Teaching & Learning

The St Aubyn Centre Therapeutic Education Department offers a rich, relevant, broad, balanced curriculum which promotes the mental, physical, spiritual, moral and cultural development of the students and of society, and prepares students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

“Students achieve outstandingly well. It takes time to enable most of those who are admitted to re-engage with their education. Once they do, they are highly positive about their learning.”


Each young person has an individual education plan. The plan has both mental health and learning targets. Daily lesson plans are linked to the IEP and records are kept of the progress in learning and of the mental state of the young person for each lesson. The daily lesson records inform the multi-disciplinary weekly review and this in turn is shared in the Education report for the Care Plan Approach (CPA) Review meeting held at the six week point or after two weeks if community treatment is agreed at formulation.


All students are offered the following:


English is a core subject in the curriculum at the St. Aubyn Centre. English lessons are provided to all young people in Key Stages 3 and 4, as well as A Level students who are studying English courses. Furthermore, the literacy skills of all post-16 students are assessed and those young people with deficits in their learning receive appropriate teaching to address their needs. Functional Skills qualifications in English (beginning at Entry Level 1) are available to students who not yet ready to tackle GCSE studies. Functional Skills qualifications help to build confidence and are valuable in the transition to further education.

On admission, we make contact with the young person’s school or college to establish their current position in regard to English, as well as collecting up-to-date information about their present syllabus and examination board. Data from the school will be compared to our own assessment of the young person’s reading and writing skills in order to prepare a fitting teaching programme that is at once suitably challenging, yet takes account of the difficulties associated with their mental health problems.

At the St. Aubyn Centre we accentuate the importance of robust literacy skills across the curriculum and we strive to use imaginative and creative methods to engage and motivate the students. Young people are encouraged to understand the links between enhanced English skills and stronger performance in other subjects. The utility of developing English language skills as a means of expressing difficult thoughts and feelings more precisely is emphasised with special regard to the context of the young peoples’ situation. We keep a well-stocked and up to date library and have access to a wealth of literature online.


Maths is taught to all young people in Key Stages 3 and 4 and all post-16 students who have not yet achieved a grade 4 in GCSE maths. We also teach A level maths to those studying it at school or college, and offer a financial skills course to post 16 students who wish to take it.

We liaise closely with the young person’s home school in order to ensure that they are able to keep up with their peers, and that they will have covered the same content on their return to school. An initial baseline assessment is also used so that gaps in knowledge can be identified and addressed. Where students are not currently on roll at a school, a suitable programme of study is provided.

We prepare students for exam entries including GCSE, iGCSE, A Level and Functional Skills Qualifications. Students are able to sit their exams here if they are with us over the exam period. We also strive to meet the needs of students who may have missed the chance to take exams and can enter students for Functional Skills qualifications throughout the year.

Many young people arrive with profound anxieties related to Maths; particular care and attention is given to addressing this issue so that effective learning can take place. All learning is personalised and confidence building is a priority.


Science is taught to all young people attending education at The St Aubyn Centre. Staff liaise closely with subject teachers from the young person’s school to ensure they keep up to date with the topics covered by their peers.

At Key Stage 3, pupils are taught topics as directed by their school, or in the absence of this information, gaps in their science learning are identified and targeted. For a young person working towards a qualification in science, we have resources for all GCSE Science specifications for all exam boards, BTEC Applied Science, A-Level Physics, A-Level Chemistry, A-Level Biology. We have resources and expertise to teach all levels of science education.

We have a fully functional science lab and prep room, with equipment and chemicals to allow most practical activities up to and beyond GCSE, including the GCSE Science Required Practical Activities. Often the young people have little experience of conducting experiments, or have not been in practical science lessons in some time. All practical lessons are carefully risk assessed with respect to the equipment being used and the individuals involved. The objectives of these lessons have a focus on teaching pupils strategies for managing their own safety. We also take pupils on visits to the local woodland for field work and pond-dipping as part of environmental studies.

For young people who are not taking science at school, we offer a number of science related activities and projects, such as the butterfly project, building a modrock volcano, making a science scrapbook, the Sports & Fitness ASDAN course, healthy living as part of the ASDAN PSHCE programme or ASDAN Foodwise course, or Science & Ethics lessons to encourage critical thinking and discussion skills.

PSHCE including Sex and Relationships

Pupils are taught Personal Social Health and Cultural Education for one lesson each week. This is taught as a whole group activity as it is felt that pupils should continue to have experience of larger groups. It is delivered by a group of teachers with specialist knowledge and outside speakers from a range of organisations such as The Children’s Society. The lesson includes topics such as drug and alcohol misuse, sex and relationships, personal and internet safety and equality issues. We also focus on special days such as Holocaust Memorial Day, Remembrance Sunday and Mental Health Awareness Week. We encourage pupils to take part in fundraising events and we have raised money for UNICEF and Comic Relief. The course is accredited by ASDAN and pupils can gain a certificate if they complete sufficient modules.

Religious Education

Pupils who are admitted to the Centre and who are currently taking GCSE Religious Studies are able to continue with their course. We offer both the Full and the Short Course, with the option of sitting the final exam here as well. Key Stage 4 pupils could who have an interest in the subject could also undertake the course with us.

As well as GCSE classes we ensure the festivals celebrated by members of the major world religions are marked with displays and through the use of internet based resources. We have visitors to explain what their religious beliefs mean for them and how they celebrate their festivals. Other elements of Religious Education are covered through PSHCE and as issues arise in other subjects.

Therapeutic Activities & Provision for Physical Activity

Creative and Physical Activities are provided as part of the mental health curriculum which aims to use therapeutic approaches to the subjects to improve the mental health and emotional well-being of the students. The Creative Activities include Art, Cooking and Singing. Physical Activities include Trampolining, Adventure, Badminton and Horticulture.

Aims of the Therapeutic Art Programme

There is a small gym on site comprising of a treadmill, upright bike, cross trainer and a rowing machine as well as a matted area for floor exercises. There are a number of qualified gym instructors across the wider staff team to ensure exercise is both safe and appropriate for the individual’s needs.

There is also a multi-sport hard court which is used for football, hockey, badminton, basketball etc. Other sports are provided for off-site.

Information and Guidance (Careers)

All young people have the opportunity to explore their career ideas on a 1-1 basis with the Careers and Engagement Mentor and to identify and explore the range of options available to them.

We have links with schools, colleges, training providers, youth support services, access to careers information and will assist the young person to obtain information that will aid their decision making. Where approriate and practical young people can be accompanied on visits and to appointments. Interview practice, volunteering and work placements are available for those young people who would benefit from these experiences.

Careers guidance and access for education and training providers;

A provider wishing to request access should contact Nikki Gadsby Careers & Engagement Mentor (CEIAG) nikki.gadsby1@nhs.net or 01206 334686. Events integrated into the curriculum will offer providers an opportunity to come into the school and speak to students.  Resources and equipment will be made available.

Key Stage 3

Students are offered opportunities in all or some of the following subjects:

Art and design, Computing, Design and Technology, Languages, Geography, History, Music and PE

Key Stage 4

Students are offered opportunities in all or some of the following subjects:

Computing, PE and subjects being followed in mainstream school as part of the student’s options for KS4.

Post 16

Key Stage 5

A level courses are provided in a range of subjects including English, Maths and Sciences and also Psychology, Sociology and History.
College courses from level 1 to 3 are supported. Courses followed by past or current students include Health and Social Care, Public Services and Childcare.

“The provision in the sixth form is outstanding. Many post-16 students had stopped going to school, thinking that their education was over. Staff work with them to help find relevant courses, including routes into further and higher education.”


A wide range of short courses is available. This includes employment focussed course such as First Aid and Food Hygiene. There are courses which link personal interest with possible future employment such as Animal Care and Gardening and those which are followed for personal interest such as the Tate Introduction to Drawing. A practical element is added to on-line courses where possible.

Functional Skills

Functional skills courses in English and Maths are available for all students aged 15 -18 where it is appropriate for them to have these opportunities.

“Teachers meticulously identify the gaps in students’ previous learning when they arrive. Staff plan work on an individual basis to help address these gaps. This enables students to move forward in their learning at a rapid pace. As a result, virtually all students gain valuable qualifications, GCSEs, AS and A levels or equivalent in most cases. Almost all gain recognised accreditation for English and mathematics.”