Dawn House School

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Admissions to Residential

“I am so grateful to all the staff within this very special school for all they have done throughout my son's secondary education years. The care, support, encouragement, guidance, understanding, determination, and genuine desire to maximise his full potential was such a comfort to me and such a gift for him. He could not have boarded in a more appropriate environment. Everyone in this amazing team is superb, you would be truly blessed to join them.” (Parent)


Dawn House School provides a happy home away from home for several pupils.


There are a small number of residential pupils at Dawn House who board from Monday to Fridays during term time. There is capacity for 9 young people in two adjoining houses that can be joined by others for extended days, social events, and a variety of after school clubs.


Each pupil has their own room that they are encouraged to personalise. It is important that our residential pupils feel at home, so we encourage families to provide pupils with home comforts such as duvet covers, towels, toiletries, and leisure wear, as well as personal possessions such as pictures, posters, toys, and books.


The residential group are very much involved in planning for the residential provision and contribute to decisions made about their environment, activities, and all aspects of their care. They routinely participate in planning their evening menus, shopping for ingredients, and preparing simple meals and have helped to choose colour schemes and new furniture for their bedrooms and living rooms.


Dawn House School’s residential care has won praise from Ofsted.  In the most recent inspection in which our residential care was rated ‘good’ inspectors said:


  • Children who reside at the school make very good progress. They receive excellent care from an experienced, knowledgeable, and very committed staff team.
  • Children have a genuine feeling of being at home while staying at school.
  • Children’s confidence increases because they are provided with a range of interesting and stimulating experiences.
  • Children feel safe in the residential provision. They are confident that they have adults they can turn to if they have any worries or concerns
  • A culture of high expectations permeates throughout the school.
  • Leaders of the school and residential provision are relentless in wanting to improve the provision and to provide children with excellent care and education.


A Home Away from Home


The residential setting at Dawn House School provides much more than a welcoming and comfortable place to stay.


Our residential care team aims to build on the pupils' strengths and help them develop personal, social and self-care skills and leisure interests.


Our residential staff organise a range of activities out of school hours, including sport, swimming in the school pool, craft, play, social events, and outdoor activities.  They regularly visit local places of interest, leisure centres, libraries and shops and encourage pupils to join community activities and clubs. 


Residential pupils are encouraged to make the best possible use of their leisure time, so we encourage them to develop and follow their own interests - and do their homework!


We also make sure that residential pupils of different faiths are able to attend religious services wherever possible.


The residential curriculum supports the whole school intent to enable individuals to engage, develop, communicate, and aspire to meet their full potential in all aspects of life at Dawn House School and beyond. 


Learning is fun in the residential setting and does not feel like work as it is tailored to the interests of individuals and is cleverly disguised.


Activities and routines are vehicles for learning and personal development in a supportive communication rich environment. where having a go is celebrated and mishaps are valued as opportunities for reflection and improvement.


Each child has an individual plan of care that complements their education plan and supports the development of skills and positive attitudes for increasing independence.


Students achieve accreditation through the Aim award and personal development is tracked and celebrated.

The residential team work in collaboration with parents and colleagues from education and therapy to provide consistency across all aspects of the provision at Dawn House School. Each residential pupil has a residential keyworker as part of their core team who can be considered their advocate and ‘go to person’ for any questions or concerns.


Keeping in Touch

Pupils are encouraged to maintain contact with their families during the week while parents and carers are welcome to telephone the school to speak to members of staff. 

The Residential Routine


The day starts for residential pupils at 7.30am, while bedtimes vary according to the age of the pupils.


Pupils have breakfast and tea in their houses, while lunch is served in the school dining room. 


Meals are cooked on the premises and the menus are drawn up with the advice of a dietician from the local health trust. 


And we make sure that pupils who require a special diet for health or religious reasons are catered for. 


The residential houses are managed by a small group of staff that provide consistent boundaries and expectations, comfort, and familiarity.  The residential team are well-established, experienced and knowledgeable in speech language and communication needs and have a wide range of complementary skills and interests.  Their strength lies in the relationships they build with those in their care, the wide range of stimulating experiences provided and their sensitivity to the needs and interests of individuals.


Two members of the team sleep in the residences overnight, which means that pupils can be greeted in the morning by those they saw before going to bed; the same familiar faces that are on hand should they be needed overnight.


Click here to read about a typical day in the life of a residential pupil at Dawn House School.