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Welcome to Arbour House School

Headteacher’s Statement

“I am proud to be Headteacher of Arbour House because it is a very special school, where staff, pupils, parents and carers work closely together to create a strong, supportive environment for children to develop and make progress. This school community is built on the core values of trust, positive regard, shared learning, and equality.

Our educational facilities cater for pupils from 6-18 years and the pupils who come to Arbour House have a range of complex needs, including SLD, MLD, ASD, ADHD and related difficulties. We have a tailored and flexible approach,  and aim to ensure that pupils’ educational provision is as individualised and creative as possible to best meet their needs.

We are a happy, warm and welcoming school, where children are at the heart of what we do, and where they can be safe, thrive and be supported in a holistic and cohesive way to achieve their full potential.

You are most welcome to visit the school and I look forward to meeting you.”

Julie Perks


About Us

Abour House School is a Special Education Needs (SEN) School, opened in 2017. It is registered for a total of 60 pupils 6-18 years old across two school sites in Weymouth and Dorchester, Dorset.

We achieve through our three guiding ABC principles at our school.

To aim high in the achievement of children and young people and to positively challenge to gain success.

To encompass a child-centred focus and tailor our curriculum and support to meet the education, care, communication, health, behaviour, recreational/vocational programmes, emotional wellbeing and citizenship of our pupils.

To inspire learning and development in creative ways that ensure pupils are excited and engaged.


There are a number of ways our school differ from other local mainstream and SEN(D) provision.

We use our local community in creative ways to enhance the learning opportunities for the children and young people who use our school.

We believe that each child who come to us with their own unique profile needs a personalized approach to provide exactly the right support to create a successful learning environment for them. This includes:

• Small class sizes by design incl 1:1 tutoring where/ when needed
• Adaptable environment whereby 1:1 and small group working can be facilitated. This include smaller breakout rooms for solo learning for periods when this may be needed.
• Enhanced IT facilities with SEN specific packages
• Small and consistent team of teachers and support staff, to support the pupil in forging strong, trusting relationships
• Therapeutic approach including in-house, whole-school provision of Thrive, ELSA, Positive Behavior Support
• Situational ‘real life’ learning – resolving differences, enhancing collaboration and tolerance
• Person-centred implementation of our Behaviour Policy – ‘exclusion’ does not mean stopping learning – we support the pupil with continued remote learning and support to understand why an exclusion was necessary.
• Access to Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language assessment, to guide learning strategies
• Fully equipped sensory room
• Student library and break/ chill out room
• Modern playground facilities and covered play areas
• Fresh school meals, cooked and prepared on site


Our school is specifically for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. We support students from 6 – 18 years of age.
We pride ourselves in providing bespoke learning packages of specialist education to children and young people who have not thrived successfully in other environments. We support students with additional support and learning needs and/ or disabilities, including:

• Autism
• Learning Disabilities/ Learning Difficulties
• Sensory impairments
• Behaviour support needs
• Developmental delay


Pupils have the opportunity to work towards qualifications including Functional Skills Level 2 in both English and Maths.

The outcomes which the school supports pupils to achieve are not only academic however– they span wide, for example:

• Improved attendance at school; many pupils have been out of education for a very significant period of time
• Developing social skills and making friends,
• Resolving difficulties and self-managing,
• Tolerating being and working alongside others, collaboration and negotiation
• Improved concentration skills and personal resilience
• Improved physical fitness
• Trying new things for the first time (activities/ foods, etc)
• Enhanced independent living skills


We strive to offer a curriculum to our children that is highly personalised and is designed to best meet their individual needs. Many of our children have had periods out of education and may have struggled to be successful in prior placements, so an education that is meaningful and accessible to them is our priority.

We place a clear focus on the basic skills of literacy and numeracy, ensure that all children are provided with opportunities to study Science, and embed ICT across all areas of learning. This ensures our children follow a core curriculum that best equips them with skills for life, but we recognise too the importance of learning that is relevant to the children’s lives and their future aspirations. With this in mind, all children follow a programme of Independent Living Skills, and as appropriate, are offered opportunities to develop projects in their own chosen areas of special interest.

They are also provided with vocational opportunities via local providers or within local colleges and work placements for example. All children follow a PSHE programme, undertake physical education activities throughout the week, and can also spend time at the school allotment and participating in their local community in a hands on, experiential way.

At times the curriculum may need to be modified, to ensure that our children are happy, make progress, and achieve positive outcomes in line with their starting points. We may adjust the speed at which subjects are covered or we may carefully select elements of a programme of study that are of most importance to them for example. All of our children have found learning difficult, so at Arbour House we aim to make learning accessible in an environment that is caring and supportive, and progress is planned at a pace that children feel is manageable for them, best meets their needs and can address their difficulties when they are ready.

Potens has multiple agencies in various locations around England and Northern Ireland offering suitable accommodation, supported living, domiciliary care and respite or short breaks. Please see our locations page for more information about services in your area, or please contact us to find out more. If you'd like to make a referral, please go here

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