Staff encourage children to lead healthy lifestyles and to understand what this means for them.

Ofsted inspection report, June 2019

Regular exercise is a vital part of each day for our students and a core principle of our approach.

We believe vigorous exercise improves sleep and attention patterns, releases excess energy, provides opportunities for play and social interaction and is part of the repertoire for calming when agitated.

Each class and residential house has immediate access to outside space enabling students to take part in a programme of activity, planned around their preferences and needs. The physical activity elements of the waking day support students to increase focus, reduce anxieties and learn to self-calm.

Students enjoy a range of activities both in groups and individually including walking, running, cycling, roller-skating, swimming, gymnastics, trampolining, ball games, posture exercises, yogacise, Sherborne developmental movement, massage and horse-riding as well as outdoor vocational activities.

Onsite facilities to support physical exercise include 50 acres of grounds, a trim trail, outdoor gym equipment, running track, gymnasium, trampolines, Wii fit, swings, zip wire, bicycles, trikes and scooters and sensory swimming pool. Community facilities are regularly accessed to further support activity programmes.

Meals and diet

Meal times are an important part of the curriculum, enabling students to develop social and life skills as well as a healthy diet. Students dine as a family group and staff eat alongside to model behaviour. The dining room has been purpose-built to minimise noise and distraction and pull-out screens are available to offer greater distraction-free areas. The school dining room and residential kitchen and dining areas are carefully structured to encourage and support developing independence. The Occupational Therapists also support with adaptive equipment where needed to promote independence during meal times, for example providing students with adapted cutlery. Strategies are used to motivate students to eat a balanced diet and visual structure aids understanding of expectations around choice and quantity of food. The Occupational Therapists support students who have sensory difficulties around meal times to desensitise and tolerate different experiences with gradual exposure.

Care is taken to ensure a balanced diet is provided. A dietician provides advice on nutrition. The school avoids the use of preservatives and artificial colouring. All food is freshly prepared daily.

All students regularly shop for food and learn to prepare and cook meals. Snack sessions take place in the class and house to provide opportunities to communicate and choose new or motivating foods.

Each student has an individual dietary plan. The school supports (at extra cost) a variety of diets which include gluten and casein-free diets with the written consent and agreement of the student’s medical consultant. The school also supports cultural dietary needs and preferences.

Take a look at a sample menu