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  • Chailey Heritage School
    Haywards Heath Road
    North Chailey
    East Sussex
    BN8 4EF
  • Head: Simon Yates
  • T 01825 724444
  • F 01825 723773
  • E
  • W
  • A special independent school for pupils aged from 3 to 19 with complex physical disabilities, communication, sensory and learning difficulties
  • Boarding: Yes
  • Local authority: East Sussex
  • Pupils: 81
  • Religion: None
  • Fees: Paid for by Local Authorities.
  • Open days: Please ring the school office to make an appointment
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • Ofsted:
    • Latest Overall effectiveness Outstanding 1
      • 16-19 study programmes Outstanding 1
      • Early years provision Outstanding 1
      • Outcomes for children and learners Outstanding 1
      • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment Outstanding 1
      • Effectiveness of leadership and management Outstanding 1
    • 1 Full inspection 22nd October 2014
  • Previous Ofsted grade: Outstanding on 30th September 2009
  • Ofsted report: View the Ofsted report

What says..

The academic range of children in the school is huge - from those whom staff are still trying to discover whether they will startle (a developmental stage usually present in the first weeks of life) to those, often post-trauma, whose considerable intelligence is locked up by brain injury. It is impossible to track pupil progress against national guidelines. ‘It comes down to trying to tell individual stories’, explained the head. ‘We can’t do graphs about our cohort. It doesn’t work’. Children from a local secondary school come in and work on drama with the pupils, and the school recently performed Romeo and Juliet at the Shakespeare Schools Festival...

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What the school says...

Chailey Heritage School caters for young people with complex physical disabilities, communication, sensory and learning difficulties. The school's multidisciplinary team offers education, residential facilities, therapy and health services all based on a single site. The school shares its location with Chailey Heritage Clinical Services (CHCS) - a specialist NHS clinical team and part of the South Downs Health NHS Trust. Pupils' clinical needs are overseen by specialists in paediatric conditions, neurological problems and long-term disabilities. Therapists from CHCS make up part of the multidisciplinary team.

Chailey Heritage School has developed its own curriculum, driven by the individual learner’s needs. This means every learner has their own curriculum, built specifically for them based on their skills and desired outcomes. It is broad in that it covers all aspects of their development and it is balanced in that it weighs up, specifically for them, the input that is needed. Above all, it is meaningful to each child and their family.

The CHILD Curriculum consists of totally personalised learner profiles detailing aspirations, strengths, needs, skills long term outcomes and next steps. The profiles include:

Communication profile
Physical profile
Access Technology profile
Social and Emotional Well-being profile
Engagement Support profile
Functional Skills Profile
Powered Mobility Profile

“I’ve always found the staff to be very encouraging, always very open to communicate, always very positive, trying to get the best out of each child. Each child is different, that’s what I love as well - they always make make sure each child has their own programme and they encourage them to be the best they can.”

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What the parents say...

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2009, Simon Yates, who joined school as deputy head in 2002. His career has included posts as deputy head at St Giles’ School in Croydon, and IT co-ordinator at Grove Park School in Haringey. Also worked on the other side of the fence for East Sussex local authority, managing its special needs services.

His PGCE in English and drama at Leeds led to a post as an English teacher at a comprehensive in Tottenham, north London where he met the severely disabled stepson of his head of department and became involved in caring for him. It was, he says, a very defining moment, and also sparked his special interest in using technology to open up the world for disabled children.

Head runs the school and reports to...

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Special Education Needs

The ability to express ourselves, even to give a simple “yes” or “no” is something we all take for granted. At Chailey Heritage School, children whose active minds would otherwise be trapped by physical disability are enabled to communicate even though they can’t talk, and to get around using specially adapted wheelchairs thanks to its committed team of technicians. Chailey Heritage School caters for up to 100 of the most seriously disabled children in the country. It provides a stimulating and enjoyable learning environment for children with complex physical disabilities who, with the help of a dedicated team of teachers, care staff, support staff and volunteers, are able to reach their potential and enjoy an enhanced quality of life. The school is unique in that it provides the whole package. Education, nursing and medical care on site from a team of top paediatricians, therapists and nurses from the South Downs Health Trust, working within the school. This partnership allows the school to develop and implement tailored learning programmes for each child. It also provides respite for parents in the form of a “sleep-over” where the children can stay overnight with other children of their own age. Most of these youngsters require 24 hour care and help with just about all aspects of every-day life, so parents can’t ask family or friends to step in when they need a break. The school in Chailey, near Lewes, was founded in 1903 by Dame Grace Kimmins, a pioneer of education for children suffering from rickets, TB and even malnutrition. Today the disabilities and associated learning difficulties are much more complex; few of the pupils can talk or walk and most have minimal use of arms and hands. Whilst the majority of children suffer from cerebral palsy, some of these youngsters have been involved in road traffic and other tragic accidents. The school, which is nationally recognised and non-maintained, is also at the forefront of dual-placement in education which enables some pupils to attend part-time at their local school. Nov 09

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory Y
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired Y
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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