The very first school was founded in 1971 by a group of parents whose children had autism and was held in the garden shed of one family’s home in Southbourne.
Those same parents then bought a large house in Stour Road, Christchurch and were then able to replace the shed with Portfield School, with up to 20 places funded by the local education authority.
Having established one of the first schools for children with autism in the UK, demand for places grew and by the mid 1990s the school had grown into three buildings in Christchurch and was supporting 36 children – 16 of whom were boarding from Monday to Friday.
The new school at its current location in West Parley was officially opened on 5th November 2002 by HRH The Princess Royal. On 28th October 2005, the respite home Wessex Lodge, located in the grounds of the school, was officially opened by HRH The Countess of Wessex.