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"(Cressey) transforms pupils’ education and ultimately their life chances. (Students) make huge strides in their social and emotional development ... (and) the behaviour of pupils is Outstanding"

Ofsted Report, March 2018

"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

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


Ofsted Report - March 2018

Ofsted inspected us in March, and graded the School GOOD overall, with OUTSTANDING for students’ personal development, behaviour and welfare, and OUTSTANDING for the effectiveness of leadership and management. We're really pleased with this official recognition of the great progress our wonderful students make, and of the huge efforts of our excellent staff. As always, our aim is to provide excellent education for all our students!  Click here for the report.

Staff Vacancies - as at May 2018

We want more Teachers and TAs to join our growing Cressey team. Click here for more details and for how to apply, or contact Maria White on 020 8256 0547

Place availability - as at May 2018

Years 1-6 at Coombe Cliff. There are currently 4 places free for Sep 2018. Class size 3-5 students

Outreach Programmes for Primary Students, Years 1-5. We have two more off-site places available now, for Primary students waiting for a place in Sep 2018. These programmes will be run at a secure venue in S Norwood (SE25). For more details click here.

Years 7-9 at Wimbledon site. There will be 4-5 places available at the FACE Youth school in Sep 2018.

Years 7-8 at Birdhurst. Class size 5 students. There is one more place available in Sep 2018.

Year 10 at Moorings. There are two places free in Sep 2018. Class size 4-5 students

Years 7-9 at Adeline. There is one places free for Sep 2018. Class size 2-4 students.

Outreach Programmes, Years 7-14. We have one final place available now. These are part-time bespoke programmes, delivered off-site for students awaiting a full-time place at Cressey or elsewhere. For more details click here.

Pathways to Employment Programmes, Years 10-14. These are full-time programmes, delivered off-site for students who would benefit from a bespoke individual programme. We might have the odd place available in Sep 2108; and we aim to make more places available in Oct 2018. For more details click here.

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.