Prior's Court has developed a specialist approach for supporting young people with severe autism, which enables them to reach their full potential. The approach is based on autism best practice and methodologies and is moulded to suit the specialist needs of our young people and support their physical, intellectual and emotional wellbeing. Applied across all settings with consistency, our approach provides a toolkit of skills which enable young people severely challenged by their autism to make sense of the world around them and support them through their life.


Part of what makes our approach so successful is the high level of expertise we maintain amongst staff members. The approach is based on TEACCH methodologies - world renowned for its effectiveness in supporting those with autism. AN exceptional number of staff are TEACCH trained including Teachers, Home Managers and Deputy Managers plus three staff are TEACCH Certified Practitioners and four are TEACCH Certified Advanced Consultants which is a very significant achievement.

We continuously review and adapt our specialist approach to ensure it meets the unique needs of each individual and we maintain strong links with the University of North Carolina to benefit from the most up to date research and techniques.

Key Focus

  • Providing a pathway to independence – enabling each individual to self-manage behaviour, communicate, manage transitions, develop independent living and social skills, choice-making and advocacy and progress to building vocational skills and undertaking work-placement activities.
  • Consistency throughout the waking day – a shared approach and objectives, careful planning and a focus on expertise for all staff enables young people to learn throughout the waking day and in all settings.
  • Structure within the environment and organisation of the day – using the TEACCH system with individualised visual and physical structure throughout the organisation of the day, in learning and living spaces. The environment is highly structured, calm, low-arousal, safe and secure.
  • Physical exercise – a varied programme of regular and frequent physical activity to improve attention and sleep patterns, provide opportunities for social interaction and is part of the repertoire of strategies for calming young people when anxious.
  • Towards inclusion - skills once taught and practiced onsite are then generalised offsite with frequent access to the local community.
  • An inter-disciplinary approach – on site therapeutic and medical teams provide support throughout the waking day in all settings throughout 52 weeks of the year. Speech and Language therapy, Occupational therapy including Sensory Integration, Music therapy, Clinical and Educational psychology and Nursing team are joined by other therapists as required.
  • Autism expertise – a strong focus on training means staff are experienced in using a range of strategies to support individual needs and development in all settings throughout the waking day. Regular staff training from induction onwards ensures the highest levels of knowledge and expertise.

Our son had a lot of behavioural problems and was self injurious. He would bite his hand when he was anxious or bang his head.He had no way of communicating and was therefore extremely frustrated as a young boy. The methodology was one of the main reasons we chose Prior’s Court and the structure. The Waking Day curriculum and the high staff to pupil ratio also helped to convince us it was the right school for him. The regular breaks for physical activity, and everything being all on one site, the staff, the warmth, trust and friendliness – we fell in love with Prior’s Court. It felt good from day one.

Parent of a pupil at Prior's Court School