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‘One of the areas where Sheiling has excelled is in the quality and variety of therapies available,’ one parent told us. In-house staff include a speech and language therapist, an occupational therapist and a positive behaviour support co-ordinator. There are also Steiner-inspired therapies like eurythmy, an expressive movement art that can stimulate spatial awareness; massage therapy for relaxation; and colour light therapy, which engages over-stimulated senses by immersing students in colour and sound in a calm way. Students follow a three-year course and can learn vocational skills like green woodwork, horticulture, retail skills, small animal care and ...

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What The Good Schools Guide says

Head of college

Since 2016, Mike Gamble. After graduating from Birmingham in genetics and biochemistry, Mike spent 25 years at Sense, working with people of all ages who have sensory impairments, learning disabilities and autistic spectrum disorders, becoming vice principal of Sense College in 2011. Parents agreed, ‘He is very good, very approachable and understanding.’

Principal since 2011 is Corine van Barneveld, previously head of care at the school after starting as a volunteer 25 years ago and working her way through roles.


For entry, students need to be functioning at entry levels 1 to 3, although spiky profiles are the norm. Most school students move onto the college (after assessment), making up around one third of the cohort there. Higher functioning students or those who could cope with adaptations to mainstream colleges...

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Special Education Needs

Sheiling College is part of the Sheiling Special Education Trust, which is a registered charity and non-profit making company. Sheiling College is an Independent Specialist College for young adults aged 19-25 with severe, complex and moderate learning difficulties and disabilities. The college provide an inclusive, uplifting education and care environment that meets the needs of the whole person. These goals are at the heart of our provision, and their attainment is assisted by the picturesque natural setting and the community style of Sheiling College. In the context of a safe and welcoming setting, learning experiences and opportunities are real-life based, all of which help Sheiling College to be an innovative and effective provider. Set in a sustainable and eco friendly 50-acre site close to the New Forest and Dorset coastline, the natural surroundings of our college provide a rich, enabling and therapeutic learning environment for students aged 19-25, who have a special educational need. We specialise in autism and communication difficulties, severe and complex learning disabilities and challenging behaviour. Students at Sheiling College are studying at either Entry 1, Entry 2 or Entry 3 Level. The college offers an individualised and flexible approach to placements through 38 or 52 week, day, extended day, weekly, termly and year round boarding. We also offer respite services during the holidays. Our Rudolf Steiner-inspired College conducts modern best practice whilst respecting and developing every student’s sense of self. Students are encouraged and supported to be resourceful and caring individuals, to explore the world of feelings, behaviour and values. We focus on building confidence and skills in different environments and social groups, whilst also developing functional independence in college and beyond. By creating a ‘least restrictive environment’ for our students, the college promotes enthusiasm for learning and cultivates an inclusive environment which allows each student to discover and realise their full potential, in a safe, fun, learning environment.

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

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