Our homes create a homely environment whilst providing structure to support residents with Autism. They are especially appropriate for those who have extreme sensory abnormalities and for those who find proximity to others very difficult.

We support individual learning needs through relevant and broad ranging activities to encourage personal development: social, academic, physical, creative, leisure and domestic skills. Alderwood employs a consistent approach which incorporates TEACCH and PROACT-SCIPr-UK®. We cater for adults where large residential care settings has proved inappropriate.

Residential School

The Chestnuts, Children’s Residential School (ages 8-18)

The Alderwood Residential School at Rushden, Northamptonshire has been designed to cater for children who have a diagnosis of complex Autism Spectrum Disorders. The school/home provides 24 hour care, 52 weeks a year with an integrated programme of education that follows the National Curriculum guidelines as and where appropriate.

Children enjoy the benefit of high staffing levels within a small community of six residents where structured support is maintained throughout the day and night.


Alderwood provides a family type setting for all youngsters whilst supporting their needs through structured education and living, using the TEACCH model.

An individual care plan is designed for each child being entirely specific to their own needs; educational support is delivered according to an Individual Education Plan and will reflect the specific level of aptitude.

Whilst the residential school has a purpose designed classroom, activity room and library, it is a fundamental part of the Alderwood philosophy that teaching and learning will take place in all manner of circumstances and will as such be part of the structured daily life. To this purpose Alderwood operates a curriculum that is not limited to normal school hours or indeed to school terms; educational activities are continued throughout the year and are organised around the specific needs of the child to allow for a more consistent approach in managing their Autism.

Recreational activities, domestic living, community outings, visits, pet care and holidays all form part of the living and learning ethos that are structured to provide a general educational background for life long skills.


The school site provides accommodation for 6 children. Each child has their own bedroom along with a designated bathroom or en suite. Children are able to access communal areas, these include lounge, dining room, quiet room, activity room, family room and classroom. All catering is undertaken in the home and has a well equipped kitchen. Laundry is also cleaned on site. The Chestnuts has a large garden enabling many outside recreational activities to take place.

All residents have access to the Alderwood holiday facilities in Norfolk and locally in Northamptonshire.

All residents have exclusive access to the school’s three vehicles providing daily transport for local community visits, shops, parks, entertainments as well as longer day trips and holidays. All such visits are staffed at a high ratio.

All residents have a designated mobile phone kept by the supervising carer for all excursions to ensure on-call back-up can be activated if required.


The Chestnuts has a Registered Manager along with a Deputy Manager, Senior Shift Leader, Shift Leaders and a team of Care/Learning Support workers. Night times are supervised by Waking Night Carers. Alderwood’s Education Coordinator is the designated teacher at The Chestnuts, working one to one with residents in the classroom, supervising the ongoing education work delivered by the Care/Learning Support staff throughout the day.

All staff receive training at the Alderwood PDC (Professional Development Centre) at our head office in Ecton, Northampton. Also based on the Ecton site are the director’s offices, central administration and the resources department. Resources design and produce all our educational tasks and visual support systems that play a central part in the structured living that is a vital element of the Alderwood ethos.