Skip Navigation LinksHOME/School Life/Curriculum/Special Educational Needs

Special Educational Needs

The school has a well-established department, Learning Support, for boys with special educational needs, specific learning difficulties or disabilities. Learning Support is located in the Tony Little Centre (CIRL) and is staffed by the Head of the Learning Support, the Deputy Head of Learning Support, one full-time Learning Support Teacher and three part-time Learning Support Teacher, all of whom have specialist experience and qualifications. The Head of Learning Support is the school's Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Co-ordinator (SENDCo).

At present about 17% of the boys in the school receive such assistance, which continues for as long as they need it. A high degree of success is achieved in ensuring that they can do full justice to their abilities.

Scholarship and Common Entrance

As set out in the Eton’s admissions information and Equality Policy, the school’s admissions procedures have been designed so as to ensure equal opportunities for admission to the school subject to the prospective pupil meeting the academic standard required.

At age 11 and at Common Entrance, account is therefore taken of any assessment within two years of the examination by a qualified professional as an adjunct to a separate report by a school’s SEND department which provides further evidence, based on current need, for the requested examination concessions (eg extra time, large print material, use of a laptop or other special arrangements). The school’s accompanying report should contain up-to-date information about the candidate’s history of need, the provision he receives and his usual way of working. Furthermore, the report should contain scores (standardised, where possible) for reading accuracy, reading speed, reading comprehension, spelling and handwriting speed (which must also include reference to the legibility of handwriting, the quality of language and handwriting / typing speed with/without 10% and 25% extra time) and any other relevant information. Other relevant information, for example, may take the form of standardised scores for non-verbal reasoning, verbal reasoning, phonological processing, and visual-motor processing speed. The concessions requested should reflect the degree of current need of the candidate. It is vital that this information is passed on to the school to ensure that correct accommodations are in place where applicable.  If a boy is offered a place, this information will be used to ensure that his start at Eton is successful and that all support and accommodations to ensure full access to his education is in place.

For entry at any other stage, academic ability will be assessed by reference to a boy’s academic progress and future potential taking into account his current educational needs. However, it is vital that historic reports are also made available to the Head of Learning Support to ensure a smooth transition and as guidance when ensuring appropriate provision and support is in place.

F Literacy Test

The ‘F Literacy Test’ is administered by the English Department to F Block at the start of Michaelmas (Week 2 - 3). The 40 minute ‘F Assessment’ comprises standardised tests in spelling, reading and writing speed. Data from the ‘F Literacy Test’ is used to help monitor progress and to provide evidence of a history of need when formulating a decision about examination concessions.

This literacy test is also administered to any boy joining at various points throughout the school. All new C Block boys will also sit this test.

Preliminary Assessment

Any boy who comes to the school with a history of special educational need undergoes a preliminary assessment to identify the areas in which the boy requires support and to assess whether such support will be provided by the school under its duty to make reasonable adjustments to prevent disabled pupils being put at a substantial disadvantage. A ‘Preliminary Assessment’ can be arranged for any boy about whom there are academic concerns during his time at the school. Preliminary assessments are undertaken at the parents’ expense.

If adjustments need to be put in place, they will be discussed with the boy’s parents and [medical] advisers, including any reasonable adjustments that will be made by the school.

Secondary Assessment

Every boy who has a history of receiving concessions for internal and public examinations is individually reassessed at the start of their public examination courses (E and C Block) for an up-to-date record of current need. This secondary assessment assists in determining appropriate examination concessions for internal and public examinations. Final decisions about examination concessions for internal and public examinations rest with the school, in its capacity as an Examination Centre, in order to meet the Joint Council for Qualifications’ (JCQ) guidelines.

External Assessments

The College uses independent Educational Psychologists to undertake an independent assessment. Any external assessments with an Educational Psychologist must be people that are recommended by the Head of Learning Support, as outlined by the Joint Council for Qualifications.  External assessments not done by a recommended professional will not be accepted by the school and cannot be used for access arrangements. There are also external assessors that the school can recommend with regards to areas such as ADHD and Speech and Language Difficulties.


Boys are taught in small groups, in pairs or individually, according to the degree and nature of their specific need. Lessons are organised at the beginning of each half (term) and they take place around the demands of a boy’s normal academic timetable and co-curricular activities. Provision normally takes the form of one forty-minute lesson per week.

Boys with specific learning difficulties and/or disabilities are placed on the school’s Learning Centre List (SEND register), which is confidential other than on a "need-to-know" basis. Subject masters and tutors, for example, are kept up-to-date about boys on the register and their specific needs, and are given appropriate strategies to apply in the schoolroom. House Masters, Dames and tutors are also kept informed of progress and of any particular issues that arise.

Assistance covers areas such as: organisation; higher literacy skills; study skills. Comment Cards and End of half reports are written on all boys who receive tuition. The Learning Centre also offers support to boys for whom English is an additional language.

Charges for Learning Support Services

At this point in time, lessons are not charged by Learning Support but there is a strict referral process in place before lessons agreed.  All internal assessments, other than the ‘F Literacy Test’, are charged.  Parents will be notified by the House Master of any assessment charges prior to the assessment being completed.  Assessment charges will be added to a boy’s bill at the end of each Half.  External assessments are also charged and those are organised by the parents and the recommended professionals.