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Specialist Provision Hubs

Parent Carer & Family Information - Specialist Hubs

A specialist hub is an adapted classroom situated within a mainstream school. Hubs provide an opportunity for children identified as having more complex SEND to be included and educated alongside their peers in a mainstream setting, enabling them to join in with mainstream activities.

These hubs are aimed at those children with complex interaction and communication needs, including Autism and associated cognition and learning difficulties. Children will not require a diagnosis of a condition (for example Autism or ADHD to qualify for entry). Where criteria for entry into hub provision is met, discussions will take place with parents/carers about which school placement would be best. This will take account of distance from home, the needs of the other children in attendance and available place numbers at the preferred setting . All children will need an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan in order to attend the hubs.

Primary Specialist Hubs

Haughton Hollinswood Specialist Hub and Haughton Old Park Specialist Hubs are managed in partnership by the Primary School with Haughton Special School. The children will be on roll at Haughton School but will wear the uniform of the mainstream setting so that they feel part of the school community.

The hubs are aimed at pupils in Key Stage 2 i.e. year groups 3, 4, 5 and 6, as this is where we know the greatest demand for specialist provision currently is. Each hub has space for a maximum of 10 children.

Secondary Specialist Hubs

A new secondary hub at Southall Telford Langley Specialist Hub is due to open in September 2022. Young people will be on roll at Southall School, young people will wear the uniform of the mainstream setting so that they feel part of the school community.


Can children who currently attending a special school move into a specialist hub?

This is possible, as is a move from a special into a mainstream school, but if this is being considered a lot of discussion and work will happen between the special school and parent before it takes place. Children will not be moved without agreement from parents. All school placements for children with an EHC plan are reviewed yearly, as part of the annual review.

When a request for a place in a hub is received, the SEND team will consult with both the special school and the mainstream school that has been requested. Visits to observe the pupil will be carried out, by those schools, and further discussions will take place with parents. This information will then be discussed at a meeting, held by the Local Authority, which considers all requests for placement in specialist provision. All decisions are made in partnership with the schools, however, the Local Authority is responsible for either approving or declining the request.

If I want my child to attend a hub what do I do?

Discussions with parents/carers about a child’s placement in a hub should be carried out as part of the EHC needs assessment process or the EHC annual review process. Places are limited and subject to change.

Would the offer of hubs be available for families who home educate - maybe on a shared placement?

Currently this is not possible however we hope that the offer a specialist hubs provides a broader continuum of provision for parents and carers.

What about access to therapies in the specialist hubs - how would this work?

There are ongoing discussions with health commissioners regarding the provision of therapy within the specialist hubs.  This is likely to include some input from speech and language therapy.

From which school will the staff, supporting children in the hub, come from?  Haughton, Old Park or Hollinswood?

For children who attend the hub provision both sets of staffing groups will support the children (i.e. Haughton and Old Park if the child attends the hub provision at Old Park School and Haughton and Hollinswood, if the child attends hub provision at Hollinswood School.  The teacher and teaching assistants within the ‘hub classroom’ will be Haughton staff and keep oversight of a child throughout their time at school.  However during inclusion opportunities, where children take part in activities alongside their mainstream peers, they will be supported by teachers and teaching assistants from Old Park/Hollinswood.  New teachers and teaching assistants are being recruited by Haughton to run the hub provisions.

What is the progression route out of the hub (and how long will placement be for?)

The exit criteria can be found here.  All placements for children with an EHC plan are reviewed as part of the annual review process.

What is meant by the phrase ‘complex social communication needs’ - does this include a diagnosis of ADHD?

To support your understanding of the profile of needs that specialist hub provision will cater for, please find below a pen-portrait of a child that may attend this setting.

Specialist provision hubs are for children and young people who have communication and interaction needs, including those with Autism and associated needs such as cognition and learning difficulties.

Most children who attend the hub provision will show elements of both indicators below. Some may demonstrate significant complexity with communication and interaction needs (i.e. indicator 1) but are accessing a "mainstream" curriculum.

Indicator 1 - Communication and Interaction needs, including those with Autism

Due to their communication and interaction needs children will require a personalised education programme that is likely to include short supervised tasks, a visual timetable and other strategies and interventions. They may have obsessive behavioural routines and limited awareness of danger that requires adult supervision or intervention. They will experience significant difficulty in tolerating social interaction and have a limited understanding of others’ emotions. Children may be in a high state of anxiety as a result of sensory factors in the environment. Consequently all aspects of a child’s day will need to be structured. Children may have a diagnosis of Autism. They may also have additional needs including ADHD and Tourette Syndrome.

Indicator 2 - Cognition and learning needs

Children will be working significantly below age related expectations and follow a modified curriculum in most subjects that ensures appropriate access for learning. They may learn in whole class, smaller group and/or individually in a setting that provides specialist and intensive tuition. The characteristics of children may include difficulties maintaining attention for short periods of time on a required activity. They may be able to work successfully on specific tasks which are matched to individual needs in all subject areas but require specific strategies, with an adult sharing organisation of resources.


Specialist provision hubs are not intended to cater for pupils with a combination of Autism, severe learning difficulties and challenging behaviour.

This provision is not for children with a primary need of social, emotional, mental health SEMH).

Children may display behavioural challenges as a result of the difficulties they have faced accessing the curriculum and engaging with school activities or those that arise from the social communication needs (for example as a result of sensory needs).

Please note – a child does not require a medical diagnosis of a condition for entry into hub provision. Rather the combination of need and impact on a child’s learning will be used to determine the appropriateness of entry into a hub.