Priory Lodge School is a day school, providing older primary and secondary education to young people aged 9 to 19 years old with high functioning autism and anxiety.
What sets us apart?
One of the key distinguishing factors about Priory Lodge School is the way in which our educational staff work side-by-side with our therapeutic staff.
Priory Lodge School works with a lot of young people who have been hospitalised through anxiety – sometimes due to eating disorders and sometimes mental health difficulties, but often mainly due to anxiety. We recognise the pivotal role that therapy plays in removing these barriers to learning and take a multidisciplinary approach to our pupils’ individual programmes.
We understand that a ‘one size fits all’ approach would not work for our young people. Instead, Priory Lodge School works hard to create individualised learning programmes for our pupils. Key features include:
- Individual timetables for each child
- High staff pupil ratio
- Opportunity for 1:1 work for individuals who are struggling to work within a group, for a period of time
- Children streamed into classes by ability rather than by year group; allowing for flexibility for pupils who may have experienced a disrupted educational pathway
- Alternative methods of recording written information according to a pupil’s individual needs (e.g. using a laptop and learning to touch type).
Small class sizes
Priory Lodge School is a small school. We are only registered for 70 learners on the main school site.
Our small size allows us to deliver individualised learning packages in very small groups, typically with up to 8 young people per class.
A stepping stone on the path to adulthood
We recognise that there is only a finite amount of time that young people are able to be with us at the school so, for us, it’s about what changes we can make in this time to really make a difference to the young person’s life. When a young person joins us at Priory Lodge School, we will always look at their strengths and see how we can best steer them for their future.
We understand that each and every pupil who studies with us must have outcomes. Priory Lodge School offers the same learning expectancies for our pupils as those of a mainstream school yet we recognise that these academic expectancies must be balanced with their autism and their anxiety.
Priory Lodge School places a strong focus on the individual and the use of therapy as we believe this is what will best help our young people to reach their potential while they are with us.
Keeping parents and carers informed
Priory Lodge School recognises the importance of building strong two-way links between home and school. We have a range of measures in place to facilitate open and honest communication between the school’s education staff and parents/carers. These include:
- Fortnightly newsletters
- Parents’ Evenings and progress reviews, autumn and spring terms
- Detailed pupil progress report, summer term
- All senior managers have an open door policy for parents/carers
- Teachers regularly contact parents
- Tailoring contact to parents’/carers’ needs (offered via phone, email or face-to-face)
- Advising on and providing support (where possible) for the families of the young people in our care
Priory Lodge School is committed to supporting pupils and their families, to working closely with parents to meet challenges and to sharing common problems. We also work closely with social services, the Local Education Authorities and other multi agency groups to ensure families have access to a wide range of expertise and support.
Managing and rewarding behaviour
We believe in using positive reinforcement throughout the day to reward behaviour and achievement. Priory Lodge School has a wide range of opportunities to celebrate success, including:
- Praise and encouragement
- Extension of a preferred activity
- Use of reward charts
- Promotion of personal responsibility
- Recognition within assemblies and articles within the school Newsletter
Everyone who works at Priory Lodge School is trained to approach our young people’s behaviour as functional and communicative. We recognise that any intervention to manage or reduce behaviour must consider the young person’s needs and take place in a secure and sensitive environment that promotes respect.