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Kent Special Schools and Units


Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Aspire School Sittingbourne, 

This is a new school, due  to open in September 2020, for 4-11 year old children with ASD or speech, language and communication needs. It will be part of Grove Park Academies, a small Trust comprising the two nearby schools and will begin with 32 places, expanding to 168 in two years time. The new Headteacher is Neil Dipple, who I knew well in his senior role at Ifield School (see below). 

It has been a long time in the coming, and has changed considerably from the original plan in 2013 for a Free School, set up by parents, specifically aimed at high functioning children on the autism spectrum (my original entry is here). One of the parent leaders was still involved with the project when its new concept was unveiled in 2018.   


Broomhill Bank School, Tunbridge Wells. 

 A co-educational day school for 5 to 19 year olds with Communication and Interaction needs (Autistic Spectrum and/or Specific Language Disorder) with a roll of  210 including provision for 24 residential students. 

About the School (Ofsted 2018): Information about this school (Excerpt)  Since September 2015, the school has operated on two sites. Broomhill Bank West is in Tunbridge Wells, and Broomhill Bank North is approximately 20 miles away in Hextable.  The North site contains residential accommodation for up to 16 pupils.  The school caters for pupils who have EHC plans or statements for speech, language and communication needs and autistic spectrum disorder.  The school is commissioned by Kent local authority to provide a range of outreach services and training courses to local mainstream schools.  A small number of sixth-form students access courses at local further education colleges.  The main West site is expanding from 210 to 318 places for September 2020.

Broomhill Bank Ofsted Performance
Mar 2018 Full Good
Dec 2013  Full Good


Grange Park School, WrothamSecondary with Primary Annexe.  Autistic Spectrum Disorder and severe cognitive impairment. The school is based on five sites: the main site at Wrotham (11-19) as well as partnership sites for Key Stage 5 at Mid Kent College Gillingham, Mid Kent College Maidstone and Hadlow College (16-19), together with new  KS2 Satellite provision in Stansted is now open (2020) for new Year 4, 5 and 6 pupils (ages 8-11). Designated number of students- 100. Current Roll, September 2019, 157. 

Grange Park Ofsted Performance
Oct 2016* Short Good
Nov 2012 Full Good
* To my (non-inspectorial) eyes, this Short Report is surely verging on Outstanding taking eight pages to spell out the school's qualities.'
   The HMI who conducted the Inspection was Mrs Abigail Birch, who I subsequently helped appoint to the Executive Headship of the Cedar Federation, lead school Ifield Special School (see below). 


Laleham Gap School, Margate. Communication and Interaction Special School for Children with Autism, Speech, Language and Communication Needs for ages 4-16. Up to  178 student placements (currently 196 pupils). Sadly the residential provision comes to an end, July 2020, because of declining numbers, in spite of consistent Outstanding Ofsted Reports on Residential Provision.  Did offer places for pupils with High Functioning Autism, but no mention of this on website.  

Laleham Gap Ofsted Performance
Jul 2017 Short Good
Mar 2013 Full Good

Snowfields Academy,  Bearsted, Maidstone.  Planned to admit 140 students between the ages of 11 and 18 whose primary need is ASD. To be run by the Leigh Academy Trust, one of just two Academy/Free Special Schools in Kent, the other being Milestone Academy (see below), also run by the Leigh Trust.


Stone Bay School, Broadstairs. Day and residential for 80 pupils aged 5 to 19 years with a diagnosed autistic spectrum disorder, with severe and complex learning needs. In the October 2019 census, there were 74 pupils, 15 of them are in Years 12 & 13, and 18 in the primary section, added in the last few years.  18 of the pupils were residential.  

Stone Bay Ofsted Performance
Jan 2018 Short Good
Jun 2013 Full Good

The October 2019 Residential Ofsted Inspection found the school Good again, in all respects.


Next Page: Schools catering for children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs 

Last modified on Sunday, 26 July 2020 17:35
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