Welcome to Heath Farm School
Heath Farm School was opened in 1993, and for many years it has been a positive force in re-engaging young people in their learning.
The school occupies a beautiful rural site in Charing Heath, Kent. New school buildings have been opened and their design offers an opportunity to make a conscious connection between the environment and the development of the learner.
The school is an independent, co-educational, day school approved for up to 70 pupils from 5-18 years old who for a variety of reasons have not been able to sustain mainstream education: pupils have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties and a range of additional learning difficulties including Asperger’s, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ASD, ODD, issues which require CAMHS involvement and Attachment Disorder.
Take a tour of Heath Farm School
Watch real life stories from pupils, parents, and foster carers on a 3 minutes tour around Heath Farm School in Kent.
Find out what makes it unique. For vulnerable children and young people from London and the South East: Heath Farm’s approach takes each individual and ensures they can achieve their best: not just from an academic perspective but socially and emotionally to become responsible and happy teenagers – ready to move on to a college place, work, apprenticeship or 6th form.
Our School is part of the Acorn Care and Education group catering for pupils with emotional and behavioural needs from primary to 16 years. A large proportion of our pupils are fostered through Heath Farm Family Services, who work with various LA’s to identify fostering and school opportunities for some of our most vulnerable youngsters. Pupils are brought to school either by minibus or taxi from a wide area of the County and taught in small classes with a high level of support.
In addition, the school takes ‘school only placements’ from the Kent LA.
The school works to help young people achieve their maximum personal potential in all academic and social spheres. It guides them to enter the world with a strong sense of self worth and a sense of themselves as part of the wider community and it encourages them to develop respect for themselves and for others as well as the self confidence to strive to achieve high standards in every aspect of their lives.
Young people are referred to the school by Social Services departments who are also seeking a place with Heath Farm foster carers, by Independent Fostering Agencies and, increasingly, by Local Authority Education Departments and by parents. Many of the young people who attend Heath Farm School also attend therapy. The school benefits from the support of a Consultant Educational Psychologist who works alongside the teaching staff, and a School Counsellor supports young people in accessing education.
Young people are grouped according to age and academic and social development in small classes with a high staff to pupil ratio. The school welcomes pupils of any ethnicity, religious or social background. Carers and parents are encouraged to become part of the school community, contributing to its life and development.
Heath Farm School occupies a beautiful rural site in the heart of Kent. The school is housed in a range of buildings, from converted farm buildings to award winning buildings of which four newly built classrooms will open in September. Pupils use the site for sports events, archaeological digs and ecology studies. Pupils are given the opportunity to grow fruit and vegetables in the school allotments, and to take part in vocational activities in workshop and kitchen spaces.
Making a Difference
Heath Farm School provides a supportive and challenging learning environment whereby each child will have the opportunity to develop this potential, whether this is academic, vocational, sporting or achieving personal goals. As an inclusive school, we offer a broad and balanced curriculum tailored to each individual child in a personalised way. This gives every child opportunity to progress at their own pace whilst developing the necessary skills to become competent and confident to meet the challenges of the future. The staff at Heath Farm School are experienced and dedicated in supporting each child, offering both academic expertise and considerable pastoral care intervention. The needs of each child will always come first and the Every Child Matters Agenda is firmly rooted in the school ethos.
We believe that the majority of pupils have built up, through their life experiences, considerable resilience and we endeavour to build on and nurture this in a positive direction, leading to helping them become able to achieve their maximum potential. We place a high value on partnership in achieving our aims and realise that support from carers, parents, therapists and social workers is a vital component to the work we do at school.
The school will always measure its success against the achievements of the children and young adults in our care. To see pupils move on to life after school with the necessary skills to equip them for the world of work or further education so that they can make a positive contribution to society is both highly satisfying and a vindication that Heath Farm School does make a difference.
Meet the Headteacher – Craig Ribbons
Craig has been a qualified teacher for 35 years and has spent 25 of those working with young people who have special education needs. He also has wider industry experience, working within a local authority secure unit as Head of Education, with CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) in Islington for four years and as Head of a Post 16 provision for those with speech, language and communication needs. In addition to this, Craig has twice been a Deputy Head of residential schools for children with complex social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Craig joined Heath Farm in November 2013 as Headteacher. He holds the NPQH, a nationally recognised Headteacher’s qualification, a Certificate in Professional Studies in Education Enquiry and is responsible for the strategic workings of Heath Farm.
Craig maintains a significant working relationship with both young people and staff at Heath Farm, as well as being involved in the direct management of some of the more complex cases. He said: “I really enjoy the opportunities that exist to assist young people in reaching their full potential and helping them identify realistic aspirations. As a school, we are successful in integrating young people into the wider community and ensuring that we prepare them so that they can take up opportunities available to them in the next phase of their education, employment or training.”