Residential Care

Integrated with our school, West Kirby School and College offers 38 week and flexible residential provision across a small number of settings, for children and young people from age 5 to 19.  We specialise in making provision for children and young people with complex communication difficulties, this is seen through Autistic Spectrum needs, Language difficulties and Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs.
Residential placements are available for up to 8 young people over our two community residential groups settings. Our off-site provision allows for a more independent approach to a social care living environment, naturalising - as far as possible - the experience of residential placement to that of a natural home setting. The small homely environments also allow our young people to feel safe, while developing their life, social and communication skills.
These two groups offer a range of packages to support pupils, their parents/carers and their referring Local Authority. Extended days allow pupils to join one of two residential groups for the evening. We also offer, when spaces are available, residential packages of one to four nights per week. 
Our approach and ethos
At West Kirby School we strongly believe that, in order to support a young person in achieving their full potential, we must treat each as an individual and provide an holistic approach to meeting their needs. 
All the departments within West Kirby School work closely to provide a bespoke package for each pupil, addressing their social, emotional, educational and communication needs and supporting their physical, cultural and moral development. The Residential Care Department play an integral role in this. Care staff support all of our pupils throughout the school day, and provide a supportive and structured environment during lunchtime. Pupils are encouraged to develop social skills and interests during the lunchtime period, in small groups staffed by Child Care and Education support staff.
The ethos of the school carries over into the residential groups, with the individual support plans and strategies being echoed on the residential side of school life. Through the seamless approach from education to care we are able to enhance the learning by incorporating it into the '24 hour waking curriculum'. This enables our school to support the development of the young people across all areas. 
What activities do our residential young people get involved in?
Each of our residential groups offer a range of activities over the week, aimed at developing social skills, encouraging friendships, supporting independence and reinforcing their “formal” education through practical implementations.
All young people are encouraged to have an input into the activities within their residence at their weekly group meetings. As we're based in West Kirby with easy access to great coastal facilities, our young people enjoy many off site outdoor activities including visits to the beach, walking and crabbing. We also make use of the local multi-gym, climbing wall and swimming pool. Or perhaps something more relaxing involving a DVD night, drawing and cooking. 
Our week incorporates 'Active Tuesdays' and Thursday group options which encourages our young people to take part in a variety of activities with residents across all settings. 
Through the seamless approach from education to care we are able to enhance the learning of the individual by incorporating it into the 24 hour curriculum. This enables West Kirby School to support the development of the young people across all areas.
Read more about our Residential Care provision and our approach in our Statement of Purpose below:
Ofsted feedback 

Here's some feedback we're proud of from our latest 2019 Ofsted inspection report:

  • Young people are happy at school and make confident progress in their communication skills, social skills and understanding of the world. This is because they are supported well by residential staff who care about them. The staff build positive relationships with them and help them to feel safe.
  • The young people’s views are well represented in the control that they have over their lives. They help to plan their targets and think about their futures.
  • The staff have a good understanding of how young people are affected by autism spectrum disorders. The school uses a national accredited approach to work with young people with autism spectrum disorders more effectively.
  • Young people enthusiastically described the progress that they have made because of their residential experience.
  • Parents said that their children have improved their independence, well-being and sociability. They say that staff keep in touch regularly and that this open approach gives them confidence and trust in the staff to keep their children safe and happy.
  • Young people enjoy friendships in the residence, because staff help them to appreciate the wishes and feelings of others.
  • Young people use community-based activity to improve their understanding and experience of the world. They have fun and develop new skills that enhance their quality of life. 
  • Staff sensitively help young people to manage change. Young people are involved in decisions about their futures.
  • They have lots of opportunities to develop independence skills, and this is something that they value. For example, they shop and cook, follow domestic routines and increase their confidence in the local community, including independent travel from the residence to school.
  • Staff are sensitive to any ups and downs that young people experience. By seeking and offering the right help, staff promote young people’s choices, well-being and confidence as they develop into young adults.
  • Care staff continue to provide good-quality care to young people. They are supported within a clear team structure. They are appropriately qualified. New staff enrol promptly for a residential care qualification and have a structured induction that includes autism-specific training.


2019 Care Ofsted inspection report was judged 'Good'. Here's some feedback:

  • Comments from parents included, ‘I wouldn’t want him anywhere else’, ‘she has achieved things I never thought she would achieve’ and ‘communication is excellent’.
  • Residential pupils are looked after by a longstanding and experienced team of staff who are consistently child-centred in their approach.
  • Staff have an innovative approach to behaviour management, which is effective in helping young people learn to manage their own feelings and behaviour.
  • Residential pupils identify trusted relationships with staff and these relationships support young people’s progress.
  • The key-worker system is a real strength.
  • Residential pupils feel that staff help keep them safe and help them with their behaviour. This view is mirrored by parents.
  • Leaders and managers have a good understanding of residential pupils and their plans.
  • A real strength is effective working relationships that support residential pupil’s progress.
  • Residential pupils make good progress in all areas of their development, due to the care and support that they receive from staff.
  • Residential pupils make good progress at school. This is because there is good partnership working between residential and school staff.
  • Residential pupils receive consistency across both settings and this supports their educational progress.
  • Multi-agency work within the setting is a strength and contributes to residential pupils making progress.
  • The therapy service, education, health and residential staff communicate effectively to ensure that residential pupils receive a holistic approach to their care.
  • The school has a highly effective health department that supports residential healthcare practice, where it is necessary to do so regarding specialist support, and, more generally, with emotional well-being.
  • Transitions are managed well.


2018 Care Ofsted feedback 

Ofsted say our strengths are:

  • Education and care staff work well together to ensure that residential pupils have consistency between school and the residential provision. 
  • Residential pupils are supported by a well-resourced and efficient therapy service which supports young people in their progress.
  • Residential pupils are supported to develop independence skills which will help prepare them for adulthood.
  • Behaviour management practices are robust and effective.
  • Staff receive a good level of support and training to ensure that they can meet the needs of the residential pupils they are looking after.

Other positive comments made we're proud of are:

"Residential pupils are making good progress in their education. This is because education and care staff work well together to ensure consistency for residential pupils between the residential provision and school. Care staff support residential pupils at school during the day and some school staff support the care staff in the residential provision. There are daily morning meetings at which residential pupils are discussed. As a result, residential pupils make good progress in their education. Some are going on to college and university and school data shows that residential pupils make progress academically. They demonstrate the positive impact that living at the school has on residential pupils’ progress."

"The school has speech and language therapists on site and they work effectively with care staff to ensure that residential pupils can actively participate in decisions about their lives. Staff use picture exchange communication systems and social stories with residential pupils to aid their understanding of situations and behaviour. There is good evidence that the speech and language team support care staff through training to use these methods effectively. Overall, the school is well resourced in terms of therapeutic support available for residential pupils."

"Staff are effective in safeguarding practice and have a strong feeling of shared ownership to keep residential pupils safe. Staff adopt a whole-school approach to understanding the importance of safeguarding."

"Behaviour management practices and effective. These promote residential pupils’ positive behaviours."

"Staff like working in the residential provision and feel that they work well with education staff in the school. Staff receive supervision and feel well supported in their role."


Our 2017 Residential Care inspection report was judged as 'Good' with 'Outstanding Features'. Here's a few comments we're proud of:

"The leadership and management of the residential provision are sound. As a result, the residence is an intrinsic part of the school."

"Parent and Carers are supportive of the setting and said that, as a result of their child's stay, 'they now have their child back'. They are happier and better able to manage challenging situations.  

"The school is well led and managed by the Principal, who is committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for all young people, regardless of their starting points."

"Young people engage better with education because of their stay. School data demonstrates that residential pupils are achieving 100% in their targets in a number of subjects in school."

"Young people thoroughly enjoy spending time with their friends in residence and on trips in the community. They take part in an extensive range of activities that incorporate their individual needs, preferences and interests."

"Parents talked about the changes that their child's attendance have brought about for them 'She loves school and going out with us. She is now able to engage in all of her classes, because they understand her sensory issues and are continually addressing these.' Another parent said 'The decision to send their child here was huge and not what we wanted. However this has been 'massive' for us. His anxieties have greatly reduced, meaning that we can go out as a family. he is much happier and he now has friends."

The quality of the care and support is 'Outstanding'

"The interaction between school and care staff is seamless. Care staff said 'We are not care staff and school staff; we are one staff team, and we all work together to support the young people."

"Supporting young people's independence is at the heart of everything the staff do. Consequently, all young people are making excellent progress across all areas of their development."


Residential Care inspection in March 2015, West Kirby School was judged “Good” with “Outstanding Features”.

The report stated “Residential pupils significantly improve their self-esteem and confidence because of their residential experience...  They live in a caring social community where they develop trust in each other… Pupils enjoy their time in the residential unit and feel comfortable in the safe surroundings of the wider school. They show an exceptional improvement in independence and self-esteem, according to their starting points. ”

With regard to the care provided to residential pupil’s, Ofsted comment “The care provided to the residential pupils is of an exceptionally high standard. Pupils have access to an experienced and very stable team of care staff who know them very well. The staff are responsible for the pastoral care of the pupils. This means that the pupils are able to share their personal thoughts and any concerns at any time. They say that staff always listen to them. Care staff demonstrate a positive enthusiasm for their work… They are very active in supporting the residential pupils to enjoy life at the school”