Young people are encouraged to develop their independent living skills and broaden their experience in the community.

Ofsted inspection report, October 2014

A major focus within the waking day curriculum is on developing independent living skills which are taught in a way that is meaningful and functional for the young person. In this way, students learn to acquire appropriate sleeping and toileting patterns, develop personal care routines and appropriate mealtime behaviour; build the understanding and ability to shop, prepare and serve food with increasing levels of independence; undertake household chores such as using washing machines and dishwashers, sorting laundry and tidying bedrooms; learn to share and developing a sense of family and community.

Vocational and Life skills

student with wheelbarrow and leavesLife skills are developed with a strong vocational focus throughout the school but particularly for the older students (see our Post 16 section). Our vocational programme begins as soon as a child joins the school with activities built around their strengths and interests. For example, practising the skills needed to fold laundry before working at a local national hotel chain; or taking an obsession with cleaning and developing that into an ability to work with the housekeeping team onsite, before taking on a placement in the community.

Opportunities are based around each young person's strengths and interests and could include work placements both on and off-site to support and extend students’ growing independence. Some projects generate income which students bank and use to fund further activities. 

Vocational activities include:-

  • administration and fulfilment tasks such as filing, delivering post, shredding, laminating, packaging, printing and folding leaflets, creating and selling greeting cards, undertaking mail shots
  • IT from the creation of cards to data input on finance spreadsheets
  • animal husbandary, gardening and groundswork such as mowing lawns, cultivation of seeds and plants to create fruit, flowers and vegetables for sale, laying paths and maintaining outdoor furniture
  • customer service including running a tuck shop onsite and a stall at a community garden centre off-site.

Community inclusionCommunity inclusion at Prior

To support the curriculum and integration into society we provide regular opportunities for students to learn, play, create and socially interact with others outside of Prior's Court. We are actively involved in our community and welcome and encourage links with local schools, colleges and organisations.

Students regularly use local supermarkets, cafes and libraries to practice, consolidate and transfer skills. Visits are structured with visual instructions, schedules, shopping lists and reward systems. Other off-site activities include trips to theatres, cinemas, museums, restaurants, swimming pools, farms, leisure parks, ice-rinks and bowling alleys, countryside walks and many more. Students can become members of a local gym, football club, climbing club, sailing group and scout pack, attend a youth club and walk dogs for a local Dog Trust, depending on their interests.

As part of the vocational skills development off-site work placements are found within the community such as at a local abbey, a superstore, garden centre, hotels and other local organisations.

Pupils learn first-hand about public institutions from public services officers and by visiting local shops, garden centres, museums, theatres, churches, zoos and the forest.

Ofsted inspection report, October 2013