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Specialist Resource Bases (SRBs)

What is a Specialist Resource Base?

Specialist resource bases (SRBs/bases) provide children and young people with the extra support they need within a mainstream school.

Children and young people do not need to have an education, health and care (EHC) plan to attend a base.

Support can happen in three ways:

  • Permanent placement at an autism or Deaf base
  • Temporary sessional placement at a base while attending home school for up to 4 terms depending on need
  • Outreach (in-school) support to a child at their mainstream school. This may include support for staff at the mainstream school too.

All children and young people attending all types of bases will have individual learning plans. They are supported in a specialist class and will attend mainstream classes in varying amounts of time, alongside whole school activities where appropriate.

If a child is attending a temporary sessional base a plan will be agreed to support their return to the home school.

There is regular communication with parents/carers. Parents/carers are closely involved in planning and reviewing their child's learning and all bases follow the school's process for parents' evenings, reports etc. Parents/carers are also invited in for events.

Bases are part of mainstream schools across the county. There are different types of bases. 

Admissions process for specialist resource bases

The admissions process for specialist resource bases (SRBs):

  • Is started by your child's current school
  • Follows a discussion with the class teacher and SENCo (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) or a review meeting if your child already has an Education, Health and Care Plan

You do not need an Education, Health and Care Plan to access SRB places.

Sessional placements

For Learning and Cognition, Speech, Language and Communication and Social. Emotional and Mental Health SRBs, children remain on the roll of the home school. They attend the SRB in varying amounts of time throughout the week for a period of two to four terms.

Permanent placements

You can request a referral for a permanent place at a Deaf base or autism base. If successful your child will move schools and if they have an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) the school will be named.

It's important if your child has an EHCP that the school invite your child's education, health and care plan (EHCP) coordinator to any meeting where a potential specialist school place is discussed. They are experienced and knowledgeable and can offer advice.

How admissions are decided

Before a request is made the child's current school must contact the base lead teacher to make sure information is shared. A visit by a member of the base or supporting professional should be made to observe the pupil.

All referrals are then discussed at an admissions meeting every half term by a panel (group) of professionals. The panel includes Base Lead teachers, Special School teachers, Educational Psychologists and other professionals.

Deaf Resource, Autism and SEMH panels are chaired by a Local Authority representative. They will have an in-depth discussion about your child to decide if a base will best meet their needs. 

Everyone will decide together, using the paperwork that has already been prepared and circulated including observation notes. The decision may be deferred if the base is full and an offer could be made at a later date.

If this happens other bases may be considered and offered. The most local base to the child's home will always be prioritised.

If a place is not offered a reason will be given and shared in a following letter.

How to query a decision

If you're not happy with the decision made contact your school's Special Educational Needs Coordinator, or if your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan, contact your Education, Health and Care Plan Coordinator.

Autism bases

Pupil profile

Children and young people on roll at an autism base have Special Educational Needs related to social communication difficulties and autism. They may show  signs of:

  • Social communication and social interaction challenges
  • Repetitive and restrictive behaviour
  • Being over or under sensitive to the school environment
  • Highly focused interests or hobbies
  • Extreme anxiety

They are likely to have a range of other needs such as a specific learning difficulty, unregulated behaviour, or emotional, physical and/or medical needs.

The children and young people should have the ability to access the school's mainstream curriculum once their barriers to learning have been addressed. They should also be able to access some elements of the autism base and school independently.

The support available

Autism bases provide permanent placements until the end of the education phase of the school where the base is located. There is no automatic transfer to another base or special school at the end of the phase. A new referral would be needed if appropriate.

The autism bases offer a low arousal space with a highly structured, predictable environment where visual support strategies are used. Some autism bases have dedicated sensory spaces.

The number of placements varies from school to school. Class provision in the SRBs have smaller numbers of children and extra support staff in place. They are likely to have 10-25 spaces.

One or two qualified teachers manage the day-to-day running of the base. They are supported by higher level teaching assistants (HLTAs) and teaching assistants (TAs). All staff are trained and experienced in working with children and young people on the autism spectrum or social communication difficulties.

They can call on expert advice from an educational psychologist (EP)  specialist teachers from  Norfolks' special schools and specialist teachers from the Local Authority.

Each child or young person has an individual learning plan. They will access school lessons, activities and events as much as possible. If they are unable to access some lessons at any time children can, complete their work within the autism base space.


Key stage 1 and 2 (years 1 to 6)

Key stage 2 (years 3 to 6)

Key stage 3 and 4

Autism with complex needs base Norfolk

Pupil profile

There is one 26 place autism with complex needs base at Sprowston Infant School for children of reception age and in key stage 1. It is for children who have:

  • A learning disability or who are working well below expected levels in all areas
  • A complex profile/multiple diagnosis
  • Significant sensory needs
  • Very limited interests
  • Significant communication difficulties

The support available

The environment is highly structured and predictable. If children access mainstream classes, they will be supported by an adult from the base.

 The curriculum is highly personalised and bespoke, with children taught in SRB for all of the school day, accessing other schools activities in varying amounts of time depending on individual needs.

The children will have one-to-one and small group learning with sensory regulation activities central to the day.

Attention autism, intensive interaction sessions, speech and language support, including picture exchange communication system (PECS) and Signalong are offered as appropriate.

Deaf base Norfolk

Pupil profile

The child or young person will have a moderate/severe/profound hearing loss which is their primary special educational need plus, one or more of the following:

  • Significant delay in language development
  • Significant difficulty with accessing the curriculum within a mainstream setting, even with training, support, specialist equipment and reasonable adjustments
  • Not reaching their potential within a mainstream school/early year setting
  • Would benefit from access to a Deaf signing peer group and Deaf culture 

The support available

The environment is set up to support with amplification systems. All Deaf bases have a teacher of the Deaf as part of the dedicated staff team. There is also access to speech and language therapy.

The Deaf bases are part of a whole school supportive ethos. The provision is flexible and can include individual, small group and mainstream teaching.

The curriculum includes the Deaf studies curriculum and learning about deaf role models.

Through attending a Deaf base, Deaf children and young people have access to a Deaf peer group.


Virtual School for Sensory Support and Virtual Secondary Resource Base

The Virtual School for Sensory Support supports Deaf children and young people who are not on role at Deaf bases through home and school visits (including early years settings and special schools). They also provide opportunities to meet other Deaf children both physically and virtually.

Learning and Cognition (LCN) bases

Pupil profile

Learning and cognition bases are for children who:

  • Will be able to make enough progress so that they can return to mainstream after their placement
  • Have assessed needs which relate to learning difficulties
  • May also have other needs such as speech language and communication, specific learning difficulty, physical, medical or sensory needs
  • Are on roll at a mainstream school
  • Do not meet the criteria for complex needs schools
  • May have difficulties with independent learning skills that are barrier to their learning; such as listening and speaking well, completing work on their own and asking for help

You do not need an Education Health and Care Plan to access support.

The support available

The learning and cognition bases offer sessional placement for up to 4 terms. The children attend the learning and cognition base four days per week, with their fifth day at their home school.

They have small classes of up to 10 pupils with a high adult to child ratio. The staff includes a teacher and extra support staff. Children access various inclusion activities in the SRB school as part of the placement.

The bases follow the national curriculum differentiated as appropriate.

Children and schools can access support from our learning and cognition outreach teacher, who provides advice, support and training.

There is also a Dyslexia Outreach Service who provide services to children, schools and families as part of the SEND local Offer for Learning and Cognition support. The team is supported by an educational psychologist, a specialist teacher from a Norfolk Special School. 


Key stage 1 (up to year 2)

Key stage 1 and 2 (year 1 to 6)

Key stage 2 (year 3 to 6)

Speech, language and communication bases in Norfolk

You should read the speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) support guidance before considering exploring a speech language and communication base offer.

Get information if you have concerns about your child's learning.

Pupil profile

Speech, language and communication bases are for children in the 4-7 age range who:

  • Have a primary need of speech language and communication
  • Have an understanding of what is being said within the average range
  • Have been assessed and referred by an NHS Speech and Language Therapist (SALT)
  • Need intensive speech and language therapy integrated into the curriculum
  • Have been referred by the home school or pre school in consultation with the child's SALT

You do not need an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to access support.

The support available

The speech, language and communication bases offer sessional placements of between 2-4 terms. Children attend four days per week, with a fifth day at their home school.

There is a maximum of 10 children allocated to each class in a base. The staff team includes a qualified teacher with experience and expertise in supporting children with speech and language difficulties, plus support staff and access to dedicated speech and language therapist time per base.

Children access various inclusion activities in the SRB school as part of the placement. The bases follow the national curriculum differentiated to support language and learning needs. Children have regular sessions with the SALT.

Progress and targets are shared between the SRB and the home school with aim for the child to return to the home school full time usually within four terms of support being provided.

Children and schools can access support from our speech, language and communication outreach teacher, who provides advice, support and training.


Key Stage 1 (up to year 2)

Social, emotional and mental health bases in Norfolk

Pupil profile

Social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) bases offer placements for children who have social, emotional and mental health needs. They are a place where all children can flourish.

Their social, emotional and mental health needs will have been identified by professionals at their home school and they will have already had additional support at school.

In addition to this, they may also:

  • Have difficulties in forming relationships
  • Need support to regulate their emotions
  • Need support with interactions with peers
  • Have significant difficulties with school routines and expectations
  • Demonstrate behaviours that negatively impact their and/or others' progress

They must live within a 45-minute car journey of the base they are attending. This is important because the base works closely with both the home school and family to understand the needs of the child. Children must be on roll at a Norfolk mainstream school and referred in line with the age range for the bases. They do not need to hold an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to attend.

The support available

Class sizes are smaller with a total of up to eight children. Each base has a lead teacher, a higher-level teaching assistant and teaching assistants. They are supported by the base adviser, educational psychologists and a family learning support team.

The first term is spent settling in and getting to know the child to help them engage with learning. Provision is typically four days a week with one day retaining links or attending the mainstream school where the child is on roll. It is important that the home school works and liaises with the SRB throughout the placement to ensure a successful reintegration at the end of the placement. Professional and therapeutic support is available to meet the identified needs of the child.

Each base has access to a family learning team, who will build relationships with families and provide support during the placement. The aim of this is to provide opportunities for the family to engage in their child's learning and development.

Each child will have their own personalised plan to support them with targets agreed at the start of the placement. There will be regular reviews of this plan during the placement. During the placement, the amount of time each child spends back in their home school will increase. The plan will include a reintegration package to support the child's return to their home school on a full-time basis.

Specialist interventions are available for children within the bases following assessment.


Key stage 1 (up to year 2)

Key stage 1 and 2 (year 1 to 6)

Key stage 2 (year 3 to 6)