Skip to main content
  • Ellen Tinkham School
    Hollow Lane
    EX1 3RW
  • Head: Mrs Nikki Burroughs
  • T 01392 467168
  • F 01392 464011
  • E [email protected]
  • W
  • A state special school for boys and girls aged from 3 to 19 with severe or profound learning difficulties, and physical, sensory or behavioural needs.
  • Read about the best schools in Devon
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Devon
  • Pupils: 238 (70 girls - 168 boys)
  • Religion: Does not apply
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • Ofsted:
    • Latest Overall effectiveness Good 1
      • 16-19 study programmes Good 1
      • Early years provision Outstanding 1
      • Outcomes for children and learners Good 1
      • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment Outstanding 1
      • Personal development, behaviour and welfare Outstanding 1
      • Effectiveness of leadership and management Good 1
    • 1 Full inspection 19th April 2023
  • Previous Ofsted grade: Outstanding on 2nd March 2011
  • Ofsted report: View the Ofsted report

What says..

The ‘boy’ rabbits had just had babies when we were there, much to everyone’s surprise and delight. There’s even a school dog, a collie, currently in training. Pupils love this department and one parent told us, ‘Facilities and activities are fantastic and always being added too. Children have an opportunity to experience their particular interest or "have a go". They love rural skills.’ As well as local day trips, there are residential trips aplenty. It’s worth popping into reception just to see the videos from these trips. Amazing skiing and very brave (and happy) pupils. For the older pupils…

Read review »

Do you know this school?

The schools we choose, and what we say about them, are founded on parents’ views. If you know this school, please share your views with us.

Please login to post a comment.

What The Good Schools Guide says

Executive head teacher

Since 2022 Mrs Nikki Burroughs.


A school for Severe Learning Difficulty and Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, applications go through Devon County Council. The school will consider all EHCPs sent to them. They assess the child’s needs plus the needs of others in the school to decide if they can fully support them. Once a place is confirmed, a home visit is arranged, plus two or three taster days. One parent told us, ‘The entrance process and visiting the school was very stressful and took a long time to get agreed. Settling into the school was a lot more organised and focused on our child; this was a gradual process.’ All places are full-time but parents of children under 5 years old can opt for a phased transition from part to full-time.

Subscribe now for instant access to read The Good Schools Guide review.

Already subscribed? Login here.

Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

The Good Schools Guide writes: Ellen Tinkham is a Community Special School catering for pupils with severe learning difficulties. All pupils have EHCPs. Admission to the school is determined by the LEA special needs panel. Prospective parents are encouraged to contact the Headteacher and arrange a visit at anytime during the school year. The school operates a "Parent Buddy Scheme", with prospective parents and pupils being shown around by another parent. School age pupils follow the national curriculum, adapted and extended as necessary. Older students in further education follow programmes based around Accreditation for Lifelong Learning (ALL). The Hollow Lane club, based at Ellen Tinkham provides after school and holiday care for children with special needs.

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
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment Y
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability Y
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty Y
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health Y
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty Y
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

Interpreting catchment maps

The maps show in colour where the pupils at a school came from*. Red = most pupils to Blue = fewest.

Where the map is not coloured we have no record in the previous three years of any pupils being admitted from that location based on the options chosen.

For help and explanation of our catchment maps see: Catchment maps explained

Further reading

If there are more applicants to a school than it has places for, who gets in is determined by which applicants best fulfil the admissions criteria.

Admissions criteria are often complicated, and may change from year to year. The best source of information is usually the relevant local authority website, but once you have set your sights on a school it is a good idea to ask them how they see things panning out for the year that you are interested in.

Many schools admit children based on distance from the school or a fixed catchment area. For such schools, the cut-off distance will vary from year to year, especially if the school give priority to siblings, and the pattern will be of a central core with outliers (who will mostly be siblings). Schools that admit on the basis of academic or religious selection will have a much more scattered pattern.

*The coloured areas outlined in black are Census Output Areas. These are made up of a group of neighbouring postcodes, which accounts for their odd shapes. These provide an indication, but not a precise map, of the school’s catchment: always refer to local authority and school websites for precise information.

The 'hotter' the colour the more children have been admitted.

Children get into the school from here:

most years
quite often
sometimes, but not in this year

Subscribe for instant access to in-depth reviews:

☑ 30,000 Independent, state and special schools in our parent-friendly interactive directory
☑ Instant access to in-depth UK school reviews
☑ Honest, opinionated and fearless independent reviews of over 1,000 schools
☑ Independent tutor company reviews

Try before you buy - The Charter School Southwark

Buy Now

GSG Blog >

The Good Schools Guide newsletter

Educational insight in your inbox. Sign up for our popular newsletters.