St. John’s School & College

A specialist college providing quality education for young adults with a range of disabilities and autistic spectrum conditions.
Students enjoying Brighton seafront.
The logo of St. John’s School & College


St. John’s School & College
17 Walpole Road
  • Course Length (weeks):
  • Residential or Day:
    Residential and day
  • Start Time:
    Start throughout the year
  • Maximum Number of Students:
  • Age Range:
    16 – 25



General Description

St. John’s is an independent specialist college, working with learners who have complex learning disabilities including some learners who may have difficulties resulting from behavioural, mental health, emotional difficulties, Autistic Spectrum Conditions, Asperger’s Syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome. We have expertise and experience in supporting young people with identity issues.

St. John’s is a place where learning is shaped around the hopes and aspirations of the learners; where their courses are tailored to meet their goals and where they are supported by a highly skilled staff team who respect their choices and lifestyle. 

Catchment Area



Our comprehensive curriculum provides a full range of exciting, challenging and meaningful learning experiences (both accredited and non-accredited) that prepare each student with relevant vocational and personal skills that will significantly impact on their future lives.

Our focus on vocational skill development is delivered through theoretical and practical learning activities along with highly relevant work experience placements within the college departments and community organisations. We hold high expectations for our student cohort with respect to the development of their employability skills and have dedicated staff who actively identify and manage a wide-ranging work experience programme. Students are supported to increase their work skills using strategies such as systematic instruction and job coaching techniques. 

Maths, English, communications and ICT are embedded throughout the college timetable and within the residential setting. Students undertake PSHE, life skills, physical recreation activities and community access. There are a variety of lunchtime clubs, awareness days, educational visits and events planned throughout the academic year that students may choose to participate in. 

Students are supported to access local mainstream colleges in order to expand their learning experience and to promote further education opportunities. 

Specialist Facilities

St. John's students access a variety of well-equipped learning environments that meet individual needs and intend to inspire continuous learning. These include a theatre for performing arts, creative arts and media facilities, a music and recording studio, a craft workshop, a print studio for enterprise projects, garden areas and biodome for the development of horticulture skills, an in-house cafeteria and deli kitchen providing work based learning opportunities in catering. Outdoors areas include an all-weather sports pitch, hardcourt area, outdoor gym, specialist bikes, access to community swimming pools and leisure centres. There are three onsite learning pods dedicated to students who have difficulties in learning as a member of a group. Students are supported in their learning across the waking day curriculum with bespoke support strategies and resources including communication aids, talking mats, now and next boards, visual references etc. A car valeting company provides a weekly work placement for small groups of students, a number of employers who we work with regularly have a good understanding of the needs of our students and are proactive in adapting and accommodating their environments to maximise learning outcomes.

There are seven residential houses: three located onsite, three in the city and one in Seaford, all of which are resourced according to the needs of the peer group. There are sensory rooms and resources throughout the education and residential provision.  

During their journey at St. John's, students are supported by our qualified and experienced wellbeing team, who provide speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, positive behaviour support, nursing and counselling. Access to additional external services such as psychiatry and psychology are arranged on an individual basis.

We have a dedicated transition officer who supports students and families in identifying and visiting potential services for their future lives. A multi-disciplinary team prepare students for life beyond St. John’s.

  • > Our expertise

    We have expertise in meeting the needs of students with:

    • Autism spectrum disorder
    • Severe autism spectrum disorder
    • Autism spectrum disorder with associated challenging behaviour
    • Asperger syndrome
    • Behavioural difficulties
    • Mental health needs
    • Moderate learning difficulties
    • Severe learning difficulties
    • Epilepsy and/or associated neurological conditions
    • Multi-sensory impairment
    • Expertise in meeting the needs of students who have specific learning difficulties
    • Communication difficulties
  • > Our curriculum

    We offer:

    • Opportunities to experience real work situations
    • Opportunities for work experience
    • Opportunities to follow vocational courses
    • Opportunities to follow vocational qualifications
    • A personal development programme
    • A social skills programme
    • A programme to enable students to learn more about themselves and how to form relationships
    • Opportunities for students to participate in community activities and to learn about citizenship
    • Opportunities to prepare for further training after college
    • A programme to help students to look after themselves more independently
    • Opportunities to attend local further education colleges with support
    • Opportunities to prepare for work after college
    • Opportunities to improve literacy, numeracy and/or communication skills
    • Opportunities to use and develop information technology skills
    • Opportunities to improve and develop communication skills through the use of Alternative and Augmentative Communication aids
    • Opportunities to improve communication skills such as the use of Makaton, Bliss, symbols or objects of reference
    • Opportunities to experiment with sound, touch, smell and sight in order to aid learning
    • Opportunities to develop strategies to promote appropriate behaviour
    • Opportunities to explore a range of living options after college
    • A transition programme into supported or open employment
    • Opportunities to take part in a wide range of social, leisure and sporting activities
  • > Our specialist services

    • In-house speech and language therapy
    • In-house nursing services
    • In-house occupational therapy
    • Guidance and counselling services
    • Residential provision extending beyond the academic year
    • Specialist training to enable independent travel
    • Help with finding suitable long term provision
    • Waking night residential staff
    • Registered with the Care Quality Commission / Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales
    • In-house medical provision
    • Residential provision linked to the academic year

Prospectus Request

To request a prospectus from please fill in the details below and click submit.

Information Required
* Indicates required information

The S41 symbol next to most of the colleges in the directory means that they are on the Secretary of State’s Approved List.

This list, developed as part of the Children and Families Act 2014, means that some parts of the Act apply to these independent institutions. This includes specialist colleges.