Welcome from the Headteacher

Sophie Clarke new

Welcome to our website. My name is Sophie Clarke and I am the Headteacher at Fordwater School in Chichester, West Sussex. I hope you enjoy visiting our site and that it gives you an informative insight into life at our school. 

Our school caters for pupils aged 2 – 19 years with severe and complex learning difficulties. We have an experienced and committed team who are dedicated to high standards of education, care and supporting behaviour. We aim to make the learning experience fun with a curriculum that meets the specific needs of each individual through a wide range of enriching activities.

The school is organised into 3 departments; Primary which includes Early Years, Key Stages 1 and 2; Secondary which includes Key Stages 3 and 4 and Sixth Form (16-19 years,) each having a head of department. There are 16 classes each with a teacher and two or more Special Support Assistants. The majority of pupils are grouped according to age but we also have specialist class groups for some pupils.

The main part of the school was built in the 1960’s but we have extended and replaced areas to meet the constantly changing needs of our pupils. We have some excellent facilities including our well maintained hydrotherapy pool and a food technology room, new multi sensory rooms, a play barn, well resourced outdoor playgrounds and many other exciting resources which enhance the education of our pupils.

In school we are supported by speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and a full time school nurse who work together with our teaching team to ensure our pupils needs are fully met from a multidisciplinary perspective.  All our pupils have an Education and Health Care Plan which inform individual education plans and provide tailored learning steps which enable them to progress at an appropriate pace. We pride ourselves on the diversity of our population, high standards of behaviour and the respect that pupils show to each other.

We participate in many activities outside school; pupils at Fordwater contribute to their community through charitable work, work experience and participation in local events. We take pride in our links with both the local and wider community.

We care not only for our pupils but also for their parents and carers. We encourage parental participation and working in partnership. Our aim is to help our pupils be healthy, happy, keen learners, well prepared to move on to life after school.

Throughout the school calendar you will have the opportunity to share in the excitement of your child’s education. Do come and see the school for yourself, you will be most welcome. I hope you will find our site informative and will be inspired to want to know more about us. Please feel free to email me directly at the following email address:

The school Business Manager  is Trevor Hood who will make an appointment should you wish to visit. You can contact him at the following email address:

Latest News

Posted on: 16/04/2018

Summer Term 2018

Welcome back to the Summer term at Fordwater. What a busy one we have planned. I hope that your Easter breaks were as restful as they can possibly be. We had a busy build up to the holidays. We had a very successful Easter Fayre where we raised well over £400 for the school through the PTFA.  Thank you to our PTFA for their ongoing invaluable support to the school. We enjoyed a vibrant Easter assembly at the end of term with lots of singing and opportunities for tasting Easter foods. We experienced a busy Sports relief week where the pupils enjoyed Zumba classes, rebound sessions, a competitive bike simulator (for staff as well) and our annual walk around Graylingwell. Thank you to Maria for organising.  We had a fun science week organised by two of our teachers Shelley and Charlotte. On the Friday of science week we welcomed the group Sublime Science in for the day who treated our pupils to a range of messy and fun experiments (you can see a range of photos on the website from science week). I am also delighted to announce that following a rigorous and intensive day of tasks and interviews before the holidays, the governors and I have decided to appoint two Deputy Headteachers for Fordwater. Congratulations to both Vicky Oliver-Catt and Kathryn Crosby who will both become our Deputy Head teachers from September 2018. We are very lucky to have appointed Kathryn who brings a wealth of experience as a senior leader in training, teaching and learning, creative arts and curriculum development.  She will also provide consistency to the school and continued support to staff. Kathryn has a tangible passion for Fordwater and the ethos and values we hold dear. We are also delighted to appoint Vicky who is a seasoned and highly experienced senior leader in special education. She is currently working in senior leadership in a complex needs school. Vicky has many areas of expertise including staff deployment, developing systems and process, driving though operational and strategic initiatives and pupil assessment. Both candidates showed a true passion for improving outcomes for children with special needs and a commitment to innovation and excellence for Fordwater. Due to these appointments we will now no longer be looking to appoint an Assistant Head during this academic year as we had planned.  I am sure you will welcome both Kathryn and Vicky and look forward to meeting them during the new academic year. It is an exciting time for the school.   We have lots planned for the Summer term and it will prove to be a busy time. We are holding a Well being week from the 14th of May. Where we have lots of fantastic ideas and activities to promote pupil and staff well being. Further details will follow. The summer term will also bring our Sports week, annual Summer Fayre and open evening as well as awards evening, leavers assembly and the school prom plus much more. Please keep an eye on parent mail and the school website for updates regarding these events. I cannot believe that I am in the last term of my first full year at Fordwater. It is such a fabulous place to be and I am delighted with how the school is progressing and moving forward with our wonderful pupils at the heart of everything we do. Let’s hope the weather starts to brighten up and we can look forward to the sunshine over the next few weeks.   As always please feel free to contact me at any time.   Sophie
Posted on: 8/03/2018

Spring News

Website News Blog It’s been a busy Spring Term so far, with such a short term there’s a lot to pack in. We were delighted with our inspection in January which highlighted our positive, nurturing environment and how we promote positive achievement for our pupils. If you haven’t already done so, please take the opportunity to read the Ofsted report on the website.  We also featured in a double page spread in the Chichester Observer highlighting this positive achievement. We were pleased to host the PTA Valentine’s Day disco before half term where children enjoyed a boogie with their friends and some tasty snacks!  We welcomed our local authority Link Advisor, Louise Stallard, into school to specifically look at how we include our pupils with a range of diverse needs; she was really impressed with our schooland how we differentiate support and learning to our pupils. We have had an Inset Day where staff received training in a range of statutory courses including First Aid, Poolside Safety, Moving and Handling to name a few. Thank you for your understanding regarding the enforced closure of the school due to adverse weather on 1st and 2nd March. We have rescheduled World Book Day for Friday 9th March and hope to have a fun day. We look forward to Science Week, and also our Easter Fayre which is being held on the 28th March.  You will have received a letter asking for donations of chocolate eggs and any tombola prizes and we hope to see as many of you as possible.  There is a Non-Uniform Day on 23rd March – please remember to bring your donations on the same day.  This coincides with Sports Relief Week and you will receive a letter explaining activities in due course. We have received lots of enquiries from prospective parents looking to place their children at Fordwater which is positive for the school.  We are currently advertising for a Deputy Head and look forward to making an appointment before Easter to start in September 2018. Have a fantastic Easter break when we get to it and please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time.   Sophie Clarke
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