Clay Hill School - Hampshire

Clay Hill,
SO43 7DE

Tel. 02380 286450

Fax. -

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Clay Hill is an independent special school providing education for up to 25 young people aged 5 to 19 years with autism and possible associated learning difficulties. Up to 14 young people can be resident, either on a weekly, termly basis or 52 week basis. The school, is situated near Lyndhurst, Hampshire in the heart of the New Forest; ideally located for easy access across the south of the country.

Services offered:

  • An individual education and care plan
  • Appropriate peer group and curriculum
  • TEACCH system throughout the school day
  • A consistent and structured approach
  • A comprehensive and intensive approach to the communication and language needs of the young people
  • Social and living curriculum
  • Behaviour management psychologist
  • High staff to pupil ration in both education  and residential settings
  • Therapeutic input from a dedicated therapy team
  • 52 week, 38 week or weekly placements, as well as emergency and respite residential placements for a young person who is already attending the school, if required
  • For more information about the education services we provide in your local area, click here

Clay Hill School’s service includes a day school and three separate houses. All the houses are designed to be comfortable, homely and reflect ordinary domestic style living. Each house consists of a lounge, kitchen quiet area and some of the bedrooms have en-suite facilities.  All our students are encouraged to personalise their rooms to reflect their individual personality and preference.

Every young person is allocated a case manager who is responsible for co-ordinating and facilitating our inclusive approach across all internal and external service. The case manager has responsibility from admission through to transition into adulthood within the wider community. Our young person also has an allocated key worker who will be responsible for the day-to-day co-ordination of all aspects of their life at Clay Hill School.

Each and every member of the Clay Hill School staff team is passionate about the quality of service we provide to our residents, ensuring that their individual plans and programmes are tailored to their needs and that every young person is challenged at a speed that is appropriate for them.

To read the Priory Specialist Education Safeguarding Statement, please click here.

Admissions Criteria:

  • Boys and girls aged 5 to 19 years
  • A diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder or evidence of behaviours which are in accordance with such  a diagnosis
  • Possible learning difficulties within the moderate to severe range
  • Adequate, or potentially adequate physical ability to participate in a physically demanding programme of learning
  • No reported adverse medical conditions or factors
  • Appropriate family commitment to supporting and maintaining programmes at home

Clay Hill School can meet the needs of children with autism and associated complexities. A vital element of admission process is to ensure that the needs of the child referred can be met and that their admission does not have a detrimental effect on the wellbeing and safety of others.

Admissions Process:

  • A description of the child’s special educational needs will match the admission criteria
  • Senior managers from Clay Hill School will arrange to meet the child and their parents/carers. Teachers will review in detail any additional paperwork associated with the education and care of the child.
  • An offer of an assessment place is made, during which the pupil’s initial response to their experience of Clay Hill School is evaluated.
  • The pupil will be offered a place at Clay Hill School

If the young person is offered a place at the school, they may remain until the end of the academic year in which they are nineteen, or may leave at an earlier point, depending on their Local Authority policy and arrangements.

Clay Hill School considers referrals from all cultural, ethnic or religious backgrounds.


Our aim is to bring about the best in every student to enable them to receive a positive educational experience and to progress according to their own individual skills and abilities.

Whilst some may attend local mainstream schools and colleges, the majority of young people in our residential houses will attend Clay Hill School.

Clay Hill School adopts a multidisciplinary approach to education using the best practice from models such as TEACCH and those developed throughout Priory Education Services. Pupils have access to the National Curriculum, adapted and modified to meet their individual needs, and will learn in small classes of up to six and where applicable one-to-one tuition.

We offer a whole school approach to the curriculum which provides:

  • Structure and routine
  • A modified environment and learning processes
  • Experienced and qualified staff
  • Development in independence training, self-help, communication, social and leisure skills.

Clay Hill School staff will support our young people whilst they’re doing work experience. Students have the opportunity to access mainstream colleges for further education and will be supported by the staff of Clay Hill School.

Close family communication is encouraged to promote consistency in each young person's personal development.

Holistic and Therapeutic approach:

  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Art therapy

Accommodation and facilities

Clay Hill School is near Lyndhurst, Hampshire in the heart of the New Forest. It is well situated for easy access across the south of the country, close to the M27 and M3, approximately two hours drive or one and a half hours by train from London and just five minutes from Brockenhurst train station.

Clay Hill School compromises of a day school and three separate residential houses. All the houses are designed to be comfortable, homely and reflect ordinary domestic style living. Each house consists of a lounge, kitchen quiet area and some of the bedrooms have en-suite facilities.  All our students are encouraged to personalise their rooms to reflect their individual personality and preference.

We provide an environment that is free from discrimination, where young people have the right to be treated with respect and dignity.

Quality and regulation

Priory Education Services has a system for auditing the services provided against the regulations detailed by Education Inspection Standards. These are implemented at individual school level by managers and staff as part of the day to day life and work of the school and include expectations, systems, policy and procedures. 

Each school is audited for the quality of its provision and outcomes for the young people in its care by Priory's Regional Managers and by the School Improvement Partners who visit every term. The 'Every Child Matters (ECM) agenda is at the heart of everything we do.

Clay Hill School’s performance is monitored against the standards set by regulating bodies and internal company specific performance indicators.