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Ellen Tinkham School
Hollow Lane, EX1 3RW Exeter
01392 467168

 A vibrant, friendly school where children learn and are happy.

Ellen Tinkham is a Community Special School for children and young people aged 3-19 years, who have severe learning disabilities. All our children have a statement of special educational needs.

The school benefits from a wide range of specialist staff and extensive, well-equipped facilities. Class groups are small, with a high staff : pupil ratio, so that children have plenty of support in order to achieve. We have close links with several mainstream schools, where our children can access high quality inclusion opportunities.

At the heart of Ellen Tinkham School is our commitment to putting the children at the heart of everything we do, through our holistic approach to education. We know that children learn best when they are in an environment that is responsive to their needs. Our school is able to meet these needs, providing a positive and stimulating experience unique to each individual that also ensures their full education entitlement.

Jacqui Warne

Mrs Kauser Ahmed

Our values

Ellen Tinkham School aims to create and maintain a learning community in which:

  • We are committed to high achievement, effective teaching and learning and good relationships.
  • We listen to each other, celebrate each other's strengths and acknowledge weaknesses and foster a climate of kindness and cooperation.
  • Our pupils are empowered and given opportunities to participate in a more inclusive school and in the wider community.
  • Staff present a broad and balanced curriculum which effectively promotes pupils' holistic development and enhances their self-esteem.
  • All staff support and manage pupils effectively and caringly, and expect and achieve high standards of work, discipline and courtesy.
  • Parents/guardians and carers are offered an effective partnership with the school, are kept fully informed about their child's achievements and activities, so that their child's progress can be supported and assisted at home.
  • All agencies link together effectively and have mutual respect and interdependence for the benefit of the pupils.


Parents interested in applying for a place for their child should contact the Headteacher and arrange to visit.

Parents will be offered an opportunity to look around the school, visit classrooms, talk to staff and discuss any issues or concerns they may envisage. This can be at any time in the school year. The school operates a "Parent Buddy Scheme", which means that prospective pupils and their parents are greeted and shown around by another parent.

Ellen Tinkham accepts pupils at any point in the school year, if a place is available. Before starting at the school, the Senior Teacher for Lower School will visit the family at home, with the physiotherapist and school paediatric nurse. They will collect as much information as possible from the family about the child, particularly information about the way the child communicates, any particular health issues, likes and dislikes and extra support needs. The child will be offered at least two "taster" sessions. These are usually arranged during the home visit.

Pupils admitted to the school need to have a Statement of Educational Needs which is presented to the Special School Admissions Panel that meets every Tuesday at County Hall. The panel make the decision to place at the school, based on the information available to them. This includes information regarding parental views and choice.

Teaching and Learning

The pupils of Ellen Tinkham experience a broad, balanced, dynamic and creative curriculum with the development of communication skills at the core.

Children are taught in inclusive classrooms where learning environments are adapted according to each class group. Incorporated into each class is a multi-sensory space for focused sensory work. We aim for every child to be fully engaged with their learning.

The Nursery and Reception classes have adapted and developed their curriculum from the six areas of learning for the Foundation Stage. From year 1 pupils receive their full entitlement to the National Curriculum, with daily literacy and numeracy for key stages 1-3. Individual subject leaders ensure that their subjects are effectively and appropriately adapted and that they offer good progression through to the Senior Class and key stage 4.

The Further Education department focus on skills for life and living, work experience and regular literacy and numeracy lessons. Learning is planned around the A.L.L. curriculum (Accreditation for Lifelong Learning) and all module related achievements are credited.

We have several specialist rooms: ICT, Music, Food Technology and Library, well equipped for whole class or 1:1 sessions and a large hall for PE, rebound, drama and assemblies. We have a large play environment that is changing and developing to incorporate areas for action and play as well as areas for reflection.

primary schools in Exeter, secondary schools in Exeter, schools in Exeter

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