Downs View School and Downs View Link College

Who we are

Downs View School

Downs View School and Downs View Link College provide specialist education for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD), severe learning difficulties (SLD) or moderate learning disabilities (MLD)/complex needs (including some complex speech and language disorders). A large number of pupils have additional disabilities such as a diagnosis of autistic spectrum condition (ASC), some have hearing and/or visual impairment, physical disabilities and challenging behaviour.

The school is legally registered to take pupils between 2 and 16 years old; the extended age provision from 2 to 5 years of age is being developed with the local authority to fully deliver on the remit of the school by 2020.

The school is currently situated on two sites, Downs View Woodingdean and Downs View Hollingdean. Children whose main area of need has been assessed as PMLD or SLD are currently supported at the Downs View Woodingdean site whilst children whose main area of need has been assessed as MLD/complex needs are currently supported at the Downs View Hollingdean site.

Building works are planned so that from September 2020, the whole school will be on the Woodingdean site in larger buildings. At that point, pupils who have been at the Downs View Hollingdean site will move over to the Downs View Woodingdean site.

Class sizes vary but children are taught in small groups of 8 to 9 with a high level of support from teaching assistants. As well as classrooms, the school has a food technology room, library, hydrotherapy pool, sensory room, soft room as well as an adventure playground and extensive playing fields outside. The school has three minibuses which are used for educational visits and residential holidays.

Pupils at Downs View Hollingdean also have the opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

Downs View Link College

Downs View Link College (DVLC) is a post-16 college for young people aged 16-19 years, who have SLD or PMLD. Many students have additional disabilities such as a diagnosis of autistic spectrum condition (ASC). Students start at the college in Year 12. The Link College ( aged 16-19 years) is in Surrenden Road attached to Varndean College.

The Downs View Link College provides a combined three-year course. The provision is split into three-year groups, years 12, 13 and 14 and educates all students who are between 16 to 19 years of age. Students at the Link College are expected to be able to cope with a wide programme of study. About a third of their time is spent out in the local community, engaging in link courses with local sixth form colleges, or on vocational experience placement. Following specific training, a number of students come in and go home on public transport each day. The students take part in a diverse range of extra-curricular activities which include the ‘Unified Rhythm’ samba band, visits to the cinema, ten pin bowling and outdoor pursuits and cultural activities. Students also have the opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

All students undertake accredited courses via NOCN.

Students also undertake a diverse range of work experience in the community during their 3 year programme. The experience includes running the 'Fab Cafe' on the college site on a Tuesday morning for visitors.

In addition to the classrooms, the Link College has a life skills room, common room, sensory room and gym. The college has three minibuses. In addition the college uses some facilities at the Downs View school site (eg hydrotherapy pool).

What specialist services and expertise are available at or accessed by the school?

  • Speech and Language
  • Educational Psychology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Sensory Needs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Behaviour support
  • ASC/SLD/PMLD expertise

What training and experience have the staff supporting children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities had or having?

Severe learning difficulties, profound/multiple learning difficulties, autism, proactive behaviour support and challenging behaviour, multi-sensory impairment, sensory needs, sensory diets, the 'Just Right' programme, attachment disorder, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped CHildren), Makaton, 'Attention Autism', complex needs, communication development, augmentative and assistive communication (high and low tech), medical needs/epilepsy and intensive interaction.


  • Accessible toilet
  • Accessible changing facilities
  • Hoists, static and mobile
  • Lift
  • Ramps
  • Adapted seating and standing equipment

More information on how we meet the needs of children/young people with SEND at our school


Adrian Carver


01273 601680


School website:

Ofsted dashboard:


Ofsted report: