SEND School Groups
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
We are continually striving to improve our provision for SEND students at the Zoo. This includes the sessions available for SEND school groups to ensure we meet the diverse needs of all our learners. Our sessions can meet the needs of many different levels of learners with a variety needs, whether they are mild or complex learning difficulties or physical, emotional and behavioural needs.
Please ensure you provide any relevant information to our education team when discussing sessions to ensure we can provide suitable learning pitched at the appropriate level for your group.
Click on a topic, or scroll down the page for more information:
- Classroom Accessibility
- Explore! Session
- Other Sessions
- Discounted Entry
- Meeting Animals
We have a number of resources designed to help you plan your visit and enjoying your day.
Click on each item to open the pdf in a new window.
- Accessibility Map
- Visual Social Story
- A Long Sensory Exploration Trail around the entire zoo
- A Short Sensory Exploration Trail around the Familiar Friends farm section of the zoo
- Basic exploration or textures, shapes, etc. (active or coactive)
- Matching games (e.g. matching colours or images to objects)
- Describing objects (e.g. matching descriptive words and/or symbols with the objects)
- Sorting objects (e.g. creating groups of furry objects, scaly objects, etc.)
Please see our disabled access page for more details and information.
Most of our classrooms are accessible to wheelchair users. When booking, please inform us if you have wheelchair users in your group. If there are multiple wheelchair users we may need to assign you to a specific classroom or modify activities to better suit your needs.
This session uses a variety of animal artefacts (including furs, feathers, and reptile scales) to allow students to explore and touch. Depending on the level of the group, the session can focus on:
This session is tailored for students working from their P-levels upwards. This session is very flexible lasting up to 45 minutes depending on the needs and levels of the pupils.
No live animals are used in this session.
Please note this session is for a maximum of 30 students.
- Science :P3 (i) (explore materials in increasingly complex ways), P3 (ii) (actively explore objects for more extended periods; may respond to options and choices with actions or gestures), P4 (explore objects and materials provided), P5 (take part in activities focused on the anticipation of and enquiry into specific environments; match objects and materials; respond to simple scientific questions) , P6 (recognise distinctive features of objects; sort materials according to a single criterion when the contrast is obvious), P7 (understand the scientific use of some simple vocabulary), P8 (sort materials using simple criteria and communicate their observations of materials in terms of these properties).
English - Reading:P6 (select and recognise or read a small number of words or symbols), P7 (show an interest in the activity of reading; understand that words are made up of letters), P8 (understand that words, symbols and pictures convey meaning).
Maths – Using and Applying Mathematics:P4 (grouping objects with similar features), P5 (sort or match objects by recognising similarities), P6 (sort objects and materials according to a given criteria), P7 (complete a range of classification activities using a given criterion), P8 (recognise and describe simple repeating patterns and classification).
If the ‘Explore Session’, as described above, does not suit your needs, please have a look at the full range of sessions we offer. All of our mainstream sessions are available for SEND groups working at a NC level. Details on all the available sessions can be found from the ‘Education Tab’ of the website under the relevant age ranges. If you are interested in booking any of these, please contact the education department to discuss your groups’ specific needs and ensure the teaching sessions are appropriate for your group. Where possible, we can adapt and modify some of the sessions to better suit your needs.
Please contact our education department at 01206332511, or 01206332512 or via email at email@example.com to discuss potential sessions or book a session for your group. If you are just visiting the zoo on a general visit, and you do not want an educational session, please complete our online booking form (click to open in new window).
A discounted rate is available for disabled pupils on school trips to Colchester Zoo. Disabled pupil rates apply to all students with physical or emotional disabilities, are the subjects of SEND statements or EHCPs, or can provide other evidence of specific needs. You may be asked for proof at entrance. A letter on school letterhead is acceptable proof. Schools are provided additional discounted adult entry at our carers rate at a 1:1 ratio per any pupils qualifying for the disabled rate. If your pupil requires a higher carer ratio, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements. Full details of all the prices for disabled pupils and carers can be found on our school’s admission page (click to open in a new window).
Please note that none of our sessions include live animals. If you would like your group to stroke or hold animals this can be done at anytime throughout the day by dropping in to the Discovery Centre, or at set times (see the sign at the building for details) at the Sensation Station. There are also animals visitors can stroke or feed at the ‘Familiar Friends’ Farm section of the zoo (see specific signs at the animals for which animals this is allowed with). These activities are all drop-in and cannot be pre-booked.