Our Academy

Barbara Priestman Academy is a designated provision for students aged 11-19 years with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder)and/or complex learning difficulties. All students attending Barbara Priestman Academy on a full time basis have an Education Health and Care Plan ‘EHCP’.

The majority of students travel to and from the Academy on transport provided by the Local Authority, however growing numbers of students are becoming independent travellers.

We have a small number of students accessing our provision on a part-time basis from mainstream schools. We also offer formal intervention placements or assessment placements through the Autism Outreach Team (AOT). We also offer placements to students from neighbouring authorities.

The Academy occupies a building which is situated on the outskirts of the city centre. The current accommodation includes 17 classrooms, specialist sensory room, specialist teaching rooms for Science, D&T and Food Technology, ICT room and café area.  We are fortunate to have our own ‘Forest School’ on site where students can learn about conservation, animal care and horticulture. Students also have access to peripatetic music tuition.

Students are supported by a dedicated and talented multi professional staff team who work closely to provide the best opportunities for all students.  We employ our own full-time Speech and Language Therapist and an Occupational Therapist who work with individuals and small groups.
We have our own Educational Psychologist who provides support for students as appropriate.

We are part of a special multi-academy trust. This provides shared expertise, resources and funding across the Academies, enhancing outcomes for our learners.

Please take a look below at some of our facilities:



Our school Gym is equipped with state of the art machines, including treadmills, exercise bikes, a rowing machine, weights and weight benches.



Multi-Coordination Room


Forest School

Situated at the rear of the main school building, Forest School engages students in the outdoors developing emotional intelligence and resilience. The focus on sessions is for students to learn through play and develop skills through learner led activities. This helps promote self awareness, self regulation, communication skills and self esteem. Sessions include elements of bush craft, play, games, using tools, art work and campfire cooking. We also have an archery range in Forest School and a paddock for ponies! For more information, have a look at our curriculum page.