Arden College: Southport, UK | Best Boarding Schools
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Arden College provides both day and 24 hour residential care for students aged 16-25 with learning disabilities, including communication difficulties and/or behavioural support needs, Asperger’s syndrome, autistic spectrum disorders and associated conditions. 

Individual programmes of support are designed either as 38 or 52 week placements for up to three years. The main  goal of this special autism school UK is to ensure that learners are prepared for independent adult life as much as is possible. This why all learners are engaged both in independence programmes and are provided therapeutic and supportive environments which help students achieve their academic, independence and social goals.

Many students have significant communication issues which could impact on their opportunity to take part in a meaningful programme of study. This why key task of every individual curriculum is developing and supporting the communication skills that are fundamental to effective learning. 

This special school for autism focuses on the best possible academic and social outcomes for every student. Both qualifications of staff and facilities are adjusted to special learning and social needs of learners. That means a combination of calm, save, positive and nurturing environments with innovative care, education and therapy programmes. 

School size and facilties

This autism residential school is situated in a urban, lively but safe enviroment within walking distance of Southport town centre, easily accessible by public transport (both train and bus).

The number of students has changed over the last few years. The college can admit up to 70 residential and day learners. 

Education for a day and residential students is conducted in 6 small homes. 

Arden College is fully accessible and the residential homes have varying levels of accessibility to support a variety of needs. Other areas used for teaching are also accessible including the college run Café in Southport.


This special school for autism offers a range of nationally accredited qualifications.

This special school for autism as educational establishment is inspected on a regular basis by Ofsted (a government department - Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills). Arden College is rated “good” (on a four-point scale: outstanding, good, satisfactory, inadequate)
This high functioning autism schools uk being a part of the Priory Group has operational oversight from their regional managers with detailed knowledge of their work. All assurance and governance of quality, safety and compliance are provided by the Priory Group with additional regulatory visits regularly carried out by experienced independent visitors.

Director Details

Year Of Foundation


Some History

This special school for autism  UK  was originally known as Paduan College. The college has had a few changes of ownership, and is now known as Arden College. Earlier Arden College was a part of Craegmoor owned by Craegmore Healthcare Company Limited, under the auspices of Speciality Care (Rest Homes) Ltd. In 2011 Craegmoor was undergoing a merger with Priory Group. 

The Priory Group was established in 1980. The group is the UK's leading independent  provider of mental health care facilities and operates at more than 500 sites in the United Kingdom and includes among them: rehabilitation and recovery centres; mental healthcare hospitals and clinics; specialist schools and colleges; supported residential facilities and homes; care homes for older people. At the Priory Group there are treated over 70 different conditions through a nationwide network of over 275 facilities. 
Priory Group is organised into three divisions – healthcare, education and children’s services, and adult care services – which together support the needs of more than 30,000 people every year. 

Arden College, being part of the Priory Group: division education and children’s services, has access to additional healthcare and supported living services where needed. 

The range of facilities available ensures that every young person receives a smooth and planned transition from primary education all the way through to further education, university, employment and independent living, as appropriate for each individual.

About the school

  • Long description:
    • The Philosophy of this high functioning autism schools uk:

    • The aim of Arden College, as a part of the Priory Group, is creating a safe, secure and independent living environment where young adults have a sense of belonging within their group and a sense of ownership for their home. This boarding schools for high functioning autism wishes  to enable young people to develop the confidence and skills they need for the next stage of their live which may be conducted or in supported living or independent living within the community. The focus is to ensure that learners are prepared for independent adult life as much as is possible.
      Contact and cooperation with parents

      There are formal reviews of progress as well as informal arrangements that keep parents informed as to progress and any emerging issues.

      Starting at Arden College

      After starting at college the student will undertake a baseline assessment during the first term and at this stage any changes to support and curriculum will be discussed with both parents and Local Authorities before the implementation of any changes. 

      Support for students

      Learners are also given individual support and guidance either through ongoing help from staff, or if identified as an additional need through external agencies such as community nurses, speech and language therapy, psychologist, advocacy or specified others. Expert specialist advice is sought where necessary and strategies are agreed for learners with more complex needs. This boarding schools for high functioning autism develops individual communication strategies for learners to ensure that they can be effectively supported to maximise their potential in all settings and to develop independence and participation. There is regular contact with families to give an overview of progress and areas of changing need.

      Developing communication skills

      This boarding schools for high functioning autism has a specific emphasis on developing and promoting communication skills. This focus is consistent throughout the college and residential settings. All learners have a communication assessment by a highly experienced speech and language therapist. This  assessment leads to a range of outcomes as appropriate for each individual:
      • Specific teaching and learning strategies to promote participation and interaction
      • Accredited course(s) focusing on communication skills
      • A communication profile
      • Individual programmes designed by the SLT and carried out, on a block basis, by a speech and language therapy assistant. These programmes can have arrange of aims depending on the need of the individual learner i.e. inclusive communication skills, Signing, Sentence processing abilities, Listening skills, Verbal reasoning skills, Alternative and augmentative communication skills (both low and high tech)

      Supporting young people into adulthood
      The aspiration for learners would be to reach their full potential to live and work as independently as possible in the future. Gaining the appropriate skills to achieve this is a pivotal part of the students programme. Although student’s access formal taught lessons, it is the parallel, real life learning through living experiences reinforced in the community setting that makes a vital contribution to the progress and achievements of the students.
      Students develop and practise their skills in a wide range of local workplaces including shops, cafés and  community gardens. They gain skills in teamwork, following instructions, meeting and providing services for unfamiliar people and specific job skills.

      What after leaving Arden College?

      Young people on leaving Arden progress onto a variety of pathways, including residential, the world of work and Further Education and training. The college ensures through review that each of these pathways is progressed if and when appropriate. The college has demonstrated positive outcomes for its leavers over several years.

Social life & attractions

Learners are encouraged to develop self confidence to build and maintain relationships and friendships. 

All learners have access to structured and informal leisure activities. These promote independence and problem solving skills within the community. There is also the opportunity for learners to access the community independently of staff but with support given to organise and plan their chosen activity as appropriate.

Learners benefit from a wide range of enrichment opportunities. They participate in shared events with other colleges and local community organisations.  

Why Should You Choose this School?

Services offered at this boarding schools for high functioning autism

• Individually tailored programmes for education, social and personal development
• Intensive therapeutic programmes and communication strategies
• A range of nationally accredited qualifications
• Continued and ongoing support with learning and life skills
• Support to develop vocational skills and provide real work experience
• Safe, supportive and independent living environment

supported by

• Personalised care pathways tailored to individual needs
• Psychiatric and clinical psychological support where necessary
• Access to occupational therapy
• Speech and language therapy
• Access to a community nurse when required

deliver lasting outcomes that change lives:

A Priory education delivers lasting value, helping young people to achieve outstanding outcomes and reach their potential. In 2015:
98.4% of leavers successfully moved onto employment, education, training and/or planned onward residential care pathways
94% of students gained one or more GSCE at A* - G at sites where students were entered for GCSEs

and at Arden College

100% of young people are engaged in age appropriate independence programmes
100% of residential young people are taking part in clubs or social groups in the community
100% of young people are accessing programmes related to the management of personal finances

Academic life

  • What we offer ?

  • Number of teachers and their qualifications :

    The student cohort has changed over the last few years and the number of learners presenting complex support needs has increased. 

    Staff team at this boarding schools for high functioning autism consists of: principal; vice principal; learning managers; home managers; teachers; classroom assistants; residential support workers; admin and ancillary team
  • Student/teacher ratio:
    one teacher plus other staff to 6-8 students
  • Course languages offered:

Sport and culture

  • Sport Facilities:

  • Sports what we offer:
    Students regularly take part in local sports and music events. This is particularly effective in helping students develop their communication skills and confidence. 
  • Culture and arts:

    Students are motivated to perform in public f.e. the college rock band performed at the "Party in the Park" event and  at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

  • Religions:

Interests & Activities

  • Special needs catered for
    Asperger's Syndrome, Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Behavioural disorders, Learning difficulties, Learning disabilities

Summer Programs

School Gallery

Arden College: Southport, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Arden College: Southport, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Arden College: Southport, UK | Best Boarding Schools
Arden College: Southport, UK | Best Boarding Schools


Location Description

Southport is a large Victorian seaside town (population of 90 336)  in Merseyside, England. It lies on the west coast of Lancashire, on the Irish Sea coast (region: North West; county: Merseyside; historically: Lancashire). The town is 16.7 miles (26.9 km) north of Liverpool and 14.8 miles (23.8 km) south-west of Preston.

distance to the Liverpool airport: 48 min (49,3 km) via M57
distance to the Manchester airport:  1h 3min (82,4 km) via M62

distance to London: 4 h 21 min (380 km) via M6 and M4   


Southport has a maritime climate like most of the UK and rarely sees substantial snowfall and temperatures rarely fall below −5 °C (23 °F). But in contrast to the rest of western UK, Southport generally has moderate precipitation. 


Southport was founded in 1792. The town grew quickly in the 19th century as a seaside resort (e.g. due to the easy access from the nearby Leeds and Liverpool Canal) and today remains still one of the most popular holiday destination on the coast of UK.

Main attractions

Southport Pier with its Southport Pier Tramway - the second longest seaside pleasure pier in the British Isle 
and Lord Street - an elegant tree-lined shopping street (once home of Napoleon III of France).
Southport Model Railway Village - model railway in a 1.5-acre miniature landscaped setting with countryside, a village and a town.


Specialises in: *Autism including Asperger,s syndrome, *learning disabilities (boys and girls 16-25 years) , 40 Derby Road, Southport, Merseyside, North West, United Kingdom, Postcode - PR9 OTZ

Phone - +44 20 30 269 440
Email - info@best-boarding-schools.net

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Registered in England and Wales Registered number 8369137