S41 and market entry applications

Approval of independent special schools and post-16 institutions

Section 41 of the Children and Families Act 2014 allows the Secretary of State to publish a list (the S41 list) of approved independent educational institutions, independent schools and special post-16 institutions.

Institutions can only be included on the list with their consent and following an application process.

Institutions which choose to join the approved list make themselves voluntarily subject to certain duties in Children and Families Act:

  1.  Local authorities’ published local offer of support must refer to the providers on the approved list;
  2. Providers on the approved list have a reciprocal duty to co-operate with the local authority on arrangements for children and young people with SEN.

In addition, the Children and Families Act 2014 gives parents and young people the right to express a preference for independent specialist provision when their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) is being agreed and completed. Under section 38 of the Act, if an EHC Plan names a maintained school or academy, FE college, non-maintained special school or approved independent provider, the local authority must secure a place at that institution and the institution must admit the student. This puts approved independent special post-16 institutions on the same legal footing as FE colleges, which can be named as a preferred provider. 4

High Needs Students Market Entry process

This is for institutions that wish to apply to receive an Education Funding Agency (EFA) contract to deliver education and training provision for high needs students (HNS).

Completing the application process may lead to the offer of an EFA contract for services. Successful completion of this process does not entitle the institution to receive a local authority funding agreement and institutions should contact the relevant local authority to establish their individual process. The EFA HNS Market Entry Application Process consists of four stages:

  • Stage 1 – legal status and background information
  • Stage 2 – financial health assessment
  • Stage 3 – quality of provision
  • Stage 4 – panel decision

All the relevant documents are available here: