High Close School


A Non-Maintained special needs school in Berkshire offering day and residential provision for young people with complex social, emotional and mental health needs.

Barnardo's High Close School is:

  • A mixed residential and day school
  • Set in beautiful grounds located in Wokingham, Berkshire
  • For up to 92 pupils who have a range of special educational needs, including:
    • Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties
    • High Functioning ASC and Asperger's Syndrome
    • Social, communication and interaction difficulties
    • Anxiety-based problems including attachment disorder and separation
    • Speech, Language and Communication needs
    • Sensory issues and moderate OT needs

We see every pupil as an individual and strive to nurture happiness, a feeling of safety, confidence and enjoyment within our school environment. Pupils are fully supported and encouraged to help them get the best from themselves. 

We offer:

  • A safe school in a peaceful environment
  • Specialist weekly boarding provision
  • Pastoral support team for day pupils
  • KS2, KS3 and KS4 cohorts
  • Psychometric and cognitive benchmarking
  • Family Resource Team supporting students and their families
  • Access to therapeutic provision
  • Strong links with the local community
  • Small class sizes with a minimum student:staff ratio of 3:1
  • A broad and balanced education provision with full access to the National Curriculum
  • Diverse range of extra-curricular opportunities

We are hugely proud of our school and the environment we have created. In our website you will find information about our education and care provision as well as the school community as a whole. We aim to offer the very best to our pupils so that they can fulfil their potential whilst growing in confidence and maturity. We hope to equip them with the skills and tools necessary to make a full and positive contribution to society.

We believe that every child and young person can grow to enjoy education and achieve their goals regardless of any problems they have previously had at school. Ultimately, we believe in children and we work hard to help them realise and have belief in their own potential.

Contact information

High Close School
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Contact Name
Mr Mark Shears
Contact Position
0118 978 5767 0118 978 5767
Social Media


High Close School
Wiltshire Road
RG40 1TS
View RG40 1TS on a map

When is it On/Open ?

Date & Time Information

Monday - Friday, 8.50am to 3.20pm

Costs and Fee Information

Contact provider for costs

Complaints Procedure

Contact Name
Mark Shears
Complaints procedure notes

Please see our website for our complaints policy.

Accessing this service

Type of School
Age Ranges
7 yrs - 16 yrs
Eligibility Criteria

All young people must have an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP)


Referral required
Who can refer
SEN Team
Referral notes

Although we can accept informal parental enquiries, referrals for a place must come through the relevant Local Authority.

Provision For

Supporting people with
Mental health conditions
Learning and Communication
Sensory Impairment
Autism Spectrum Conditions
Social Needs
Emotional Needs

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance

The school is inspected by Ofsted Education and Social Care inspectors.


All teachers hold Qualified Teacher Status.  Other staff have a wide range of relevant qualifications.

Local Offer

Local Offer - Support available for children and young people with additional needs


High Close School is a day and residential special school for young people aged 7-16 with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs.

Contact Name
Mark Shears
Contact Telephone
0118 9785767
Contact Email
Local Offer Description

Local Offer last reviewed 07/10/2020

Support for children with special educational needs 1.1: Who will oversee and plan my child's education programme?

The Deputy Principal and the Leader for Primary oversee curriculum and the planning of children's education.

1.2: How will I be informed / consulted about the ways in which my child is being helped?
  • EHCP annual reviews
  • Parents' Evening
  • School reports
  • Regular contact with Keyworkers and Link Workers
  • Regular contact with tutors and teachers
1.3: How will the school balance my child's need for support with developing their independence?

Day pupils

Day pupils work with link workers to establish relevant indepencence programmes; personal safety, e-safety, independent travel, appropriate behaviour in public buildings/eating establishments

Residential pupils

Pupils learn how to do their own washing and care for their clothes, keep their bedrooms tidy and look after possessions. Also how to maintain good personal hygiene, body and hair care. They learn basic cooking skills and prepare meals with staff. They learn money management, receive pocket money and are helped to choose activities outside school. Independent travel and personal safety on and off campus is taught.

A more thorough independence programme is offered for Year 11 pupils where they are supported in making all their meals, budgeting and shopping alongside learning about benefits and housing and independent travel. Support is given regarding college applications/employment and transition into more independent accommodation. Staff work closely with parents/carers and other agencies to ensure the transition is planned well and the young person takes ownership of plans. 

Pupils engage in a range of life skill activities off campus regularly; shopping, swimming, walking, outdoor activities, seaside visits, cinema and eating out. 

1.4: How will the school personalise the curriculum to meet my child's needs?

All pupils follow the National Curriculum at KS2-4, which is then modified to meet the needs of our cohort.  Further, individual curriculum modifications are made according to meet the needs of specific pupils.

1.5: What teaching strategies and approaches does the school use for children with learning difficulties, including autistic spectrum disorder, hearing impairment, visual impairment, speech and language difficulties and physical disabilities?

All teachers are highly trained to tailor learning to meet the needs of young people with complex Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs.  On site therapists, including Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy, assess all pupils on entry and provide advice and guidance to teachers and Learning Support Assistants on integrating therapeutic approaches in the classroom.

1.6: What specific intervention programmes does the school offer and are these delivered on a one to one basis or in small groups?
Type / TitleIntervention Type
1.7: What equipment does the school provide?

School provides all equipment for pupils. Parents/carers are not expected to provide equipment for their child.

1.8: What special arrangements can be made for my child when taking examinations?

All pupils are assessed for for access arrangements for exams. Pupils may have a reader, scribe, extra time or whatever statutory guidance allows for.

My child's progress 2.1: How will the school monitor my child's progress and how will I be involved in this?

Robust assessment frameworks at all Key Stages ensure that progress is monitored and this is fed back to parents through Parents' Evening, school reports and the EHCP annual review process.

2.2: When my child's progress is being reviewed, how will new targets be set and how will I be involved?

Formal medium-term targets are set and monitored through the EHCP annual review process.  Ongoing, informal targets are set in conjunction with staff, pupils and parents/carers and reviewed through the keyworking and link working arrangements.

2.3: ln addition to the school's normal reporting arrangements, what opportunities will there be for me to discuss my child's progress with school staff?

All staff are available to discuss pupil progess at any point during the year.

2.4: What arrangements does the school have for regular home to school contact?

Link workers and keyworkers are the day-to-day point of contact for parents/carers and the level of contact will vary according to individual need.  Many parents/carers are in daily contact.

2.5: How can I help support my child's learning? 2.6: Does the school offer any help for parents / carers to enable them to support their child's learning, eg. training or learning events?

We provide workshops for parents throughout the year and can signpost to other agencies who can support.  We can also support parents/carers to refer into other agencies.  Our in house Family Resource Team offer bespoke support to specific parents/carers.

2.7: How will my child's views be sought about the help they are getting and the progress they are making?

All pupils have direct input into their progress and targets.

2.8: What accredited and non accredited courses do you offer?

All the courses we offer are accredited by Ofqual

  • GCSE in English, Mathematics, Science, Geography, History, Design Technology, Art
  • BTEC in Science, Sports, ICT
  • Functional Skills in English and Maths
  • Entry Level Certificate in English, Maths, Science and Humanities
  • Arts Award
  • Technical Award in Materials Technology
  • Different ASDAN Courses including COPE
2.9: How does the school assess the overall effectiveness of its provision and how can parents / carers and young people take part in this evaluation?

Parent views are sought through the EHCP annual reviews and Parents Evening, as well as through the day-to-day contact with the school.

Support for my child's overall wellbeing 3.1: What support is available to promote the emotional, behavioural and social development of children?

Each pupil has an allocated keyworker or link worker, as well as a tutor, who work closely with them on emotional, social and behavioural development.  All staff are trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention which supports young people to develop their own coping strategies in times of emotional crisis.

3.2: What support does the school put in place for children who find it difficult to conform to normal behavioural expectations and how do you support children to avoid exclusion?

All our pupils can struggle to conform to normal behavioural expectations.  All staff are trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention which supports young people to develop their own coping strategies in times of emotional crisis and to support them in managing their own behaviour.

3.3: What medical support is available in the school?

No answer provided

3.4: How does the school manage the administration of medicines?

All staff that administer medication are trained in the Administration of Medication by our consultant Pharmacist. Administration of medication procedures are in line with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society guidelines ‘Handling Medicines in social Care’. Our policy reflects the guidance in the National Minimum Standards for Residential Special Schools (Care of Boarders who are unwell) and ‘Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions (DFE). All young people have an Individual Health Plan and staff support young people where needed in attending medical appointments and in their ongoing health needs. All medication is kept securely and any controlled drugs are kept in secure cabinets that meet the requirements under the ‘Misuse of Drugs regulations’.

Necessary vaccinations are organised with Wokingham School Nurse service and administered at school with staff support with parent/carers consent.

Where possible and appropriate young people are encouraged to be involved in the administering of their own medication and the Independence programme encourages young people to take a role in managing their health requirements and medication in a safe and controlled way.

3.5: How does the school provide help with personal care where this is needed, eg. help with toileting, eating etc ?

Our pupils do not require this level of support.

Specialist services and expertise available at or accessed by the school 4.1: What external SEN support services does the school use, e.g. educational psychologists, teachers for hearing impairment, visual impairment and multi sensory impairment etc?

We use a variety of support services according to need but also have substantial in-house support services.

4.2: What specialist support services are available from within the school?

Occupational Therapy

Speech and Language Therapy


Counselling services

Learning Support (SENCo)

Family support

4.3: What should I do if I think my child needs support from one of these services?

All pupils are assessed on entry to determine their support needs.  Further referrals to internal support services can be made in discussion with keyworkers and link workers.

4.3: How are speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services provided?

SALT; All pupils have an initial assessment regardless of statement. Pupils’ needs are addressed individually, in small groups and by peer mentoring. Staff work with the therapist to ensure continuity in the classroom. At KS4 pupils receive interview skill training and preparation for college skills

OT;Pupils have an assessment if OT is indicated on their statement or if a staff member refers them. Pupils’ needs are addressed individually or in small groups. Staff work with the therapist to ensure programs of support are carried out through the week in the classroom or by keyworkers trained by the OT to use the specialist OT room and programme. OT aids are used to support and help pupils learn: Special seats, writing implements, knives and forks, fidget toys, MP3 players to regulate working patterns. Sensory circuits are also used.

4.4: What should I do if I think my child needs to be seen by a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist or physiotherapist?

All pupils are assessed on entry to determine their support needs.  Further referrals to internal support services can be made in discussion with keyworkers and link workers.

4.5: What arrangements does the school have for liaison with Children's Social Care services?

High Close takes pupils from over 25 LAs. Staff will attend meetings, arrange referrals and liaise with professionals from Social Care in those Authorities. High Close has good links with Wokingham.

Training of school staff 5.1: What SEND training is provided for teachers in your school?

All staff are trained in Social, Emotional and Mental Health and Autistic Spectrum Conditions, including ADHD, FASD, PDA and trauma and attachment issues. All staff are trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention.

5.2: What SEND training is provided for teaching assistants and other staff in your school?

All staff are trained in Social, Emotional and Mental Health and Autistic Spectrum Conditions, including ADHD, FASD, PDA and trauma and attachment issues. All staff are trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention.

5.3: Do teachers have any specific qualifications in SEND?

No answer provided

5.4: Do teaching assistants have any specific qualifications in SEND?

No answer provided

Activities outside the classroom including school trips 6.1: How do you ensure that all children can be included in out of school activities and trips?

All children, irrespective of need, have access to a wide ranging programme of trips and extra-curriculuar activities.

6.2: How do you involve parents / carers in planning the support required for their child to access activities and trips?

No answer provided

Accessibility of the school environment 7.1: How accessible is the building for children with mobility difficulties / wheelchair users?

Not all buildings are wheelchair accessible.

7.2: Have adaptations/improvements been made to the auditory and visual environment?

No answer provided

7.3: Are there disabled changing and toilet facilities?


7.4: How do you ensure that all the school's facilities can be accessed by all children irrespective of their SEND?

Please see our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy on our website.

7.5: How does the school communicate with parents / carers who have a disability?

No answer provided

7.6: How does the school communicate with parents / carers whose first language is not English?

No answer provided

Preparing my child to join the school or to transfer to a new school or the next stage of education and life 8.1: What preparation will there be for both the school and my child before he or she joins the school?

All potential new pupils have a programme of visits and taster days before starting school.

8.2: How will my child be prepared to move on to the next stage within school, e.g. class or key stage?

No answer provided

8.3: How will my young person be prepared to move on to his or her next placement, eg. FE college or Adult Services?

We have a specialist Year 11 and post-16 transitions worker who supports parents/carers and pupils with transition to post-16 placements.

8.4: How will you support a new placement to prepare for my young person?

No answer provided

8.5: What information will be provided to my young person's new placement?

No answer provided

8.6: How will the school prepare my child for the transition to employment?

All of our young people progress to further education destinations at the end of Year 11.

Who can I contact to discuss my child? 9.1: Who would be my first point of contact if I want to discuss something about my child or if I am worried?

Link workers or keyworkers.

9.2: Does the school offer any specific support for parents / carers and families (such as Family Support Workers)?

We have an in-house Family Resource Team who are led by a qualified social worker.

9.3: What arrangements does the school have for signposting parents / carers to external agencies which can offer support, such as voluntary agencies?

Our Family Resource Team can support with signposting to external sources of support.

9.4: What arrangements does the school have for feedback from parents, including compliments and complaints?

The school has a complaints policy which is on our website.  Compliments can be sent in direct to our reception team in the first instance or to enquiries@highclose.org.uk

School Admissions and Policy Documents

10.1: School admission arrangements for children with special educational needs and disabilities

School admission arrangements

Please see our admissions policy on our website.

School Admission Link
High Close School policies

10.2: School Accessibility Plan

10.3: Special Education Needs Policy


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