Chapter 1 - Our First Building in Chelsea
In the summer of 1997 The Chelsea Group of Children was established in a converted garage. We began with three students and in a month there were five. By the end of the first year ten boys and girls were taught in two large rooms by an inspired teacher who created experiential and therapeutic learning for the whole child. Chelsea Group served those children who did not fit comfortably or happily into mainstream and were without the label of any diagnosis; only the need for a different presentation of a more dynamic curricula.
Our school was small and free to build a child-centered programme of comprehensive and adaptive teaching. This was our core; the seed from which we grew to become highly specialised expanding to forty students and 34 teaching and therapy staff.
Chapter 2 - We moved to the gate house
After ten years, and a honing of purpose in educating children with more complex needs, we moved to a house at the gates of a beautiful cemetery.
There were more rooms for therapy and a large garden for planting, digging and all manner of discoveries. Within three years, we needed more rooms for both occupational and speech and language therapy which were informing every aspect of our programme.
Chapter 3 - Home now in the parish hall
In 2011 we moved to a large parish hall, redesigning and rebuilding the interior to make four therapy rooms and six classrooms, plus a large hall for dining and a library. In this, as in all our buildings, the decor is more like home than school. We avoid the institutional and create, instead, a soft space of wood and textiles and art; surprising and reassuring new students.
Our students understand ‘this place is different’, and perhaps he or she can dare to hope for a fresh start. Most come to us from an unsuccessful mainstream experience, failing academically or socially even from as young as four years old. Some children have withdrawn while others developed highly effective strategies of avoidance but in almost every case school has not been a happy place. We strive to change this experience for them.
In 2021 the school joined the Cavendish Education family of schools - a group that dedicates itself to supporting and nurturing children and young people with unique learning profiles.
In January 2022, we became known as Chelsea Hall School.