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Services summary

Our mission statement: ‘Making Every Second Count’

Through a personalised curriculum, delivered in a structured learning environment underpinned by physical exercise and a multisensory approach, Rugeley School respects young people with autism and prepares them to be as happy and independent as possible.

The young people we support

Rugeley School is a co-educational independent specialist school, with two attached children’s homes. We offer placements to young people between 5 and 19 years old with a primary diagnosis of autism or evidence of behaviours associated with such a diagnosis. We cater for young people with associated learning difficulties within the moderate to severe range. Many have had an unsuccessful previous journey through local authority, special schools and PRUs.

Our approach to autism

Our respect for autism at Rugeley School means we do not see it as a collection of symptoms that need to be met head on or ‘cured’. Instead, we understand we need to work with the unique impact this will have on every individual. Our philosophy means we look through potentially challenging behaviours in order to determine what they are communicating about that individual e.g  frustrations created by sensory issues or an inability to communicate needs/feelings.

The school perceives autism to be a neurodevelopmental condition which involves, to a greater or lesser degree, an impairment of:

  • Social interaction
  • Social communication
  • Social imagination and flexibility of thought
  • The ability to learn and or generalise thought
  • Motor skills
  • Sensory integration

As such, our priority is to develop each pupil’s:

  • Functional spontaneous communication
  • Ability to make social relationships
  • Ability to interact recreationally with peers
  • Skillset in meaningful life-enhancing activities
  • Emotional regulatory capacity

Additionally we also seek to ensure that:

  • All priorities, targets and activities for every child are developmentally appropriate whilst incorporating the capacity to ‘push the envelope’ for them i.e. try out new experiences
  • All domains of child development (communicative, social, cognitive, and motor) are viewed as interrelated and interdependent
  • All school staff establish positive relationships with children and all family members. All children and family members are treated with dignity and respect
  • Family members are considered experts about their child. Assessment and educational efforts are viewed as collaborative processes with family members

Partnership working

Rugeley School is committed to partnership working with young people, parents, carers, colleagues within education, social workers and health and employment/training services to successfully implement plans that give students the best possible outcomes.

We feel it is important to keep parents and carers fully up-to-date with a child’s progress. We have a range of systems in place to encourage good communication between home and school, including:

  • Informal telephone calls on an ad hoc basis
  • Inviting parents to formal reviews
  • Full reports sent to parents/carers each term
  • IEPs are issued to parents/carers each term
  • Day pupils have a home book in which parents can comment as well as staff
  • Key workers speak to parents/carers on a weekly basis
  • Class teachers contact parents/carers a minimum of once per half term
  • An open house policy means parents/carers can arrange visits with key professionals
  • School events
  • An end of term newsletter
  • Home visits (if required)

Positive behaviour management

Rugeley School can meet a very wide range of behaviours associated with autism. Each one of our young people has a completely individualised behaviour management plan in place.

We employ Team-Teach across both the school and our residential settings which focuses on positive behaviour management. We passionately believe that all behaviour should be seen as purposeful and serving of a variety of functions. For those children who display unconventional or challenging behaviours, our positive approach to behaviour looks to develop a range of supports for emotional regulation, with the ultimate goal of self-regulation where possible.