Welcome from the Headteacher

Sophie Clarke

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: 30/03/2020

Online Curriculum Offer

Dear Parents and Carers, As you know we are working hard behind the scenes to provide you with some supportive learning resources developed specifically for our pupils. We know there are lots of lovely pre- prepared online activities for you to access, but these are not always appropriate for Fordwater learners. Therefore the teachers are busy creating activities you can successfully try at home and are also making short personalised videos as well as sourcing the most useful online links. Please go to the Fordwater website and find Learning from Home in the menu bar across the top. Click on here and you will find a drop down menu of teaching activities to choose from. Please be patient, this is new for us and our teachers are doing their best to get work made for you as well as many of them having their own children to look after at home whilst they do this!  We will add learning material all the time as it gets made so please visit often and select what you feel is the best fit for you and your family. In addition to the support material and videos on our website every teacher will start to send home a fortnightly newsletter for their class with teaching ideas for the summer term. The first newsletter will be sent to you immediately following the Easter Holidays and will have links, and a few simple activities you can follow to support the new topics if you would like to do so. Please check out the section called Support from Therapists and the Communication support pages too. Here you will find blank daily schedules to adapt, ‘Now and Next’ boards and a range of routines to support you at home with personal care and life skills. If there is anything particular you would like us to include please contact me through the email address, so I can make sure it gets on the website for all parents to benefit from. In the meantime, however long that may be, please remember home is a very different environment to school and we fully understand how difficult it can be trying to continue learning with your children. The most important thing is always continuing to support communication and maintain positive relationships, everything else will be a bonus! All the best to you and your families, Kathryn Crosby - Deputy Head
Posted on: 26/03/2020

Free School Meals Offer

Dear Parents and Carers, Dear Parents/Carers I am pleased to announce that as of next Monday those pupils in receipt of Free School Meals will have a food ‘box’ delivered to school. Unfortunately this service is not being provided for those pupils on Universal Free School Meals (the entitlement for all year groups Reception, 1 and 2 pupils), only those who are in receipt of certain benefits. If you are not sure about your eligibility please do not hesitate to contact us on the support email If your financial situation has changed as a result of the current pandemic, and you wish to see if you now qualify for Free School Meals, please follow the link below: We are currently looking at the best and safest way to distribute these ‘boxes’ to you and this will be communicated either this Friday or Monday next week. These ‘boxes’ are coming centrally from County, due to the nature of what is able to be provided it may be that the food is not necessarily appropriate for all eligible pupils, ie those on a blended diet or pureed food. It is likely the offer will be food that could create a sandwich lunch box type daily meal. However families may wish to continue to receive these ‘boxes’ in order to support the rest of the family in this challenging time. If you do not wish to receive this food ‘box’ please can you let me know via and we will look at distributing it to another family who we know may be going through a difficult time as a result of the situation we are currently in. Best wishes Vicky Oliver-Catt​ - Deputy Headteacher
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