Clay Hill School: Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK | Best Boarding Schools
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Clay Hill School is a new independent, coeducational, specialist day and residential school providing care and education for children and young people aged 5 to 19 years with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Prader Willi Syndrome and associated complex needs and learning difficulties or disabilities.

Residential placements are available on either a weekly, termly, or 52 week basis for up to 14 young people.

The main aim of Clay Hill School is to help young people stabilise their behaviour, begin to make positive choices, learn, achieve and fulfil their interests, maximising their potential for a better future.

The school provides a safe, calm and warm, yet structured environment, which encourages children and young people to develop the social, educational and practical skills they require to enjoy and achieve.

Clay Hill School being part of Priory Group and having links with the community including mainstream schools, develops systems to prepare young people to function within the wider society and for appropriate transitions at the optimum time to transfer into adult services, or on to further education where appropriate.

School size and facilties

Located near Lyndhurst, Hampshire, Clay Hill School enjoys a beautiful setting in the heart of the New Forest. This rural location provides a safe, calm and healthy environment. Clay Hill School is a school providing care and education for up to 25 young people. There are three residential houses at Clay Hill, which all accommodate small groups of young people in similar peer and social groups.

Each residential house provides a welcoming, homely environment and each young person is encouraged to decorate their rooms to their own taste and preferences, allowing them to create a more personal living environment.


Clay Hill School complies with all current regulations and standards. 

School provides every pupil with an engaging, relevant and differentiated curriculum based on their individual needs to develop and achieve to their optimum ability. Clay Hill School as every school of Priory Group has a strong focus on academic achievement. 

Clay Hill School offers speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, and art therapy. 

Clay Hill 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). The school is rated “good” (on a four-point scale: outstanding, good, satisfactory, inadequate)

Clay Hill 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

The school buildings were once a stately country home offering large light, airy facilities. The buildings have been completely refurbished and adjusted to the needs of specialist  school.

Clay Hill 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:
    Autism Boarding School. The primary functions and aims of the Clay Hill School:
    • To work closely with and value the views of pupils, parents
    and staff thereby establishing a successful partnership between home and school
    • To create an atmosphere based on mutual respect and to be
    able to offer a secure and stimulating environment where young people can celebrate their achievements, build on their strengths and grow in confidence, understanding, knowledge and skill
    • To provide skills for life opportunities that will be stimulating and meet the individual needs of pupils
    • To encourage interaction and communication with others, promoting participation and teamwork and building self-esteem and self-reliance through a broad range of approaches
    • To support behaviour consistently, clearly defining rules and boundaries and using rewards and consequences to demonstrate the outcome of actions
    • To work with multi-professional groups to enhance the quality and provision for our pupils
    • To develop positive links with the local community.

    The types of therapeutic intervention that are provided at Clay Hill include:
    • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
    • Colour/Play/Art Therapist
    • Occupational Therapist
    • Clinical Psychologist
    • Speech and Language Therapist
    • Educational Psychologist
    • Family Therapist
    • Cognitive Play/Behaviour Therapist
    Should a specific consultation or therapy be required which is not available at Clay Hill then the services and input of local medical professionals linked to Clay Hill are accessed.

    The school accepts that children may have challenging behaviour as a result of difficulties with communication and social understanding.
    A vital element of the admission process is to ensure that the needs of the child referred can be met and that their admission does not have a detrimental effect on the well-being and safety of others. Children whose special needs are characterised by behaviours that severely challenge and those who are assessed or proven to pose a significantly high risk to other children, will not usually be considered for placement.
  • Dorm facilities:
    Clay Hill School has an intervention room (therapists) for 1:1/small group work and several low stimulus environments which children can access at anytime they feel that they need to take some time out or require additional support.

    The extensive garden grounds of the school offer low level trim fit trail as well as swings and secure outside play area to encourage healthy exercise.

    Wheelchair access is available on the ground floor.

Social life & attractions

There is a strong emphasis on learning outside of the classroom at Clay Hill School, making the most of the New Forest and the picturesque, natural surroundings,  giving children an opportunity to discover the forest and learn new skills.

A high priority also is given to providing a full experience for all  young people with regular social and educational visits occurring throughout the year. As  the school has a strong connection in their local community with links developed with local colleges, sport centres, charities and businesses, these may include things like visits to swimming baths, a gym, bowling alleys, cinemas, horse riding, museums, cycling, golf, fishing, climbing, orienteering and forest walking etc. 

Why Should You Choose this School?

Mental health conditions can have a significant impact on the life chances of young people. 

Clay Hill School being part the Priory Group has an in-depth understanding of these challenges and the ways in which they can affect a young person, both academically and socially. This awareness shapes everything at Clay Hill School, from the subjects offered to the design and decoration of the buildings. Services are specifically designed to ensure these vulnerable young people fulfil their potential. Learning and development packages consider every element of a young person’s experience during their time with school.

Receiving specialist inpatient Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) treatment can be a positive turning point toward recovery for many, but the time spent out of school can have a detrimental effect on subsequent educational progress.

Academic life

  • What we offer ?

    Every young person is allocated a case manager who is responsible for co-ordinating and facilitating our inclusive approach across all internal and external services. The case manager has responsibility from admission through to transition into adulthood within the wider community. Young people also have an allocated key worker who will be responsible for the day-to-day co-ordination of all aspects of their life at Clay Hill School.

    An individual education and care plan includes:
    • Appropriate peer group and curriculum
    • TEACCH system throughout the school day
    • A consistent and structured approach
    • A comprehensive and intensive approach to the communication and language needs of the young people
    • Social and living skills curriculum
    • High staff to young person ratio in both education and residential settings
    • Intensive therapeutic programmes and communication strategies

  • Number of teachers and their qualifications :

    All staff who work with the children at Clay Hill School are trained to a very high standard in order to be most effective in supporting the children to realise their full potential. The staff at Clay Hill School receive regular training from both in-house and external specialists, all designed to improve practice and improve the outcomes of the pupils.

  • Course languages offered:

Sport and culture

  • Sport Facilities:
    Recreational, cultural and sporting activities help pupils build self-image, self-esteem and relationships.

    Learners are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities according to their interests and to help with areas of their development.
    Clay Hill School organises a range of activities from board games to team sports and on occasions higher risk activities such as outdoor pursuits.

    Young people who have a particular interest are also encouraged to take part in activities by joining an off-site club or society in the local community.
    In order to facilitate these activities, Clay Hill School has its own transport and provides funds for young people to participate in either organised activities or community organised activities.

  • Sports what we offer:

    Staff explore with each young person their personal interests and if there is not already an established activity, they will work to find access to this locally. Activities may include; visiting the cinema, bowling, laser quest, gym activities, sports clubs, tennis, trampolining, gymnastics, youth clubs and youth organisations, fishing, swimming and go-karting.

  • Culture and arts:
    All children will have opportunities to take part in trips to visit local towns, museums, places of interest and businesses.
  • Religions:

Interests & Activities

  • Special needs catered for
    Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Emotional, social and mental health needs, Learning difficulties, Learning disabilities, Prader Willi Syndrome

School Gallery

Clay Hill School: Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Clay Hill School: Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Clay Hill School: Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Clay Hill School: Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Clay Hill School: Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Clay Hill School: Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Clay Hill School: Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Clay Hill School: Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Clay Hill School: Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK | Best Boarding Schools


Location Description

Lyndhurst is a large village (population of 3'029) situated in the New Forest National Park in Hampshire (county).  The nearest city is Southampton, above nine miles (15 km) to the north-east. This is the largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire and major port and the closest city to the New Forest. 
Accessibility of the school: Clay Hill School is well situated for easy access across the south of the country, close to the M27 and M3, approximately two hours drive and one and a half hours by train from London and just five minutes from Brockenhurst train station.

distance to Southampton airport: 19 min (15.2 miles; 24,5) via M27 

distance to London: 1 h 52 min (88.7 miles, 142.7) via M3 


Specialises in: *Autistic Spectrum Disorders, *Prader Willi Syndrome (boys and girls aged 5-19) , Clay Hill, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, 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