Arden College: Southport, UK

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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. 



Number of students

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Day School:








7 days boarding: 

About the school

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.


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.


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Academic life

Sport and culture

Students regularly take part in local sports and music events. This is particularly effective in helping students develop their communication skills and confidence. 

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.

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 PR9 OTZ

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