London Borough of Croydon

Specialist early years settings

Many children with special needs are able to go to local playgroups and nurseries. However, if a child’s special needs are complex or severe, parents may find that a specialist nursery would be more suitable. These settings work closely with therapists to support individual children. 

As places are limited, admission to specialist Early Years provision is managed through a central process within Croydon council. This ensures that each child is considered equally and fairly, based on their educational needs.

For more information please contact the Early Years SEND team: or tel. 020 8604 7263.

Specialist Nurseries

Rainbow Nursery offers specialist care for children with a variety of additional needs, including those with severe and profound learning difficulties and disabilities.  

Rainbow Nursery,
Crystal Children’s Development Centre
Malling Close,
Stockbury Road,
Telephone: 020 8655 5684

Willow Tree Nursery ELP at Gilbert Scott School provides a setting for children with severe learning difficulties and autism.

Gilbert Scott Primary School,
Farnborough Avenue,
South Croydon CR2 8HD
Telephone: 020 8657 4722

Winterbourne Nursery ELP at Winterbourne Nursery and Infant School provides a setting for children with moderate delay and a combination of speech, language and social interaction difficulties. Some children may have a diagnosis of autism.

Winterbourne Nursery and Infant School,
Winterbourne Road,
Thornton Heath,
Telephone: 020 8689 7684.

Other specialist support

Entry Criteria and Admissions 

Entry Criteria downloads

Admissions Process

Educational psychology service

Educational Psychologists provide a range of advice and support to early years settings and to parents and carers across all special needs and disabilities.

Contact the team:

Educational Psychologist
Octavo Partnership
4th Floor
Croydon Clocktower
Katharine Street
Tel: 020 8241 5460

Hearing Impairment
Pre-school service: teachers of the deaf offer visits to parents and carers at home and to staff in early years and pre-school settings in order to provide information and support in relation to all aspects of managing the needs of a child with hearing loss.

Visual Impairment:
Pre-school service: specialist teachers work with children from birth who have a diagnosed visual impairment. Referrals are mainly received from ophthalmology clinics, hospitals and health professionals, though parents and teachers can also refer children to the service. If there is a concern about a child's vision a medical opinion should be sought in the first instance through the family GP or local optometrist.

For more information see Croydon Sensory Support Service.

Support for parents

  • Jubilee Chill ’n Chat: Weekly groups for parents/carers of children (0-5) with special needs. Information, support and 'me-time' treats to keep you going!

Chill 'n Chat leaflet

Tuesdays 9. 30 - 11.30 am:
Woodlands Children's Centre,
Gilbert Scott School,
Farnborough Avenue,
Monks Hill,
South Croydon ,
CR2 8HD.
Contact Rachel Cummings or Jane Carey, parenting and family support worker, telephone: 07704 061916.

Wednesdays 1pm - 2.45pm
Kensington Avenue Children’s Centre,
Kensington Ave.,
Thornton Heath
CR7 8BT.
Contact Jane Carey, telephone: 07704 061916

National Early Support Service:  Provides a range of useful information on different conditions and issues such as sleeping problems and rare conditions. Telephone: 020 7843 6000,


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