← Back to search results
School Logo

Prior's Court School

Hermitage, Thatcham, RG18 9NU, West Berkshire

01635 247202/245914



Prior's Court School
School type Independent Special School
Founded 1999
Special Needs ASD, AUT, CLD, EPI, MLD, SCLD
Director of Education and Learning Sue Piper
Date Appointed September 2011
Co-ed Age Range 5-19
Number of pupils 59
Number of boys 49
Number of girls 10
Number of boarders 57
Number of sixth formers 26
Fees On application

Prior's Court School provides education and residential care for children and young people from 5 to 19 years with autism, moderate-to-severe learning difficulties and complex needs.

Some young people may have other medical conditions or additional needs such as ADHD, epilepsy. Some young people may exhibit challenging behaviours. Many are non-verbal, pre-verbal or have limited functional language.

Prior's Court School opened in 1999 and is managed by registered charity Prior's Court Foundation. It is an independent special school, dually registered as a Children's Home offering day, weekly and termly placements with 38, 44 and 52-week options.

Additionally, Prior's Court Young Adult Provision was set up in 2011 to meet the continuing needs of young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 with autism, learning difficulties and complex needs. It offers 52 week residential care with an onsite learning centre.

As an autism-specific school, Prior's Court is able to focus on meeting the special needs of its young people in the most effective and consistent way to support their learning.

  • The environment is specially adapted to meet young people's needs - it is highly structured, calm, low-arousal and safe providing opportunities to learn, exercise, interact and relax onsite.
  • Prior's Court School's commitment to autism expertise means that staff are trained and experienced in using a range of methodologies and strategies to support each individual's needs and development in all settings throughout the Waking Day.
  • There is a large onsite multi-disciplinary team providing therapeutic and health support throughout 52 weeks including Occupational therapy, Speech and Language therapy, Positive Behaviour Support and Nursing able to provide support throughout the school day and in residential settings as well as out in the community.
  • Our provision focuses on meeting the special educational needs of the young people with an emphasis on creating meaningful and functional learning opportunities which build on each individual's strengths and interests to provide a person-centred approach.
  • By having learning objectives which are consistent across education and residential settings, young people are able to learn throughout the Waking Day. Individual Learning, Essential Lifestyle Plans and Positive Behaviour Support plans are reviewed regularly by specialist, experienced staff across education, residential, night, therapeutic and multi-disciplinary teams.

Young people have access to the National Curriculum through an adapted scheme of work. The curriculum also addresses the characteristic additional needs of young people with autism. Therefore significant emphasis is placed upon communication, independent life, literacy and numeracy skills, vocational and learning skills.

Young people throughout Prior's Court School work through ASDAN accreditation with a larger emphasis for the Upper School who attend identified learning streams based on their strengths, interests and emerging skills.

By combining autism expertise and best practice with a person-centred approach, the school aims to achieve the highest level of progress for each individual enabling them to self-manage behaviour, communicate, manage transitions, develop independent living and social skills, make choices and advocate and progress to building vocational skills and undertaking work-placement activities.

Skills are taught onsite and applied out in the community during regular offsite trips, enabling students to work towards inclusion as far as possible.

"We were often told by professionals that our son, Brandon, was the most challenging and severely autistic child they had ever met. Since Brandon has started at Prior’s court, we have seen him achieve milestones that we thought to be impossible. Brandon is now able to communicate with PECS, and at times, language. His anxiety levels have dropped and, consequently, so have the levels of challenging behaviour. The times we now spend together as a family are very positive."

Parent at Prior's Court School.