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About Us

Our journey began in Autumn 2016 when as part of a local Multi Academy Trust we applied to the Department for Education to open Glendinning House a Special Free School in Newton Abbot, South Devon, in April 2017 we were approved.  We have been working closely with Devon County Council, local and regional experts and organisations in order to ensure that our new school responds to the lack of specialist school provision for students with social communication and interaction needs; including those on the Autism spectrum, in Newton Abbot and the surrounding area. 

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WHat's in a Name?

Our original sponsors had been been supported for many years by E & JW Glendinning, a local family run business.  We decided to name our school after this local employer as recognition of their support and to say thank you. 


Glendinning House plans to open to students in September 2020. 

We are a school for children aged from 7 to 19 (key stage 2 to key stage 5) with social interaction and communication needs including those on the Autism Spectrum.  Initially we will open with up to 48 places for children, growing to 120 students over the first 4/5 years; this will include 12 sixth form places.  Our students will all have Education, Health and Care Plans with a primary needs of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) or Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN).

Glendinning House will provide a personalised supportive environment with a curriculum set in the context of nature. Students will use outdoor learning to access the National Curriculum, developing communication, interaction, social and emotional skills.  Working in partnership with our students, and their parents/carers, Glendinning House will support our students academically and in their journey to independence.  These partnerships will play a vital role in ensuring our students enjoy, succeed and achieve. 

Lower school, years 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, will follow a project based learning approach.  Nature and the outdoors will be the basis for all learning, complimented by a personalised enrichment programme.  Pupils will work in small groups, based on stage not age where appropriate, usually with more than one member of staff in attendance.  Year 9 is a transition year when students consider qualification options and begin to consider certain subjects individually.  During years 10 and 11 students work towards personal qualifications alongside their communication, interaction, social and emotional curriculum.  Some of our students may choose to remain with us at Key Stage 5 for years 12 and 13, whilst others will be supported in their selection and transition to other colleges and places of training. 

The design of our new school creates the foundation for our curriculum providing both indoor and outdoor learning environments.  The needs of our potential students have been paramount in the development of our plans.


Timeline to Planned opening



As we head towards our planned opening in September 2020 we will achieve exciting milestones including the design and build of our new school, the appointment of our Head Teacher and staff team, the recruitment of school governors and development of relationships with the local and wider community.

Branding and Website Design

Admissions Statement Developed

Building design process begins (approx)

Website launches

Design & Build Technical Advisors assigned

March - 19

Planning application submitted

Recruitment for Head Teacher begins

Building work begins (approx)

Staff Team Recruitment

Head Teacher starts in post

Funding Agreement with DFE is made

OFSTED pre-registration inspection

Readiness to open meeting

Glendinning House plans to open to first cohort