Abbey School for Exceptional Children, a specialist school in Chester city centre that caters for children with autism, is set to open its brand new residential offering.

Launching in the autumn term, Abbey Green is located on the school’s grounds in the heart of the city and will accommodate children aged eight to 19 years old who will benefit from 24/7 support.

Pupils will have the opportunity to live in small groups as part of a ‘family unit’, cared for by a highly skilled team of residential staff to help create a ‘home away from home’.

The development comprises four beautifully refurbished terraced houses overlooking Chester’s ancient falconry, with each one having its own lounge, kitchen, activity area and garden, as well as en-suite bedrooms.

Abbey Green has been created to complement the Abbey School experience of fun-filled learning, with a bespoke ‘waking-day’ curriculum devised to allow pupils to develop their social, leisure and personal care skills in a home setting.

Principal Dr Katy Lee is keen to raise awareness of the importance of creating a smooth transition into residential settings for children and young people with autism.

Dr Lee, who has been principal at Abbey School since its launch in 2020, said: “Launching a residential offering has been part of our vision at Abbey School since day one – we know that, for some children and their families, 24/7 care and support is a necessity, so to finally be able to accept applications is a significant milestone in our school’s journey that will benefit everyone involved.

“Everything about Abbey Green has been created with our values and mission at its core to ensure our children can enjoy a safe and nurturing environment. All details have been carefully considered, from the colours used throughout the houses, to the bedroom furniture, to the outdoor spaces. We want our pupils to truly make these houses their homes, so we have worked closely with our designers to create beautiful spaces that can be personalised according their needs and preferences.

“Making the transition to residential education can be daunting for anyone, but especially for young people with autism. To create the best possible experience for our pupils at Abbey School, we have a dedicated team of SEND experts who work tirelessly to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.

“We work closely with each pupil, their family, the local care teams, and local authority to ensure we know as much detail – no matter how small – to ensure each pupil has what we call a ‘soft landing’ with us.”

Abbey School combines learnings from special education research and best practice to provide an outstanding teaching and learning experience, with the wellbeing of pupils and staff sitting at the heart of the school’s philosophy. Its residential offer will extend the school’s offering through a waking day curriculum, bringing learning and development into everyday life through engagement and participation.

Abbey School provides a number of placement options: weekly placements with weekends and holidays spent at home; half-termly placements including weekends, with half-term holidays spent at home; or termly 41-week placements including weekends and half-term breaks, with Christmas, Easter and summer holidays spent at home.

Dr Lee added: “We are fortunate to be based in the heart of the vibrant city centre, having Chester’s amenities and attractions on our doorstep as well as the tranquility of the cathedral’s leafy grounds.

“Adopting a holistic, approach to our pupils’ learning and development is our focus, and we are confident that Abbey Green will help pave the way for our pupils’ future independence and success.”