Atkinson School is located within Atkinson Secure Children’s Home. Our vision is that everyone has the right to develop themselves through learning. We believe that through learning, students develop self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth to move forward with their lives. Most importantly, we look to develop, in all our young people, a love of learning and the ability to recognise their own talents and potential.

We provide an individualised education programme for each young person, which is broad, balanced and differentiated according to age, ability, aptitude and any special educational needs. Many of our students arrive with a reluctance to engage in education as their experience has been based on what they see as failure. Therefore, we celebrate all their achievements, whether it is attending school for a day or gaining a GCSE qualification. Our weekly assemblies provide a forum where we can recognise and celebrate all the young people’s success.

Our ethos for the school is underpinned by the Trauma Recovery Model (TRM). This is used alongside our care and health colleagues to give a holistic approach to the education of the “whole child”.

Educational assessment

Soon after their arrival, our students take part in an educational assessment. This assessment will identify the educational needs of the young person. As soon as this assessment has been completed, the young person will be offered appropriate support and their personal targets will be set.

Every student is supported in their learning by their individual tutor. A meeting is held with the young person, their tutor and their key worker every week to review targets and monitor progress. The tutor and keyworker work closely to ensure the young person is supported in all their needs.


We follow the national curriculum, as far as possible, and our school day is structured in a similar way to mainstream schools. Our curriculum is based on the needs of the young people and has the flexibility to challenge all levels of student abilities.

We provide a personalised approach to the learning of each individual, recognising their previous education experiences and preparing them for the future.

Young people participate in vocational training which includes electronics, first aid, cooking, forest school, hair and beauty.

Meaningful accreditation is available to provide a portfolio of attainment for the young people when they progress to their next placement. In addition, we offer AQA Unit Awards in all subjects. Our students make significant academic and personal progress at the Atkinson School.

Work experience and career opportunities

Our students meet with their tutor who identifies their career interests and, linked to their career interests, our students are offered work experience opportunities.

Work experience is something that young people would be able to participate in if they were attending mainstream school. It is a good opportunity for the young person to experience not only the routines and expectations of being in a workplace, it also helps them to focus their attention within the fields of work that the young person has expressed an interest in for career progression.

We feel that participating in work experience will help our students’ self-esteem and confidence, it will develop their social skills and it is an opportunity to explore different career possibilities.

An external careers adviser is available to all our young people upon request when appropriate.