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24-hour Referral Line: 0800 304 7244
24-hour Referral Line: 0800 304 7244
Pontville School

Our school offer

Our aim is to provide pupils with a range of opportunities so that they can reach their full potential.

Independent specialist boarding offer

For some young people with special educational needs a residential boarding placement can offer the right balance of education, support and stability that will then allow them to make rapid academic progress and develop socially. This will then allow them to make rapid academic progress and develop socially, achieved by our 24-hour curriculum. 

The young person will attend the school as a day pupil, benefiting from the expertise and support we offer whilst the residential offer provides a warm and welcoming environment that allows for the development of positive relationships with peers and adults. The dedicated staff team create a family atmosphere where shared experiences provide opportunities for personal development and a sense of belonging.

Our young people live in our boarding houses and return to their home setting on a weekly basis, returning home on weekends and school holidays.

Our strong ethos and co-ordinated approach sees school and boarding staff work closely with parents and carers to enable each child or young person to develop into confident, independent and ambitious young adults.

The approach has a strong focus on enriching each young person’s social and communication skills which enables them to make friends, engage in new activities and experiences, and move forward with an ambition to discover and learn. The school and boarding staff teams both support and positively challenge each young person to widen their scope of life experiences and encourage them to experiment and undertake fresh challenge, which ultimately results in them improving their knowledge, skills and ability. Every pupil is guided by experienced and empathetic professionals who will be able to plan and adapt to ensure pupils achieve and succeed.

We aim to provide pupils with opportunities so that they can reach milestones in education and make progress with their emotional wellbeing and social development. The teaching, support and clinical staff team at Pontville are an integral part of reaching this aim as the expertise and drive of our professionals ensure pupils access a range of programmes so that they can flourish and enjoy learning in our inspiring environment.


Key stages & curriculum

Pupils in Key Stages 2, 3, 4 and 5 attend Pontville School and follow the national curriculum that is individualised to each pupil.

We deliver a ‘24 hour curriculum’ which is structured around developing pupils through building speech, communication, confidence, and self-esteem within a supportive learning environment.  This specialised curriculum gives pupils access to a range of academic, vocational, therapeutic and leisure activities, and so enabling them to become more confident and successful learners.

We offer a primary provision that places emphasis on the young people developing their communication abilities for the fulfilment of their own personal and learning needs. The focus is on helping the young person acquire the basic skills to communicate effectively and appropriately for their age group. This helps them gain the most from the curriculum and the intensive therapeutic support given.

Key Stage 3 and 4 pupils are taught the curriculum by specialist subject teachers and the National Strategies Programmes are followed.

At this stage we focus an helping our young people develop their personal and social communication skills into a wider social context, both within the school and the wider world. We have specialist facilities for all the curriculum areas offered, including science, technologies, arts and humanities, english, mathematics and PE. Work experience and Generalisation programmes help transfer these skills into the wider community.

Key Stage 4 subject areas are linked to accredited courses including academic, vocational and work related learning. Careful planning ensures that educational opportunities are delivered and maximised with the values of honesty, respect, happiness, responsibility, tolerance and peace at the centre.

Key Stage 5 pupils follow an individualised curriculum based on their specific needs. The provision usually includes attendance at a local college, alongside support from the school to ensure that the young person is fully prepared to return to their home area and progress, in a positive manner, onto a further education college course or into work based training.

Life skills and support for independent living are incorporated into the curriculum as well as full preparation for transition at the end of the course.

In our final stage we look to develop the abilities of young people to practically apply their personal social communication skills in a manner that will help them transfer into further education or the world of work at 18/19. As with the previous phase we offer specialist facilities for vocational courses delivered on site (Catering, Land Based Studies, Practical Skills and Functional Skills) and college link support for those looking at transition into the mainstream setting. Work experience and link college courses allow the school to successfully bridge the gap between the specialist setting and the wider world.

We believe pupils learn more effectively with a hands on approach and encourage them to get involved in the school’s ‘24 hour curriculum’, which sees them participate in recreational, sporting and cultural activities onsite and in the local community.   

If there is a particular interest or hobby a young person wishes to pursue, we will do our utmost to accommodate and encourage this. All activities are carried out by appropriately qualified staff.

The enrichment programmes at Pontville are well complimented by the academic curriculum and support pupils as they develop essential life skills and grow as an individual. 

We provide access to the National Curriculum and a range of external examinations are offered at a variety of levels including GCSE, ASDAN, Functional Skills, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and a variety of vocational awards recognised nationwide by employers and colleges.

We have an integrated communication curriculum to transfer and consolidate skills in lessons with Generalisation Therapy, which enables the pupils to apply these skills in real- life situations.

All pupils can access a wide range of subjects including:

  • English (Language and Literature)
  • Maths
  • Science
  • Computing
  • History
  • Geography
  • Religious Education
  • Art
  • Physical Education
  • Citizenship
  • PSHE
  • Food Technology
  • Catering
  • Construction Skills
  • Motor Vehicle Engineering
  • Asdan
  • Land Based Studies
  • Duke of Edinburgh Awards
  • Music
  • Modern Foreign Language – French


Find out what makes our school unique

We provide unique learning opportunities for our pupils to help them engage with learning so that they can develop skills and grow in confidence to become proud members of our school community.

This provision incorporates the existing best practice and expertise offered at Pontville but in a more nurturing and specialist environment.

The aim of the primary provision is to support pupils so that their transition into Key Stage 3 is smooth and they adapt and adjust to their new and exciting chapter with us. The primary provision includes two classrooms with IT facilities, a group communication room and a sensory room. Pupils will also have their own playground facilities and access to our on­site farm and activity areas.

The vast outdoor area of the school is home to a farm, Forest School and a greenhouse where seasonal vegetables are grown. Each area can be explored by pupils either through their timetable, lunchtime activities or Friday afternoon enrichment session.

The farm area includes free-range chickens, geese, Shetland ponies, pigs, guinea pigs and rabbits who live in their dedicated enclosures. The opportunity to take care of and play with the animals in the outdoor area provides therapeutic support and enables pupils to get hands-on with caring for animals and the environment. A much loved activity is collecting eggs and selling them to the school; the farm operates like an enterprise.

The dedicated space also enables the school to offer subjects for pupils studying at post 16 including Small Animal Care and Land Based Studies.

The Forest School area allows pupils to explore, play and discover. The aim of the area is to help shape the resilience, confidence and self-esteem of pupils through hands on learning experiences. The Forest School has been a benefit to pupils as they are given opportunities to further improve social skills, problem solving abilities and team working. The development of these skills and qualities have cascaded into other areas of pupils’ school life, as well as their personal life, allowing them to grow, flourish and thrive.

Transitioning to further education, training or employment is made easier for Year 11 leavers with the support of our staff team.

Working with pupils and their families, staff facilitate Independent Careers Advice and Guidance to help them make informed choices about their future aspirations. Furthermore, pupils access taster sessions at our 16-19 Centre to help them discover their interests and plan their next steps with confidence and interest.

With the help and support of staff, they are able to create a plan for their post-16 education. If a pupil decides to attend an external post-16 provider, we will also contact the SEN coordinator to ensure that they are informed of any special arrangements or support that needs to be in place for the student. We will also ensure that all relevant supporting documents are shared to help with the transition to support the provider and student.

Pontville 16-19 Centre

To further increase the opportunities and successful outcomes of our students, we have our 16-19 Centre, which offers additional opportunities for pupils at our school site.

The centre’s offer is tailored to the individual needs of the young people and includes either a vocational or academic pathway, or a combination of the two. We truly believe that students should be able to explore and experience a variety of options to develop their skills and make informed choices about the next steps in their future.

The highly equipped learning environment, which incorporates a range of resources to support progressive and specialist qualifications, mirrors a work environment managed by experienced staff. This includes a fully functioning kitchen that supports catering qualifications; a salon for hair, beauty and customer care qualifications; motor vehicle and construction areas to support related vocational qualifications; subject specialist classrooms and designated teaching areas, as well as access to the main school site for
learning opportunities in subjects that require classrooms and equipment that are readily available.

We offer subjects in line with the aspirations of each young person. These include: 

  • GCSE 
  • A Level equivalent qualifications 
  • Level 3 Extended Project Qualification 

Vocational subjects 

  • Entry Level 3 - Level 1 Customer Service 
  • Entry Level 2 - 3 Skills for Working Life 
  • Entry 3 - Level 2 Construction 
  • Entry 3 - Level 3 Hair & Beauty 
  • Entry 3 - Level 1 Vehicle Maintenance 
  • Level 1- 2 Applies Science 
  • Level 1- 2 Catering NVQ 
  • Level 1 Land Based Studies 
  • Level 3 Professional Cookery 
  • Level 3 History 
  • Level 3 Psychology
  • Level 3 Science 4
  • BTEC Level 3 Certificate in IT Systems & Principles 

Life skills 

  • Entry Level 3 - Level 1 Award in Work Skills 
  • Entry Level 3 - Level 1 Certificate in Work Skills 
  • BTEC Entry 3 - Level 1 Work Skills 
  • Preparing for Adulthood 
  • Employability 

In addition, all students will have access to:

  • Maths and English at a progressive level
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award 
  • Work experience and voluntary work placements
  • Physical Skills/Sports Leaders up to Level 2
  • Independent Living Skills Diploma in Life Skills
  • Food Hygiene Certificate
  • PHSE AQA Unit Award
  • Independent Careers Guidance

The Preparation for Adulthood toolkit, developed by the Department for Education, is used as a framework to support our students further as they prepare for adulthood. In the timetabled sessions, they work towards meeting the following objectives: 

Employment skills - Crafting personalised CVs, students develop and practice interview techniques and explore skills needed in customer service, teamwork, effective communication, and problem-solving skills. 

Independent living - By exploring budgeting, cooking, and time management, they develop a sense of financial responsibility and autonomy. We also offer travel training to help them develop their confidence and independence so that they can add to their ever-growing toolkit of life skills. 

Community inclusion - Taking part in community activities enhances their social skills and emotional well-being. This network also contributes to keeping them safe outside school, as they witness communities often promote watchfulness and mutual care. Moreover, it brings awareness of the criminal justice system, educating our young people about legal responsibilities and consequences. 

Health - Understanding the importance of personal well-being, including physical and mental health, contributes to a holistic approach to independent living. Students can also identify when to seek professional help from a GP. 

By embracing the principles of independent living, students gain the confidence and resilience needed to transition successfully into adulthood, with a  sense of empowerment and self-reliance.

The 16-19 Centre also houses an independent living area that simulates a home environment, which is part of the programme. They also take responsibility for maintaining the upkeep of the centre by organising and cleaning, which further develops a sense of pride, confidence and independence.

We strongly believe in providing our students with opportunities to experience the world of work through our work experience programme. The students' experience working in a range of industries allows them to plan ahead and carve out a future for themselves in an area of interest.

We actively work on developing partnerships with local businesses through our Future programme so that a range of industries are on offer. The opportunity to speak to leaders and inspiring entrepreneurs and experience the work environment provides them with the chance to develop their interpersonal skills as well as instil a sense of ambition and work ethic. This coupled with our approach in developing their social and emotional skills sets them up to become confident and resilient members of both the centre and their local communities. 

Throughout the year, students lead enterprise activities. They plan, develop and work together to deliver events, such as the Christmas market, where parents, carers, pupils and staff come together to enjoy an evening of festive fun. Throughout the year they also manage the tuck shop and host pop up restaurants for their family and friends.

Before our students come to the end of their journey with us we work with them, their parents and carers and other agencies to ensure that the next steps of their journey into adulthood are confident and successful ones.
Planned transitions for each one of our students has resulted in them either continuing with education, pursuing apprenticeships or taking steps into the world of work.

Our care and keen interest in their success continues after they leave us. Our Family Liaison Officer contacts students and their families after a period of time to find out how they are doing on their new and exciting pathway into adulthood. If additional help and advice is required, they are signposted to professional services that can help them to continue with their journey.


Whether our children or young people want to be an astronaut or an artist or anything in between, we are completely committed to helping them realise futures that are out of this world.

Developed in complete collaboration with schools, employers and young people, Futures is all about delivering unlimited aspiration and endless opportunity for every child.

Trust us when we say, your child’s future truly matters to us too.

Explore our dedicated Futures wesite here

Our therapeutic support

We provide young people with unrivalled levels of therapeutic support, both in terms of the expertise and experience of our in-school staff and the wide range of therapies offered. 

Our therapeutic approach includes: 

  • As required, young people have the support of our Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists.
  • Our commitment to delivering outstanding therapeutic support to all young people is based on attachment principles. We believe that unless a young person is able to feel emotionally secure they are less likely to fulfil their personal, social and educational potential.
  • Our unique approach to supporting young people allows us to achieve uniquely outstanding outcomes, which in turn enable our young people to go on to realise a future filled with aspiration and achievement.


Our commitment to therapeutic support

We have an extensive Clinical Team, who are able to offer our young people within our school a truly personalised and comprehensive package of therapeutic support.

  • We will ensure that every young person develops resilience and releases their potential by providing the appropriate clinical support for their social, emotional and mental health needs.
  • We will support a young person to develop their competencies and abilities to help them become a capable young adult.
    We will completely integrate the delivery of therapeutic support.
  • We will operate a direct delivery model of therapy offering universal services targeted to the needs of individual children and young people.

Staffing and Pastoral Care

Our staff have a wealth of experience and qualifications in teaching and caring for pupils with Special Educational Needs. They have also received training from Witherslack Group’s Clinical Team, which includes clinical psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and therapists.

Teachers and teaching assistants are extremely well equipped in providing appropriate support to meet the needs of our pupils and establish a positive and engaging learning environment. The education staff consists of a stable and experienced team and the professional development of teachers and teaching assistants is supported through regular internal and external training. This ensures extremely effective teaching practices are in place and lesson activities are well-planned to support learning.

The Pastoral Care Team develop excellent links with parents, carers and families, as well as professionals involved with a pupil. They also provide additional support, when required, to help pupils engage in classes.

We are dedicated to the development of each young person, focusing on areas such as independence, self-esteem, resilience, making safe choices and communication.

All this support allows each child, whatever their needs, the opportunity to engage and enjoy their education.

The Pastoral Care Team ensure that all pupils’ well-being is constantly reviewed and developed, and that strong links are made between school and home.

Make an enquiry

Whether you are interested in your child attending our school or just want to know more information about our offer, contact our team.

Contact us