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"He always hated school before, because he didn't understand the lessons. But you got him to stay in lessons, and now he can read at last, and now he loves school. Thank you, thank you so very much."

Parent, July 2017

"I've provided 3 of my (school's) children to Cressey, and each one of them has made fabulous progress. I can't speak highly enough of the amazing outcomes they have achieved."

Deputy Head Teacher, South London School, June 2016

Cressey College: a multi-site special school (5-19)

Cressey is a multi-site special school for students with Social, Emotional and Attachment difficulties, particularly challenging behaviour, and/or additional complex needs. To see a recent video our students created about Cressey, please click here.

The large majority of our students have additional complex needs. For example many are on the Autistic Spectrum (ASD), and many need Nurture and/or have Attachment Difficulties / Disorders, Learning Difficulties, Speech & Language difficulties, Aspergers, PDA, ADD, ADHD, OCD, ODD, Discalculia, Dyslexia or Dyspraxia.

We are a centre of excellence for SEMH and particularly challenging behaviour, and also for many of the complexities above. 

Cressey has a proven record of helping students make exceptional progress with learning, social skills and employability.

We succeed where other schools have been unable to; and we succeed in the long term, not just briefly. Our approach has four building blocks.

The first is that our approach is nurture-based, with positive management of behaviour, supported by a rewards system that helps promote positive outcomes.

Secondly, Cressey has more staff than students, so there is lots of 1:1 staffing. We also have very small classes, varying from 1 - 5 students. This enables us to achieve positive outcomes in spite of challenging behaviour and complex needs. Students are taught in small classes, in pairs or individually, as appropriate. There is a strong focus on improving literacy, numeracy and ICT skills, and on developing personal and social skills.

Thirdly, we place each student in the right environment for his/her particular needs. We can do this because we have five separate small sites each catering for different needs, and two off-site programmes. So we can place individuals in the site or on the programme that best meets their needs. We have different environments for:

  • Primary students (Years 1 - 8) who need to be in small Nurture group.
  • Students in Years 7 - 9 who need to be in small Nurture classes, with highly individualised programmes.
  • Students in Years 10 - 14, who need very small classes with highly indivualised programmes. 
  • We also have a site for Students who cannot be alongside other students, where each has their own personal classroom.
  • In addition we also have a site for girls in Years 7 - 14, who will make better progress in a girls-only location.
  • We also offer two types of off-site placements. These are:
    • Outreach Programmes, for students who will benefit from a part-time programme off-site.
    • Pathways to Employment Placements, which are full-time programmes, off-site, tailored for each individual for their chosen future  employment.
  • Lastly, we were recently asked to take over the management of a small School in Merton from Sep 2017, called the FACE Youth Therapeutic School. This will remain a separate School to Cressey, but Cressey is now responsible for it, and we manage the admissions process. FACE Youth is for Students in Years 7 - 11, who work better when being taught on their own for most of the time, rather than in a small class.

Finally we have a strong focus on positive outcomes, and every child has a differentiated plan for their education, care and health. We follow the National Curriculum, but it is individually tailored to take into account each student’s Statement / EHCP. We also support individual talents and interests, and extra tutoring is provided for this. 

Looking ahead, we are continually striving to improve the excellence of our education.

We welcome visits. So please come and see for yourself.


Adrienne Cherrywood, Head Teacher


Staff Vacancies (Feb 2018)

We want more Teachers and TAs to join our growing Cressey team; and we also need an additional Speech & Language Therapist, and an Occupational Therapist. Click here for more details and for how to apply, or contact Maria White on 020 8256 0547

Place availability (as at Feb 2018)

Primary students at Coombe Cliff (Years 1-6). We have two places still available, one for a Year 1-3, the other for a Year 4-6 girl. Class sizes are 3 - 4 children.

Years 7 - 8 at Birdhurst. We have 2 places available at our Birdhurst site. Class size 5 students max.

Years 7-10 at FACE Youth. We have a single place available at the FACE Youth Therapeutic School, in S Wimbledon. This is a separate School to Cressey, but the admissions process is via Cressey.

Pathways to Employment Programme (Years 10-14). We have a few more places available. This is a full-time bespoke programme, delivered out in the community rather than at Cressey. The primary aim is to prepare and help each student to get worthwhile employment, according to what he/she would like to do.

Outreach Programmes. We have a few more places available. These are part-time bespoke programmes, delivered off-site as required. Outreach places may be used as interim solutions, for students awaiting a full-time place at Cressey or elsewhere.

Admissions enquiries

For our Admissions criteria click here. For more details on place availability, please call John Herring on 07474 145 445. 

School Office address

Our new School Office address, for all mail and enquiries, is as below.

    Cressey College (School office)

    Coombe Cliff, Coombe Road
    Croydon CR0 5SP

    Tel: 0208 686 5840 (and select Option 1)

Mail should no longer be sent to our old School Office address at Denmark Hall. Anything sent there will still get to us, but will be slightly delayed.