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: 3/09/2018

Autumn Term 2018

Welcome back everyone to a new academic year.   I hope you all have had a fantastic summer and enjoyed the sunny days with family and friends.  We are looking forward to getting back into the swing of school life.   We started off the academic year with two busy INSET days.  On Monday we kicked off with our Fordwater Values training.  The staff worked together to look at different Values that matter to us as individuals, groups and at an organisational level. Through group activities and workshops we discussed the importance of a shared Value based Culture and Identity at Fordwater.   At the end of the day we came up with 6 Values that we now identify as our Core Fordwater Values: Fun, Respect, Achievement, Independence, Fairness and Understanding.  We are excited to work on these Values over the course of the year.   Our 2nd training day ensured staff are up to date with important statutory training including Safeguarding, Universal Medical Precautions, E-Safety and Sensory Processing.   We welcome 2 new SSA’s, Charlotte and Danielle, to the school.  We welcome Roy, our new Governor (see Governor’s Page) alongside our new Clerk to the Governors, Carol.  Vicky Oliver-Catt has now started in post as our new Deputy Head.  She is looking forward to meeting with you over the coming months.   We have many exciting things on the horizon this year including working on developing our Curriculum and assessment, amongst many other initiatives.   Autumn is always a really busy term at school with lots of exciting things to look forward to including Harvest Service, Jeans for Genes, Duke of Edinburgh residential and everything that comes with Christmas.   Look out for our weekly newsletter that will be sent to you on Parentmail giving you our highlights for the week and any important dates that are upcoming.  The pupils will this week name the newsletter and we hope to introduce this communication within the next few weeks.   I am delighted to be starting another exciting year at Fordwater and have no doubt we will have a great year full of joy and achievement.   As always please contact me, Kathryn or Vicky if you have any questions.   Sophie
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