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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

"Why can't all the other schools be like Cressey? All our parents of complex needs children only want Cressey, nowhere else! But I'm not surprised, the other schools can't match (Cressey's) sustained success with these children."

Senior SEN Manager in a nearby Local Authority, Apr 2020

Cressey College: a multi-site special school (5-19)

Cressey College is a multi-site special school for students with Social, Emotional and Attachment difficulties, particularly challenging behaviour, and/or additional complex needs. 

Nearly all our students have additional complex needs, such as ASD / Aspergers, ADHD / ADD, Anxiety, Mental Health Difficulties, Attachment Difficulties / Disorders, ODD, Speech & Language difficulties, PDA, OCD, Learning Difficulties, Dyslexia, Discalculia and Dyspraxia. Nearly all our students have been unable to succeed at their previous schools, and many need long term nurturing.  

Cressey has a proven record of helping students make exceptional social, emotional, academic and behavioural progress, and with employability skills and preparation for adulthood. We are a centre of excellence for SEMH and particularly challenging behaviour, and for many of the complexities listed above. 

Looking ahead, we want to be an Outstanding school in all respects, that transforms the prospects of our students, and where staff love to work. Our approach has four key elements. 

Firstly our whole approach is nurture based, with positive management of behaviour, supported by a rewards system that helps promote positive outcomes. Our environment is loving and supportive, and we never use punishments. Each child has an individual timetable and their own Student Support Plan, we find positive ways to work with each and every student, and students are supported by a strong team of therapists.   

Secondly Cressey has very strong staff ratios, so we can give our students intensive support, tailored to them as individuals. Overall we have more teaching staff than students, so there is lots of 1:1 staffing. Students are taught in small classes of up to 5 students at the most, or in pairs or individually, as appropriate. Our staff are highly motivated, and we offer excellent training and development opportunities. 

Thirdly, we place each student in the right environment for his/her particular needs. To do this we have seven separate small sites each catering for different needs, and two off-site programmes. We have different environments for:

  • Primary students (Years 1 - 7) who need to be in small Nurture groups (Coombe Cliff site)
  • Students in Years 7 - 9 who need to be in small Nurture classes, with highly individualised programmes (Birdhurst)
  • Students in Years 7 - 11 who need to be in small Nurture classes, with highly individualised programmes (Sanderstead, Wellhurst)
  • Students in Year 7 - 12, who need very small classes with highly individualised programmes (Chappells)
  • Students in Years 9 - 14, who need very small classes with highly individualised programmes (Moorings)
  • Students in Years 2-14, who cannot work alongside other students, where each has their own personal classroom (Denmark Hall).
  • Students in Years 2-10, who cannot work alongside other students, where each has their own personal classroom (Sanderstead, Harling).
  • We also have a site for girls in Years 7 - 14, who will make better progress in a girls-only location (Adeline)
  • Lastly we also offer two types of off-site placements. These are:
    • Outreach Programmes, for students in Years 1-14, who will benefit from a part-time programme off-site.
    • Pathways to Employment Placements for students in Years 10-14. These are full or part-time programmes, off-site, tailored for each individual for their preferred future employment.

Finally our approach is outcomes driven, focusing on the appropriate positive outcomes for each student, and every child has their own individual Student Support Plan. There's a strong focus on improving literacy, numeracy and ICT skills, and on developing personal and social skills. We follow the National Curriculum, individually tailored to each of our students' needs, talents and interests. Every child has their own Individual Education Plan (IEP), taking account of EHCP requirements. A range of qualifications are offered as appropriate, from OCNs to Functional Skills to GCSEs to BTEC. 

This approach enables us to achieve positive outcomes in spite of challenging behaviour and complex needs. We are proud that Cressey succeeds where previous schools have been unable; and we succeed in the long term, not just briefly.

Looking ahead, we will continue to strive to improve the excellence of our education.

We welcome visits. So please come and see for yourself.


Krishna Purbhoo, Executive Principal


Place availability - as at September 2021

For primary students we have places available in Years 2-6, and for secondary students in Year 7. For more details click here.

Staff Vacancies - as at September 2021

We want more Teachers / Teaching Assistants to join our growing team; and another Speech & Language Therapist. We also seek Senior Teachers. Click here for details.

Admissions criteria and enquiries

For our Admissions criteria click here. For more details on place availability, call Catherine Price on 07918 870 350.

Ofsted Report - March 2018

Ofsted graded us Good, with Outstanding for students’ personal development, behaviour and welfare, and for the effectiveness of leadership and management. This reflects the great progress our wonderful students make, and of the huge efforts of our excellent staff. Click here for the report.

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.