Chelfham Senior School'': Yelverton, Devon, UK | Best Boarding Schools
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Chelfham Senior School is an independent specialist primary and secondary, day and residential school for boys and girls aged 7 to 19 years who have complex learning difficulties including behavioural, emotional & social difficulties (BESD) and autism.

The school specialises in working with these young people and students in developing their progress in all areas such as education and acquiring appropriate social, independence and living skills.

Chelfham Senior School focuses on the best possible academic and social outcomes for every learner. For this the school offers: continued and ongoing support with learning and life skills; individually tailored programmes for education, social and personal development; a positive environment to bring about positive change, opportunities to integrate into community life; strong links with local employers to provide an extensive work experience programme for pupils; and safe, secure and independent living environment.

Those activities are supported by therapeutic approach: individual care pathways tailored to individual needs; cognitive behavioural therapy; child and adolescent psychiatry and psychological support where needed; occupational therapy; speech and language therapy; art psychotherapy.

School size and facilties

Chelfham School is located on three sites. All sites (Bere Alston, Kilworthy and Crediton) are in the heart of the Devon countryside, close to Dartmoor National Park and the many wonderful beaches of Cornwall. 

Chelfham School can provide places for up to 63 students. 

Chelfham School is located on three sites: Bere Alston, Kilworthy and Crediton. Students live at the Bere Alston or Kilworthy House. All three sites are set within substantial grounds and have facilities for various outdoor activities such as football and other outdoor pursuits including: canoeing, climbing,sailing, yachtsmanship, gorge scrambling, mountaineering and mountain biking.

Accommodation is within small domestic units with private rooms, family living units, TV lounges, dining and catering facilities. This accommodation is suitable both for privacy and for shared activity. 

The school has good links to local medical services, dentistry etc should young people need these.

Chelfham offers a healthy, stimulating and welcoming environment where a positive education allows all pupils to experience success and prepare them to the the next stage of their life and independence.


Avaible are: Entry Level; GCSE; BTEC – levels one and two; National Governing Body awards; vocational coursesor and other accredited courses.

Access to the National Curriculum is modified according to the individual needs and abilities of each student. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are implemented to develop communication, personal and social education skills. 

Chelfham Senior School as educational establishment is inspected on a regular basis by Ofsted (a government department - Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills). Chelfham Bere Alston is rated “good” (on a four-point scale: outstanding, good, satisfactory, inadequate).
Chelfham Senior School being a part of the Priory Group has operational oversight from their regional managers with detailed knowledge of their work. All assurance and governance of quality, safety and compliance are provided by the Priory Group with additional regulatory visits regularly carried out by experienced independent visitors.

Director Details

Year Of Foundation


Some History

In 2015 two of the Chelfham school’s main sites at Bere Alston in Yelverton and Kilworthy House in Tavistock were registered by Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) as separate schools for education. 

Chelfham Senior School is a part of the Priory Group which has been established in 1980. The group is the UK's leading independent  provider of mental health care facilities and operates at more than 500 sites in the United Kingdom and includes among them: rehabilitation and recovery centres; mental healthcare hospitals and clinics; specialist schools and colleges; supported residential facilities and homes; care homes for older people. At the Priory Group there are treated over 70 different conditions through a nationwide network of over 275 facilities. 
Priory Group is organised into three divisions – healthcare, education and children’s services, and adult care services – which together support the needs of more than 30,000 people every year. 

The school, being part of the Priory Group: division education and children’s services, has access to additional healthcare and supported living services where needed. 

The range of facilities available ensures that every young person receives a smooth and planned transition from primary education all the way through to further education, university, employment and independent living, as appropriate for each individual.

About the school

  • Long description:
    Education and care in the Chelfham School are focused on:

    • A positive ethos which celebrates and rewards success
    and progress
    • A culture in which students feel safe, secure and
    • Integrated care, education and therapy programmes
    • Small teaching groups
    • A framework where students learn to take responsibility for the control of their own behaviours
    • High staff:student ratios
    • Access to a wide range of therapies including speech and language and cognitive behaviour therapy

    The college makes the most of its location, offering outdoor education and work experience opportunities within the local community. There are very useful links to local colleges, sports centres and local businesses.
  • Dorm facilities:
    In Chelfham School there is a sensory garden which  has been constructed to help students with more complex disorders to relieve anxieties, reduce stress and stimulate their senses. It is also used as an outside classroom as it can facilitate the teaching of many other curriculum areas such as science and art. 

Social life & attractions

During the evenings, weekends and holiday periods a diverse range of leisure activities are offered both on and off site. These activities give students the opportunity to participate and contribute to the wider community to develop their social and communication skills, whilst
also taking advantage of the coastal and moorland location.

A varied programme of activities is offered, although students will make their own decisions on the types of activities and leisure pursuits they become involved in, according to their individual choices.

The nearby towns of Tavistock and Plymouth offer shops and leisure facilities and a direct rail link to London.

Why Should You Choose this School?

A Priory education delivers lasting value, helping young people to achieve outstanding outcomes and reach their potential. In 2015:

    - 98.4% of leavers successfully moved onto employment, education, training and/or planned onward residential care pathways 
    - 94% of students gained one or more GSCE at A* - G at sites where students were entered for GCSEs 

    and at Chelfham School

    -100% of young people are engaged in age appropriate independence programmes
    -100% of young people in year 9 and above are actively involved in transition planning at a level that reflects their ability
    -100% of residential young people take part in clubs or social groups in the community

Academic life

  • What we offer ?

    Care teams provide 24 hour support across each site and each student also has a dedicated key worker and co-key worker. Students have ongoing and regular meetings with their key worker to monitor their progression and ensure their needs are being met across the 24 hour curriculum.

  • Course languages offered:
    English , Japanese

Interests & Activities

  • Special needs catered for
    Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Behavioural disorders, Emotional, social and mental health needs

School Gallery

Chelfham Senior School'': Yelverton, Devon, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Chelfham Senior School'': Yelverton, Devon, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Chelfham Senior School'': Yelverton, Devon, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Chelfham Senior School'': Yelverton, Devon, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Chelfham Senior School'': Yelverton, Devon, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Chelfham Senior School'': Yelverton, Devon, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Chelfham Senior School'': Yelverton, Devon, UK | Best Boarding Schools


Location Description


Yelverton is a large village (population of 3'493) in South-West England, situated between the town of Tavistock (5,8 miles; 9,3 km) and Plymouth (9,5 miles: 15,3 km) - a famous port city on the south coast of Devon. Yelverton is located on the south-west edge of Dartmoor (Dartmoor National Park) – an area of moorland (heath) in southern Devon. Yelverton is on the very edge of the moor at Roborough Down, which is also famous for the huge mass of stone called "The Rock". Yelverton with St Paul's Church, a range of shops, pubs and plenty of accommodation around is a popular place within tourists. 

distance to Exeter airport: 1h 3 min (54,1 miles: 87,1km)
distance to Newquay airport: 1h 16 min (55 miles: 88,6 km)
Plymouth airport: closed in 2011

distance to London: 4 h 10 min (243.3 miles; 391,5 km) via M5 and M4


Yelverton like the rest of South West England, has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than locations at similar height in the rest of England. January and February are the coldest months with mean minimum temperatures around 1°C (34°F). July and August are the warmest months with mean daily maxima not reaching 18°C (64°F). 


The coming of the railway (Great Western Railway- line from Plymouth to Tavistock) was responsible for Yelverton's growth in the 19th century.  Many residents of Plymouth bought houses in the village and commuted to Plymouth. 

Main attractions

Yelverton is well situated to explore the park, with many prehistoric standing stones and stone rows within a short distance as well as opportunities for walking and cycling.
Near Yelverton is a village Sheepstor, used as setting in the Steven Spielberg film, War Horse. On the moor outside the village are ancient stone rows and standing stones.
Just outside Yelverton on the edge of Roborough Down is The Tock, a large stone outcrop popular with families (kids love to climb on the rocks). The Rock gave its name to the nearby Rock Hotel, a 16th-century farmhouse converted into a hotel in the Victorian era when tourism began to bring more visitors to the area. 
At the outbreak of World War Two RAF Harrowbeer was built just outside the village. The most important visitor to RAF Harrowbeer was US President Franklin Roosevelt, who had to land here when his original destination was covered by fog.  
Two miles outside Yelverton is Buckland Abbey, home of Sir Francis Drake - an English sea captain and privateer of the Elizabeth era.  
The ancient stannary and historic market town of Tavistock is only 4 miles distant. It traces its recorded history back to at least AD 961 when Tavistock Abbey, whose ruins lie in the centre of the town, was founded. 
Nearby is Plymouth – a famous  port city in Devon. It’s known for its maritime heritage and historic Barbican district with narrow, cobbled streets. Sutton Harbour is home to the National Marine Aquarium, where sharks and rays glide in a deep tank. Also in the harbour are several marinas and a fish market, the Plymouth Fisheries. The Mayflower Steps are where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the New World in 1620. 


Specialises in: *Autism; *Emotional, social and mental health needs (boys and girls 7-19 years) , Bere Alston, Yelverton, Devon, United Kingdom, Postcode - SO43 7DE

Phone - +44 20 30 269 440
Email - info@best-boarding-schools.net

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Registered in England and Wales Registered number 8369137