Introducing our Head Teacher
Ursula Castillo has over 17 years of experience working in specialist independent schools, providing quality and bespoke education programmes within a nurturing environment for students with social, emotional, mental health difficulties and complex learning needs.
Ursula’s experience started in 2003 as a teacher at a residential school for students with social, emotional and mental health difficulties, where challenging behaviour was the main barrier to enable students to access their learning. In 2007, she moved to another residential school where students had a variety of needs and taught students with social, emotional, mental health difficulties and complex learning needs. During her time in this role, the school became an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) specialist unit providing education for students spanning the spectrum from high functioning to non-verbal. This enabled additional training in the use of Makaton and PECS.
In 2013, a SENCO position became available at Ursula’s previous role and she was asked to consider returning to this school to take the SENCO position. Ursula remained there for four years and in that time became a Deputy Head, alongside the SENCO position.
In 2016, Ursula moved to an alternative provision that spanned across two schools as part of an Academy. Both schools were Pupil Referral Units, one supported the needs of students who exhibited challenging behaviours, where Ursula was the Deputy Head, SENCO, Designated Teacher and DSO at this provision. The other provision was classed as a ‘Medical PRU’, primarily for students who experienced significant mental health difficulties and were placed in the service having been discharged from CAMHS hospitals. The students in this provision were not deemed able to return to their mainstream provision due to the significant amount of therapeutic input and mental health support they required. For this provision, Ursula was the Head, SENCO, Designated Teacher and DSO.
In 2017, Ursula started her work within Priory schools, taking the Head of School position at Ellingham Hospital School, providing education for students who were in a CAMHS unit aged between 12-18 years. Ellingham Hospital and the school specialised in meeting the needs of students with not only severe mental health difficulties, but, also profound and multiple learning difficulties. Ursula was also the SENCO, Designated Teacher and DSO for Ellingham Hospital School. In July 2019, Ursula became the Head of School for Kingsbrook School.