Mark College - Somerset

Highbridge
Somerset
TA9 4NP

Tel. 01278 641 632

Fax. 01278 641 426

Request a Brochure

For further information on Priory Services

Send Request

Mark College is a specialist residential school for boys and girls aged 10 to 19 with specific learning difficulties including: language disorders, dyslexiadyscalculia and dyspraxia.  Students are offered a flexible curriculum that is tailored to meet their needs according to their individual difficulties.   

Mark College provides a warm and welcoming environment in which students benefit from being with other students who share the same difficulties with language. The level of support and teaching methods are specifically designed to overcome the challenges that students with specific learning difficulties face.

We provide:

  • Small classes and personalised programmes of learning geared towards individual success
  • Subject specialist staff, trained to teach students with specific learning difficulties and language disorders
  • Emphasis on educational achievement
  • Voice-output and voice-recognition technology to assist learning
  • Focus on self-achievement and becoming independent learners
  • Flexible curriculum designed to meet individual needs
  • Sixth form life skills programs
  • A caring environment where students can develop and grow

Placements are provided on a 35 week basis for both residential and day students and we can provide places for up to 100 students. Our young people are from a range of backgrounds and nationalities. 

Environment and facilities

Students live in attractively furnished small residential homes, each with their own kitchen and lounge areas that can accommodate from four to ten students. Bedrooms are either two or single occupancy, and some have self-contained en-suite facilities. The residential houses are managed by support staff who offer a full programme of activities. The catering department at Mark College has recently achieved the 5* Food and Hygiene rating certificate for the second year running.

Our classrooms are modern with excellent facilities, including specialist technology for media studies and information technology, design and technology workshops.

The rich nature and history of the Somerset levels, the caves and quarries of the Mendip Hills, the industrial towns and coastlines are all utilised as it is by 'seeing and doing' that students learn more.

Outcomes

Former students are now developing successful careers that include: film director, plumber, stock broker, architect, landscape gardener, astro-physics engineer, teacher, computer systems engineer, farmer, marine biologist, car design engineer, retail manager, art and ceramic designer, TV cameraman, web designer and business entrepreneurs.

Admissions criteria and process for Mark College

Criteria

The admissions criteria for Mark College:

  • Girls and boys aged 10 to 19 years
  • Diagnosed with specific learning difficulties, language disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ASD or dyscalculia.
  • A desire to learn
  • We are unable to accommodate young people with primary behavioural problems

Process

The admissions process at Mark College:

  • Information package requested and sent out
  • Recent psychological/psychometric tests/other professional report sent to college
  • If acceptable against admissions criteria parents/student visit Mark College
  • Student spends a day at Mark College and attends lessons
  • Parents/local education authority informed of a secure place offered within one week of student visit 

Education

Mark College provides specific teaching methods and support designed to overcome the challenges faced by individuals with specific learning difficulties including language disorders, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysphasia, ASD and dyspraxia and aims to teach the whole child, taking into consideration their strengths, needs and individuality.

Mark College follows the full National Curriculum and all students will aim towards completing national accreditations including GCSEs, A Levels, BTECs and Diploma’s which will be selected to accommodate the individual learning and preferred assessment styles of students. In addition to mainstream subjects, the school teaches organisational and study skills, with a particular focus on English and Mathematics within the curriculum.

The whole school approach means that individual needs are provided for and met right across the curriculum, with additional literacy skills sessions with fully qualified staff as required.

Care

Mark College provides a safe and caring environment in which students are encouraged to develop self-reliance, to care for themselves and others and to be responsible for their actions. There is a strong pastoral team including six resident care staff, seven support workers, a Head of Care, the School Principal, Vice Principal and Deputy Head teacher.

The college is centred on a Grade II Georgian house set in 24 acres of grounds on the edge of Mark village in Somerset. The campus has excellent teaching facilities and three residential houses on site with bedrooms for four, two or single occupancy. All sixth form rooms are en-suite. The residential houses are managed by house parents and support staff who offer a full program of activities.

Therapeutic approach

Therapies include:

  • Speech and langauage therapies
  • Occupational therapist
  • Art therapy
  • Pets for therapy
  • Key workers and individualised support packages

Activities

A wide variety of sport and leisure activities are on offer throughout the school year and the facilities for physical education are outstanding.

With nine acres of playing fields most field sports are available, including cricket, soccer and rugby together with athletics and tennis on two hard courts. The purpose built sports centre houses four badminton courts and volleyball courts. There is a weight training gym and the nine hole golf course is a great asset.

Students can also choose to partake in other activities that include:

  • Art
  • Canoeing 
  • Caving 
  • Drama clubs 
  • Dry skiing 
  • Orienteering 
  • Theatre trips 
  • Water sports
  • Land based skills  
  • Environmental activities

Some students who have co-ordination difficulties due to a co-morbid difficulty of dyspraxia are greatly helped with physical education and students are actively encouraged to learn by movement through sport and physical education.

Sixth form

Sixth form life is more informal than the main school and students are able to wear their own clothes. The aim is to help students accept responsibility for their own personal development and to become independent.

Boarders have access to study rooms throughout the weekend and a range of activities are linked to the development of independent living and life skills. Life skills programs include practical sessions in areas such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and independent travel.

Courses are available for those students wishing to retake GCSEs together with AS and A2 levels, Diplomas and BTECs. Courses are tailored according to the individuals’ needs, academic ability and preferred learning style.

Quality and regulation

Ofsted

Priory Education Services has a system for auditing the services provided against the regulations detailed by Ofsted Care and Education Inspection Standards and National Minimum Standards where appropriate. These are implemented at individual school level by managers and staff as part of the day to day life and work of the school and include expectations, systems, policy and procedures. Each school is audited for the quality of its provision and outcomes for the young people in its care by Priory's Regional Managers and by the School Improvement Partners who visit every term. The Every Child Matters (ECM) agenda is at the heart of everything we do.

A team of Ofsted inspectors are employed from both care and education to carry out regular visits to each school to conduct a full audit of practice and to check on standards. Quality Assurance systems include Ofsted care and education audits. School performance is monitored against the standards set by regulating bodies and internal company specific performance indicators on a monthly basis.

DfE and CreSTED

Mark College is approved by the Department for Education (DfE) as well as the Independent Schools Joint Council for the Registration of Schools Teaching Dyslexics (CreSTED).

Mark College received the coveted 'Highly Effective School' certificate from the DfEE in 1998 as a consequence of its very successful Ofsted inspection. This in turn led to Beacon School status.

The college now holds a number of awards in recognition of the many facets of its work including dyslexia training for other teachers and professionals.