This is an excellent development, setting a very high standard for the accommodation of young people with autism and creating an outstanding environment for staff to provide their care.

Ofsted Inspector, July 2017

It’s been a busy and exciting time for Prior’s Court due to our expansion and we’ve almost completed our new purpose-built living and learning facilities, enabling us to support an additional 13 young people severely affected by autism. There is a high level of demand for places at our provision and our specialist facilities and skilled staff enable us to make a real difference to young people severely affected by autism.

State of the art design

Winter - new facilities external artworkOur new facilities named after the seasons Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter are ambitious – like our hopes for the young people in our care and are specially designed to anticipate and reduce the challenges faced by young people due to the severity and complexity of their autism. It will directly address important issues such as sensitivities to noise, heat, visual stimulation and the need for visual cues.

They are spacious, structured and safe and will provide privacy and dignity for residents.

The picture shows the external artwork and gardens in progress for 'Winter'

A key part of the new building is a communal hub designed to increase opportunities for socialising, vocational skills and onsite work placements. For example, a purpose built gym and reception area will be run by young people to encourage life skills and work experience. 

Just some of the carefully thought out features include:

  • A separate entrance for each house with a private garden for recreation and calming.
  • An environment with minimal distractions, visually and acoustically.
  • Built-in storage.
  • Robust construction methods to reduce the risk of damage.
  • Recessed lighting, reinforced floors and walls and carefully selected windows with automated blinds built in.
  • A medication room and staff room in each house.
  • Kitchens are fitted with dual appliances so that staff can teach life skills whilst enabling young people to have as much independence as possible.
  • Immediate access to outside space from all kitchens and lounges as well as wide corridors and doorways to enable staff to assist the young people when anxious.
  • Ensuite bathrooms in each bedroom, two of which will be created using extra robust materials and with minimal fixtures such as sensor operated water inlets rather than taps.
  • The whole bedroom visible from the bedroom door to allow support staff to check on a young person without entering.
  • Windows with low level frosting for privacy.

A recent Ofsted visit prior to young people moving in saw the inspector praising the team for the attention detail: 

No detail has been too small to be considered, with the focus constantly on the potential impact on the lives of young people.

The inspector also commented:

The result is that the new houses are highly likely to significantly improve the lives of those young people who move into them.

New jobs created

Priors Court student with staff at tuck shopDue to our expansion, we are looking to recruit Autism Practitioners and Support Workers to join our committed teams. Our staff are crucial to the progress of young people, having even been described as ‘unsung heroes’ by one parent. Due to the specialist nature of the support required, we provide full training and aim for all our staff to be experts in supporting young people severely affected by autism.

We are currently looking for experienced and inexperienced people to join us, perhaps you’re a Care Worker or Support Worker already, perhaps you’re a Psychology graduate looking for experience or just left school or college and are keen to embark on a fulfilling career, or perhaps you’re interested in changing careers to do something more rewarding. Whatever your reason, if you’re passionate about providing care and education to children and young people and enjoy a varied and challenging role then we’d love to hear from you. You can find out more about what it's like to work at Prior's Court, the difference you can make to young people and can apply for our trainee or experienced positions via our Careers section. We also have part time positions to suit working parents or those wanting a little more flexibility.