Breckenbrough School is a day and residential school for boys aged 9 to 19 with complex needs. It’s a non-profit charity and is housed in a lovely Victorian country house and 10 acres of land just a few miles outside Thirsk in North Yorkshire.

The school can support day or boarding students with a variety of different needs, including: Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC), Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), Tourette Syndrome (TS) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

In the school, you’ll find a nurturing and supportive culture where students can learn in stress-free environments, manage their behaviour and make academic and social progress. Breckenbrough gives students confidence and coping mechanisms to allow them to thrive in the neurotypical world.

Visit the Breckenbrough School website

Academic life at Breckenbrough School

Students at Breckenbrough follow the National Curriculum and progress from Key Stage 2 through to higher education and A-Level study. They provide a full GCSE programme and for those wishing to study at sixth form, they can choose to undertake A-Levels, BTECs or vocational qualifications.

High staffing ratios and small class sizes ensure that all the boys get the support they need in the classroom. All staff members have a close relationship with their students and are able to create bespoke learning environments for based on individuals in their class.

Each student at Breckenbrough has a clear understanding of their progression. Seeing their own academic success is a great foundation for self-esteem and self-worth, and students are very proud of their achievements.

When joining the school, every student is required to complete a Wrat5 literacy assessment with the Senco so the school can get a good understanding of what support is needed to support each student’s development.

Primary school

The Breckenbrough primary school supports children between the ages of 9 and 11. Students learn a range of key topics, including: maths, English, science, geography, history, French, design technology, art, ICT, physical education and PSHRE.

To ease the transition from Key Stage 2 into Key Stage 3, classroom allocations and teaching staff often remain the same to minimise the disruption to the student.

GCSE and A-Level

Studying for examination is stressful for students, especially those with additional complex needs. At Breckenbrough, teachers make examination conditions as relaxed and positive as possible to help each student achieve their best.

Subject options at Breckenbrough

The 24 hour curriculum

Breckenbrough knows that learning happens at all times of the day, not just when a student is sitting in a classroom. They have a 24 hour curriculum that ensures the boys are learning and enjoying every minute of their time at Breckenbrough. A trip to the local supermarket is a perfect opportunity to practise literacy, numeracy and social skills in a practical and fun way.

Key workers spend lots of time with each student building relationships and gaining an understanding of the student’s needs. Breckenbrough uses these relationships to create multi-disciplinary sessions to support each individual and their class develop personally, socially and academically.

Therapeutic Provision & Support

Breckenbrough are able to provide holistic education to boys with a range of different complex needs. They have lots of onsite provisions that allow them to ensure the safety and happiness of all their students. Each student gets their own Education, Health and Care Plan that is followed throughout their time at the school.

occupational therapy sessions at Breckenbrough school

Occupational Therapy

The school works with Occupational Therapy specialists, Future Steps, who provide one to one sessions and ongoing OT support to students. Early intervention for children who present with motor co-ordination and sensory processing disorders can have massive benefits in attention-control, handwriting, social interaction, enjoyment of learning and success in all areas of their development.

speech therapy at Breckenbrough school

Speech & Language Therapy

Speech and language therapy provides treatment, support and care for students who struggle to communicate, or have difficulties eating, drinking and swallowing. Students receive one to one direct sessions with a therapist and have ongoing support for the classroom staff.

Social, Emotional & Mental Health Support

The school employs a full-time psychologist to work with students and their parents, as well as offering support to all the staff to create development plans and strategies for all students. Having this support system is also incredibly helpful to boys as they transition away from school and into the world of work or higher education.

Staff at Breckenbrough know that students’ mental well-being can change from day to day and seek to create a positive and supportive environment to help boys overcome its challenges and to cope with every-day life.

Students are able to develop confidence in themselves and are always treated with respect and unconditional positive regard. They are able to express a range of emotions and engage with the school and the world around them so they can live and work productively.

The school offers social guidance and conflict resolution sessions to support a variety of social needs. Students learn reciprocal skills like sharing, taking turns and conversational procedures, and useful social communication skills including facial expressions, tone, personal space and reading and understanding feelings and emotions. They’ll also explore social interaction skills like modelling and mirroring using role play, reflect on their behaviour and use games to help students take turns, ask questions, relax and become humble winners and gracious losers.

Extra-curricular activities

Enrichment activities form a big part of the environment at Breckenbrough. Teachers aim to impart much more than just the National Curriculum, focusing on 8 ‘Smart’ areas to further each student’s development:

  • Word Smart – written and oral communication skills
  • Logic Smart – analytic and quantitative skills
  • Picture Smart – design, colour and spatial skills
  • Music Smart – musical and rhythmic skills
  • Body Smart – physical, movement, non-verbal expressive skills
  • Nature Smart – to understand and appreciate all forms of nature
  • People Smart – to understand others and develop leadership skills
  • Self Smart – to understand their own feelings, values, and goals

Activities during lunchtimes, Wednesday afternoons and after school sessions provide lots of opportunity for developing these ‘smart’ skills. Making sure there is always a planned structure of activities can help alleviate some anxieties for the boys at the school as well as giving them additional time to learn and develop.

Activities range from sports like hockey, football, handball and basketball, to things like cookery classes and motorbike mechanics. There is something for everyone to enjoy at Breckenbrough and these activities can lead to additional qualifications for the boys. Previous students have completed the ASDAN Personal Development course, ARTS Award and Youth Sport Leaders achievements.

Students are also able to make use of support in independent living and social interaction. Activities around budgeting, shopping, cooking, and cinema trips are really well received by the students. The school listens to their students and if an activity or skill is not currently offered, they’ll do everything they can to provide it.

Breckenbrough School regularly takes boys out on trips to a variety of local places of interest and historical significance to enhance learning and to provide students with new experiences. Local trips take students all around Yorkshire, from Skipton Castle to Bolton Abbey, the York Railway Museum to Aysgarth Falls. They also take boys on an annual skiing trip to Italy.


Students at Breckenbrough are able to board at the school and make their bedrooms their own. There are currently 4 different units that students can live in, predominantly segmented by age group, although the “top floor” unit sometimes houses year 10, 11 and occasionally some of the lower sixth form.

The units have private and communal spaces that the boys can use, and have teaching kitchens and laundry facilities to help develop skills for independent living. Staff are always on hand to support the boys for whatever they need, and boys of all ages are encouraged to get involved with food budgeting, shopping and cooking and can all share in communal meals if they wish.

About boarding at Breckenbrough School

Breckenbrough School Fees

Breckenbrough School fees are available on request. Please call 01845 587 238 or contact to find out more about their fees.

Arrange a Visit

If you think that Breckenbrough School is the right place for your child to study, you’re encouraged to get in touch. You can arrange a meeting with the school, talk about the specific needs of your son and ask any questions you might have about the support and education provided at Breckenbrough.

Call 01845 587 238 to find out more.