an EHC plan you may miss out on a place at one of your preferred schools.

 Special Schools in Kent are listed on Page One of this section, with SEN Units (Updated April 2020) on Page 2. Entries are initially the designation, the OFSTED Grade for each Special School as they are published, together with the OFSTED description of the school.  You can read the full Report on each Special School at OFSTED.

OFSTED gives each school a main Grade: Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory, Notice to Improve, or Special Measures, before justifying this in more detail. I regret I am unable to comment on Independent Special Schools. 

Schools are all age and non-residential, except where otherwise specified).  

You will find a full list of Kent Special Schools here and SEN Units here, and in the Kent Schools Commissioning Plan, following on from Page 28. 

Details of SEN Units are on Page 2

The list of categories for Special Schools below are broad, but individual entries show a more precise definition for each school. The types of school are those catering for: Autistic Spectrum Disorder; Profound, severe and complex needs (also usually including pupils with severe ASD); Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH); 

And all others at present


Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Aspire School Sittingbourne, 

This is a new school, due  to open in September 2020, for 4-11 year old children with ASD or speech, language and communication needs. It will be part of Grove Park Academies, a small Trust comprising the two nearby schools and will begin with 32 places, expanding to 168 in two years time. The new Headteacher is Neil Dipple, who I knew well in his senior role at Ifield School (see below). 

It has been a long time in the coming, and has changed considerably from the original plan in 2013 for a Free School, set up by parents, specifically aimed at high functioning children on the autism spectrum (my original entry is here). One of the parent leaders was still involved with the project when its new concept was unveiled in 2018.   


Broomhill Bank School, Tunbridge Wells. 

 A co-educational day school for 5 to 19 year olds with Communication and Interaction needs (Autistic Spectrum and/or Specific Language Disorder) with a roll of  210 including provision for 24 residential students. 

About the School (Ofsted 2018): Information about this school (Excerpt)  Since September 2015, the school has operated on two sites. Broomhill Bank West is in Tunbridge Wells, and Broomhill Bank North is approximately 20 miles away in Hextable.  The North site contains residential accommodation for up to 16 pupils.  The school caters for pupils who have EHC plans or statements for speech, language and communication needs and autistic spectrum disorder.  The school is commissioned by Kent local authority to provide a range of outreach services and training courses to local mainstream schools.  A small number of sixth-form students access courses at local further education colleges. 

Broomhill Bank Ofsted Performance
Mar 2018 Full Good
Dec 2013  Full Good


Grange Park School, WrothamSecondary with Primary Annexe.  Autistic Spectrum Disorder and severe cognitive impairment. The school is based on five sites: the main site at Wrotham (11-19) as well as partnership sites for Key Stage 5 at Mid Kent College Gillingham, Mid Kent College Maidstone and Hadlow College (16-19), together with new  KS2 Satellite provision in Stansted is now open (2020) for new Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils (ages 8-11). Designated number of students- 100. Current Roll, September 2019, 157. 

Grange Park Ofsted Performance
Oct 2016* Short Good
Nov 2012 Full Good
* To my (non-inspectorial) eyes, this Short Report is surely verging on Outstanding taking eight pages to spell out the school's qualities.'
   The HMI who conducted the Inspection was Mrs Abigail Birch, who I subsequently helped appoint to the Executive Headship of the Cedar Federation, lead school Ifield Special School (see below). 


Laleham Gap School, Margate. Communication and Interaction Special School for Children with Autism, Speech, Language and Communication Needs for ages 4-16. Up to  178 student placements (currently 196 pupils). Sadly the residential provision comes to an end, July 2020, because of declining numbers, in spite of consistent Outstanding Ofsted Reports on Residential Provision.  Did offer places for pupils with High Functioning Autism, but no mention of this on website.  

Laleham Gap Ofsted Performance
Jul 2017 Short Good
Mar 2013 Full Good

Snowfields Academy,  Bearsted, Maidstone.  Planned to admit 140 students between the ages of 11 and 18 whose primary need is ASD. To be run by the Leigh Academy Trust, one of just two Academy/Free Special Schools in Kent, the other being Milestone Academy (see below), also run by the Leigh Trust.

Stone Bay School, Broadstairs. Day and residential  for 80 pupils aged 5 to 19 years with a diagnosed autistic spectrum disorder, with severe and complex learning needs. In the October 2019 census, there were 74 pupils, 15 of them are in Years 12 & 13, and 18 in the primary section, added in the last few years.  18 of the pupils were residential.  

Stone Bay Ofsted Performance
Jan 2018 Short Good
Jun 2013 Full Good

The October 2019 Residential Ofsted found the school Good again, in all respects.


Next Page: Schools catering for children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs 

Prev Next »

Last modified on Wednesday, 20 May 2020 20:07
More in this category: Medway Special Schools & Units »