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About Portfield School Empower | Develop | Achieve

“Our son is getting an education in a fantastic, caring school with amazing staff. We cannot imagine life without Portfield.� (Parent)

About Portfield School Portfield School, a non-maintained special school based in Christchurch, Dorset, was founded in 1971 by parents of children with autism. Portfield School is managed by Autism Wessex, the regional charity for people with autism. The school supports children and young people with autism and associated difficulties aged 3 –19. Registered for up to 70 students, Portfield School offers both daily education and flexible boarding packages of up to 52 weeks. Each student’s curriculum and care plan is individually designed to reflect their abilities and personal development needs. It is shaped to provide a learning journey to help prepare them for the opportunities, experiences and responsibilities of adult life.

Learning at Portfield School Portfield School is bright, airy and calm, with large spacious rooms and numerous specialist resources. Our curriculum provides a framework for meaningful, age appropriate learning and is designed to ensure the learning that takes place is relevant, engaging and enjoyable. The primary curriculum has an emphasis on the development of the key skills of literacy, numeracy and ICT as well as a focus on personal and learning skills. The secondary curriculum allows for greater personalisation, it provides a range of vocational, leisure and citizenship opportunities to allow students to make informed choices about their future. Alongside our highly trained and experienced education and care staff is our specialist support team, which includes a nurse, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and behaviour therapists.

Life Skills Our Christchurch based Life Skills service is designed for students aged 15–19. This full time curriculum comprises of ‘study programmes’ which allow for extensive tailoring for each individual. We can adjust the curriculum around their aspirations and learning needs and focus on the areas of continued education, vocation, personal health, leisure, relationships, recreation and active community inclusion. We also work closely with local businesses to provide our young people with valuable experiences in the workplace. Students have the opportunity to achieve a good range of qualifications, which can lead to further education or employment.

Living at Portfield School Portfield offers flexible boarding opportunities from 39 to 52 weeks. There are four modern purpose-built boarding houses on the school site and an additional house in Christchurch for post-16 students.

Applying for a Place at Portfield We welcome enquiries from prospective parents and local authorities and encourage you to contact us to arrange a visit to look round the school. We recommend parents speak with their local authority or our Information and Advice Service for advice about progressing an application.

“While our initial view of the school was very positive, we totally underestimated the ability of the staff to transform our child’s life.” (Parent)

Get in touch Portfield School T 01202 573808 E W

Our services Autism Wessex (Information, Advice and Support Services) Community Wessex (Social Care Services)

Parley Lane, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 6BP

Portfield School (Education, Respite and Residential Services)

Registered Charity No. 1000792

For further information on our services please visit

About Portfield School  

About Portfield School, Dorset

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