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Across the school there are such tutorial rooms, some with names on the doors which are set up for individual children. The building is so huge that they can be set up on demand. If a child needs one, Dormand simply asks the handyman to set up a new partition. Some of these have tents in them, where children can snuggle and calm in times of high anxiety. We saw one bedecked with a purple rug and a foot spa – it is used by a girl who comes out of class when she is anxious or needs to concentrate. ‘We build up their confidence so they can go back into class. But we are constantly looking for them to be part of a bigger group, otherwise if they can’t, it closes doors in adult life ...

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What the school says...

At the NAS Robert Odgen School, we pride ourselves on our personal approach to each child who comes here. All our children learn at their own pace and according to their own individual needs. It is a pleasure to watch them progress and we celebrate their achievements, however big or small, whenever we can. Our specialist staff are a dedicated close-knit team. They work together to create a stable and structured environment where our children can learn and be nurtured.

Our children have a range of abilities. Each child will:
- receive teaching of the highest quality which includes autism-specific techniques;
- learn in an appropriately safe and stimulating environment;
- be encouraged to aim for high standards in their own learning and achievement;
- benefit from good communication between home and school;
- learn good behaviour and attitudes so that they can make a positive contribution to school life;
- study a broad, balanced and challenging curriculum;
- learn in a caring and cared for environment;
- be given support in their learning at all times;
- be part of a healthy school.

We create a positive, caring environment in which children can develop and achieve their own goals. Some of our children come to us after a long period away from school. We hope with support and care they will come to see school as a comfortable, positive place, where they are welcome.

Our children learn in class groups, residential groups or on their own depending on what works best for them. We encourage all our children to join in with school life as much as it is possible for them to do so; attending assemblies and communal mealtimes and joining social clubs may be new to many of our children. We always make sure they are happy to try new things and all our activities take into account age, ability and individual needs.

Children in our homes plan their own activities for the week with the help of their key workers. These may include attending external clubs and groups such as swimming, scouts and youth clubs.

Where possible, we encourage our young people to proceed to mainstream school and further education colleges and to work towards formal examinations. Our aim is to teach our children the skills they need to live as independently as possible in the future. Older students will have their own bank account, learn to travel on public transport, look after the home, shop and budget. Each child is given a leaving care plan.

We understand that your child's wellbeing is of paramount importance to you, and we have extremely robust safeguarding procedures and practices in place to support this. Our school is a nurturing and high quality environment, and staff are committed to ensuring that each child feels safe and cared for. We firmly believe it is the right of every child to be healthy, safe and happy, and to achieve and make a positive contribution.

As well as day pupils we also take termly weekday boarders in our new facility - Thurnscoe House located just over a mile a mile away from the school in the heart of the local community. Thurnscoe House also operates a popular short breaks service. Children can access overnight stays during term time or fun filled activity breaks at the weekend or during the school holidays. The latter two services are also available to children with autism who do not attend the school.

Clayton Croft is the school's children's home, located within the school grounds. Clayton Croft is a modern and hospitable set of four interconnected areas with accommodation for up to 16 children and young people with autism, aged eight to 17 years. But it is so much more than simply a home for children attending the adjacent school. Clayton Croft is a place where the development of the whole child their educational, social and personal well-being is paramount. The children each have a key worker who they meet with once a week to review their care plan and progress.

During the school term, staff from both the NAS Robert Ogden School and Clayton Croft work together, sharing information to support the childrens educational progress and providing support in the classroom. Social and personal potential is fostered year-round; through a culture of care and individual relationships between staff and the children, a range of purposeful activities and outings and opportunities for children to make decisions and take responsibility for aspects of their lives.
By taking part in the decisions that affect them, such as their living environment and daily schedules, children are able to develop their confidence, self-esteem and communication skills. Through the efforts of our staff and with access to technology, everyone is able to communicate their views. By participating in this way, young people can begin to prepare for adult life.

Our staff are encouraged to be proficient in a range of communication methods in order to meet the complex needs of the children. There is a positive culture of warmth and understanding which parents appreciate. We use the NAS SPELL framework to create a supportive, structured and autism-friendly environment. We welcome referrals of children and young people from local authorities across the country and encourage regular contact with families. There is a family room for visits and we use Skype for longer distance contact
...Read more

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What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2014, Lorraine Dormand. She worked in the school for a couple of years before, as deputy and then acting principal. It’s always been special education for her; a spell of teaching practice in ‘a beautiful mainstream school’ left her bored rigid and intending to pursue an alternative career. Filling in with some temporary work, she got a job as a TA at a school for speech and language difficulties. A wise colleague asked her to take charge of a group of pupils who he was struggling with. ‘When he said they were autistic I thought he said artistic,’ Dormand says. He handed her a couple of teaching resources – a book by autism guru Lorna Wing, and an inner tube from a bike wheel (the inner tube, apparently used to teach relaxation to...

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Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

In both the school and residential homes we have a wealth of experience in autistic spectrum disorders, and this is further strengthened by the breadth of knowledge held across the range of services provided by The National Autistic Society. All staff access a high standard of in-house training, following a programme of continuing professional development. We aim to provide a stable, structured and nurturing environment in which young people with autism can achieve their full potential. All pupils have access to a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum, including the National Curriculum where appropriate. In particular the school is able to provide: skilled and experienced teaching and care staff; Psychology and Speech and Language Therapy staff; high staffing ratios; homely and nurturing residential environment; individual education packages based on the NAS SPELL framework. Nov 09.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder Y
Aspergers Y
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory Y
Has SEN unit or class Y
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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