About Our School

Located in the heart of Stoke City, Aurora Hanley School provides flexible day and residential placements for students with complex communication and social difficulties typically associated with Asperger’s syndrome and Autism. Many will have additional sensory issues and high levels of anxiety that affect their ability to cope in mainstream settings and create barriers to learning. 

Students are likely to experience challenges with social communication and interaction with others and lack understanding of the everyday social rules. These difficulties can impact on their emotional wellbeing, behaviour and ability to participate in education or engage positively with others. 

Hanley School’s specialist learning approach and positive environment are designed to meet the individual needs of students and help them re-engage with learning and enjoy school life.  With the right support, they have opportunities to achieve work experience, academic and vocational qualifications. 

Specialist teaching and integrated therapeutic support, together with small classes and a nurturing approach give students the framework for breaking down those barriers to learning. There is a focus on behavioural management supported directly and indirectly via our Clinical Psychology team. The whole team works together with students and families to explore individual strengths, likes and aspirations.

Our Service and Facilities

The school has been sensitively designed for children and young people who struggles in larger mainstream environments and offers:


  • Specialist teaching and high staff ratios

  • Bespoke, flexible curriculum

  • Small classes of up to 6 students

  • Clinical Psychology and therapeutic support

  • Break out spaces and sensory room

  • Classrooms for science, art and cooking

  • Safe outdoor spaces 

Our Approach to Education – One size does not fit all

Aurora Hanley School offers a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum with a flexible timetable designed around students, recognising their abilities, interests and individual needs.   All activities are person-centred, meaningful and outcomes-focused where progress can be measured and monitored and goals setting adapted to ensure they are achievable. 

Students are encouraged to be actively involved in school life, making choices, contributing to their own programmes and sharing ideas and issues through school council. 

Education extends into the local community and city, giving students opportunities when they are ready to learn practically in everyday environments. PE and outdoor activities are geared towards students developing their self-confidence, tolerance and social skills in a range of environments that meet individual needs

Every student has a keyworker who offers consistent support and encouragement throughout the school day and supports home liaison with families.  Individual behaviour management plans reflect students’ understanding of how their behaviours impact on themselves and on others. Increasing this understanding ultimately leads to development of positive self-regulation and coping strategies which in turn helps them to make progress in their learning and have a positive school experience.



Evidence of progress/performance of students for the previous academic year is available from the school upon request.

Residential Living

The waking day curriculum is extended into the care setting where students continue working on their skills in a supported and structured living environment.

Contemporary onsite accommodation is available for six students who have their own themed bedroom with en-suite facilities. Hoisting is available in two bedrooms. (From 2018 the residential provision will be expanded on the site adjacent to school). A large lounge and separate games/playroom provide relaxing spaces for chilling out, watching TV/film night and social activities.

The kitchen and dining areas are also used to work on independent living skills, where young people learn to plan, budget and cook meals. They get to choose what they like to eat and also learn the importance of a balanced diet and healthy eating. 

Various activities, sport and game are on offer and outings can include visits to the cinema, local cafés and shopping.


How to Find Us


Contact Details

Address: Aurora Hanley School, Cambrian Way, off Eaves Lane, Bucknall, Stoke-on-Trent, ST2 8PQ

Tel: 01782 973 737

Email: hanleyschool@the-aurora-group.com 

Headteacher: Tracy Whitehurst

Proprietor/Governing Board: Stephen Bradshaw

The Aurora Group, Manor Farm Offices, Corsley, Wiltshire, BA12 7QE

Tel: 020 3617 0170