At Starley Hall we understand that our children and young people have often experienced disrupted early experiences of care and education. As such we adopt a caring educational practice first and foremost where children and young people experience safety in education through building structure, minimising and supporting transitions and building relationships with adults. We recognise that unless young people feel safe, nurtured and cared for they will be unable to access their skills and capacity for learning.

We also recognise that because of poor early care experiences many of our young people may exhibit features of developmental trauma and appear to be functioning at a stage much younger than their chronological age. In addition some children and young people may have additional significant needs, including autistic spectrum disorder, mild to moderate learning disabilities. For these young people we allow opportunities for growth attuned to their social and emotional needs beyond that of the traditional classroom setting, where children and young people are given the opportunity to just ‘be’, recreating the world of earliest childhood (Boxall 2002) and building experiences they may have missed but are crucial to development.

Many young people are unable to access any formal learning experiences and innovative and creative approaches are required in order to begin the slow process of supporting young people to feel physically and emotionally safe.

“The ethos of the school is very nurturing and warm, with a strong focus on improving young people’s wellbeing. All staff work very effectively as a team, and demonstrate the school values consistently through their behaviour. This is very evident in the welcoming, affectionate and patient interactions between staff and young people.

Very positive relationships and a supportive climate are supporting young people’s readiness to learn. Education staff use creative and imaginative approaches to engage young people in learning.”


Education Scotland and Care Inspectorate Report – March 2020

The following strengths were identified by inspectors during our joint inspection in February 2020, and the publication of the reports in March 2020:

  • Very positive, caring relationships across care and education which support all young people to feel safe, cared for and included.
  • The highly effective approaches to improving young people’s wellbeing. All staff work closely with parents and partners to ensure that each individual makes the best possible progress.
  • The highly personalised approaches to learning and care planning, which build on young people’s strengths and interests.
  • The wide range of opportunities, supported by a variety of community partners, which is supporting young people to attain and achieve very well.


We were evaluated within two Quality Indicators (QIs) and received the following evaluations:

  • QI 2.3 – Learning, teaching and assessment: VERY GOOD
  • QI 3.2 – Raising attachment and achievement: VERY GOOD