Oakmore is based within Oak Lodge School for Year 7-11 pupils, with an Autism Spectrum Condition. Pupils are taught within small groups, by staff with specialist knowledge about the barriers to learning experienced by individuals with autism and how to enable them to experience success. Our pupils have personalised timetables which reflect their individual needs and their intended outcomes. We are able to offer a rich, diverse and inspiring curriculum which not only develops academic and vocational learning but also helps to build the skills they will need to become independent in adult life. Students at Oakmore are encouraged to view autism as a difference rather than a deficit, and our aim is to enable them develop a repertoire of strategies which will help them to become happy, healthy and independent adults in the future. Oakmore students can study towards a range of qualification options up to GCSE level.
ASC Specialist Support:
Lessons are delivered using strategies to support executive function and are multi-sensory, incorporating the preferred learning style of individual students. The importance of communication is emphasised across the curriculum and students are encouraged to vocalise their ideas and to speak confidently in a range of settings. Staff are skilled at adopting a ‘strengths based’ approach which enables all students to learn in a way which best meets their needs. Most lessons are taught in classes, but Oakmore also offers 1:1 support and intervention for students identified as working at below expected levels, or to plug any gaps in learning. Intervention is personalised according to need and is delivered by subject specialists from both Oak Lodge School and our partner school, Applemore College.
Pupils within Oakmore are of average or above cognitive ability but have been identified as at risk of failing to achieve their potential due to sensory difficulties and anxiety. Oakmore provides a safe, structured and supported environment with a high level of adult support and targeted intervention. Classes follow a curriculum which meets statutory requirements but with the flexibility for additional educational/therapeutic support built in. A thematic approach is used at Key Stage 3 in order to develop cross-curricular links and to strengthen weak central cohesion and executive function. The themes are driven by the core subjects of Maths, English and Science and offer the opportunity to tap into the students’ areas of specialist interest in order to personalise the learning experience.
The importance of creating the right sensory environment cannot be underestimated. In order to minimise sensory overload, the students are taught in small groups and in classrooms which are bright, airy and well organised in order to minimise movement around the classroom. Children are encouraged to bring in their own sensory tools such as ear defenders, and we have access to quiet working areas for students who become dysregulated. Students are also encouraged to use the sensory room and outside spaces as needed in order to self-regulate. The Oakmore approach combines reasonable adjustments with sensory integration in order to maximise participation and engagement, develop resilience and support mental health.
The PE programme at Oakmore is designed around an Ayres Sensory Integration model in order to develop core strength, support praxis, and regulate vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile input. The school has access to the neighbouring gym so are able to offer swimming at Key Stage 3 as well as sessions using the gym equipment. There is also the option for small groups to go cycling in the New Forest which not only develops core strength but also builds social and communication skills. Students are supported to participate fully in a range of activities both within class groups, within the school and within the community.