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Services summary

Clay Hill School is an independent, specialist day school providing education for young people aged 5 to 19 years with Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC), Attachment Disorders and associated complex needs. Residential care can be provided at our on-site residential homes for up to 14 young people either on a weekly, termly or 52 week basis.

We provide a warm and relaxed yet structured environment, which encourages children and young people to develop social, educational and practical skills to enjoy and achieve.

Clay Hill School takes a strong therapeutic approach to our young people’s learning and development, with all pupils benefiting from regular access to a range of therapy approaches (including Art, Family, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Psychodynamic). 

“The work of the multidisciplinary team is effectively entwined within pupils’ education plans”

Clay Hill School Ofsted Report

Our motto

“Learning about ourselves, our world and for our futures”

Our mission statement

Ensuring all pupils have the opportunity to develop cultural capital and essential life skills through an integrated and enriching curriculum; enabling them to develop the skills, knowledge and capacity to thrive and succeed.

Also ensuring all pupils can access a challenging, engaging and relevant curriculum, achieving the best possible outcomes within a calm, nurturing and purposeful learning environment

Keeping you informed

Clay Hill School is committed to honest and open two-way communication between the school and home. Whilst it is necessary to recognise any blips in a young person’s behaviour, we always try to focus on the positives, for example how quickly they were able to turn this around.

The range of initiatives that we have in place help parents/carers to feel involved in the care of their child. These include formal and informal measures, such as:

  • A same-day phone call from the school to parents/carers if there has been an incident involving their child
  • Email and/or telephone conversations as/when parents request
  • Formal reports three times a year, detailing a young person’s academic progress
  • School open days which give parents/carers an opportunity to visit the school, meet with staff and discuss their child’s progress
  • Regular celebratory school events 

“The learning environment is calm and purposeful”

Clay Hill School Ofsted Report

Rewarding progress

Values (In addition to Priory Organisation Values)


C – Creativity

R – Resilience

I – Independence

T – Teamwork

A – Aspirations

The values underpin the rewards system within Clay Hill. Within our daily rhetoric we reinforce these values, that are acknowledged and planned for within all lessons.

Each value is linked to a CRITA charater: Cleo, Rita, Izzy, Trev and Arlo. When pupils demonstrate any of the values they receive a CRITA token to put into their CRITA bank. These CRITA tokens then add up to rewards for the children that are meaningful and show they are making progress in key areas that will promote success as they develop as young people.

Working in consultation with young people

All of the young people at Clay Hill School have the opportunity to attend our weekly children and young persons’ meetings. Pupils also have the chance, as a group, to contribute many areas of the school and the way it is run (e.g. anti-bullying policy, activities, routines, finance and menus).

Pupil Progress

Academic and personal development is the key driver for our school. Each half term, the Deputy Head holds pupil progress reviews with all Class Teachers to discuss both the academic and personal progress the young people are making. This includes information from summative assessments, teacher assessments and personal development trackers.

Empowering young people to make a choice

A lot of the young people with us at Clay Hill School have anxiety-driven conditions. Staff are very mindful that, often, these anxieties are further triggered by a fear of being let down, left alone, or failing. The approach at Clay Hill School is always for teaching and care staff to remain calm, in control and to challenge behaviour with discussion, calm talking and a consistent message.

We aim to empower our young people with a consistent message that life is about the choices they make: When you make the right choice, good things happen but there will be consequences if you make the wrong one.

“The learning environment is calm and purposeful”

Clay Hill School Ofsted Report

Giving back life chances to our young people

When a young person joins Clay Hill School, we understand the focus must be on outcomes and what we can achieve together during their time with us. Yet for us, outcomes go far beyond learning in the classroom and gaining GCSEs.  Instead, we look at the individual’s onward pathway and how we can best provide the support they need to achieve their long-term life goals. Clay Hill School believes in giving back chances and opportunities in life to our young people.

An expectation of achievement

Our exceptional staff team are instrumental in helping our young people to achieve their potential. They take the time to really get to know and understand each pupil so that they can motivate and inspire them.