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Bradstow School
34 Dumpton Park Drive, CT10 1BY, UK Broadstairs
+44 (0)1843 862123

Whats Different about Bradstow?

Danve Activity

The fundamental aim of Bradstow School is to support the children and students to acquire the skills to self-manage their behaviour and to develop language and communication skills. We recognize that these things are two sides of the same coin, and that if we can enable a child to communicate, even at a most basic level, this will have a positive impact upon their behaviour. Absolutely everything we do in the school is therefore directed towards this end. The curriculum, activities both in and outside of the classroom, in fact every single time a member of staff engages with a child, are all used as a vehicle through which we can facilitate the child to acquire these skills.

The manner in which this is accomplished is that at all times we seek to ‘look at the world through the eyes of the child’. What are the motivations, fears, wishes of the child that drives their behaviour, and how can we enable them to communicate those motivations to us? All learning therefore is planned at the level of the individual child, and is delivered in a task centered, highly focused way, in a step by step manner in a learning environment in which the child feels secure.

By wishing the child to be secure in their own environment, we mean that the child must be comfortable with and accepting of all those elements which go together in order to make up the totality of our experience in any particular situation. This means not just the physical environment, what it looks like, colours, noise, heat, smells softness/hardness etc, but also the social environment. Who is here? How far are they away? How do they inter-act? etc, and also the environment of the child’s mind. How settled are they, how happy, worried, confident, nervous etc. Finally, the manner in which experiences or learning are presented to the child is critically important, and the impact that this has upon the child’s state of mind.

Dance Activity

It is for this reason that we are very careful how we design the child’s environment in the school, and have developed what we call our ‘Complementary Curriculum’. This is a raft of activities, presented to the child in ways which we feel will be less threatening to them. This is done in the class group, small groups or individually, and can range from the highly specialized area of the sensory or dark rooms, musical communication, through to Veronica Sherbourne developmental movement, and inter-active story telling using puppets, props and DVD’s. All complementary activities are tightly targeted and there is close liaison between the class teacher and the complementary practitioner. So supportive are the various complementary environments that are generated, that it is often the case that emergent skills are spotted in those sessions before they appear in the more formal class sessions.

The outcome of the highly specialized and focused work undertaken at Bradstow has been to enable the children to achieve success. As OFSTED reported : ‘The most effective element of teaching is the way staff help pupils and students to overcome their challenging behaviour and begin to learn, often for the first time.’

How do we teach?

The pupils are in class between 9:30 am and 3:45 p.m. During the day the school is divided into eight class groups of approximately six pupils. The classes are divided into two departments:

The Lower School (Up to 14 years)

The Upper School (14 – 19 years)

Each class has an assigned teacher who oversees the educational and behavioural planning for each pupil in the group. The teacher is supported in the class by learning support assistants, and also assistants allocated to individual pupils when extra behavioural support has been identified as required.

Both the morning and afternoon sessions commence with a ‘Communication’ group where the pupils’ and individual pictorial schedules are displayed and interpersonal or group skills developed.

Class staff support the pupils over the lunch time period, both with the eating of the mid-day meal and during the ‘Lunch Clubs’, which are structured leisure activities for which special targets are set for each pupil.

At the beginning of the day the support staff from the residential teams escort the pupils to school, and at the end of the day the pupils return supported by class staff. Information is exchanged between the staff via the Communication Files, which accompany the pupils, and orally between identified staff.


Social Inclusion and Activities

School Cinema

Activities and social inclusion play a vital role in all our students’ lives. Taking part in activities allows the student to present themselves more positively. We all learn best by doing. Activities provide opportunities for physical, cognitive and social learning.

At Bradstow School we plan an intensive activity programme during the week which will involve all our students. This will range from beach walks to going swimming.

At the weekends all our students like to relax and have a leisure time. We enhance this by offering a different range of activities.

Every Saturday evening, following a relaxing aromatherapy session, there will be a film shown at our own indoor cinema. The film is advertised during the week and seats are booked in advance. This has proved very popular and the school’s own student council met and decided which healthy snacks we should sell during the film.

If our students prefer a more strenuous work out, then we have our very own fitness room. This has several machines that enhance the student’s coordination and general fitness. This is managed by staff that have been fully trained to supervise the students safely.

Every Sunday we have a football, cricket and rugby session supervised by an outside professional, Chris Jones. This takes place on the tennis courts and is enjoyed by most of the students.

Of course all our students also have plenty of time to relax

Outside Play


Challenging behaviour is relatively common amongst children and young people with severe learning difficulties and autism. We recognise that this behaviour serves a function for these children and young people, a way of exerting some control over their environment and to influence their carers i.e. a form of communication (intentional or non-intentional) or stimulation.

We aim to use models for understanding challenging behaviour to develop individual behavioural support plans for pupils to teach more appropriate behaviours which are more efficient in meeting their needs, and to build supportive environments around the pupils where their challenging behaviours are less likely to occur.

We use a holistic approach to supporting pupils with challenging behaviour based on PROACT-SCIPr-UK (Proactive Strategies for Crisis Intervention and Prevention). All staff supporting the pupils receive an initial three-day training course and are required to attend weekly revision sessions. The training includes:

  • Understanding challenging behaviour
  • Proactive interventions to meet the needs of the pupils in a supportive environment before difficulties arise
  • Active interventions implemented to enable pupils to calm before escalating towards a crisis.
  • Reactive or physical interventions implemented as a last resort to support pupils if a crisis does occur.

All pupils have Behaviour Support Plans, Behaviour Risk Assessments and Behaviour Strategies in place, which are reviewed at half termly internal behavioural reviews under the supervision of the Behaviour Team.

Photo of life at Bradstow school



Mission Statement

Our Mission is to provide the optimum conditions for the pupils to acquire the skills to manage their autism and learning difficulties, and to maximise their life opportunities.

The aims of Bradstow School are to:

  • Create a school community committed to fostering and valuing the pupil as an individual. Provide a medium to develop self-advocacy and worth, and to encourage the development of understanding and tolerance of others.
  • Provide a structured environment with specific objectives for each pupil, to maximise independence, self-confidence and capacity for enjoyment, and appropriately access the National Curriculum.
  • Provide each pupil with the necessary social, emotional and independence skills that will enable them to re-integrate back into their home and community, as soon as their abilities allow.
  • To develop each pupil’s self -image, communication and imagination through direct experience and experimentation of play, drama, art, music and movement.
  • Have a school team that can effectively deliver the school’s aims.

The values to which every member of our community aspires are:

  • Bradstow School is for the children and young people who attend it.
  • We provide the best possible Living and Learning environment for the pupils.
  • We believe that everyone can benefit from support and training.
  • We are caring of and tolerant towards our pupils, colleagues and others, respecting them and their views.
  • We are open and honest without being abrasive and thoughtless, always trying to be patient, tactful and supportive.
  • We believe that a sense of humour is vital.

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