Options for school leavers with special needs

Beacon Hill Academy Post-16 Unit

Beacon Hill Academy Post-16 Unit is a part of Beacon Hill Academy that caters for students aged 16 to 19 years-old who have severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties. The unit does not offer places to pupils with Autism.


Admission is via the special educational needs team for the student's local authority area. All students have an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

Most students move into the Post-16 Unit having previously attended Beacon Hill Academy's main site. Pupils begin linking to Post-16 when they are in Year 10 and move there full-time by the end of Year 11.

About the site

The Post-16 Unit is on the same site as Treetops School in Grays, separate from the main school site in Ockendon. On-site facilities include:

  • a wheelchair user-friendly kitchen with height-adjustable worktops and cupboards
  • a sensory room
  • an ICT suite
  • fully adapted toilets
  • a ceiling track hoisting system throughout

Students can access facilities at the main Beacon Hill Academy site, including a hydrotherapy pool. There are 2 wheelchair accessible minibuses at the Post-16 site.


The focus of learning is to prepare for adult life. The Unit works extremely closely with partners, including Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions, to provide a wide range of community links into opportunities beyond school.

All of the Post-16 and Key Stage 4 students spend one day a week linking into activities that can be continued beyond school. They are encouraged to try different things and find their preferences so post-school options can be designed to meet individual needs.

Most of the learning on the Post-16 site takes place in small groups or could be individual. It could be led by a teaching assistant, a higher level teaching assistants or a teacher.

Families are supported to prepare for adulthood, including understanding how services change and the implications of the Mental Capacity Act.

The curriculum is divided into 4 areas:

  • physical and movement
  • relationships and the community
  • independence and transition
  • wellbeing and sensory

Communication underpins all areas.

All students have individual learning adventures that build on their previous education and incorporate personal lifestyle choices. These are accredited through the ASDAN Personal Progress Qualification.

More information

For more information and contact details, go to Beacon Hill Academy: Post-16.