Oak Lodge caters for pupils with a wide range of additional needs that impact on their academic learning. These may include Autism, speech language and communication needs and moderate and specific learning difficulties.
Our class sizes are tailored to meet the needs of the students and are led by a class team, who are responsible for their pastoral care. Each class has a class team comprising of a teacher/tutor and variable numbers of support staff, dependant on the wider needs of the group.
Our curriculum follows a hybrid model, incorporating both primary and secondary approaches tailored to best meet the needs of individual groups, please see our curriculum offer here. At Key Stage 3 pupils access a broad range of subjects including Maths, English, Science, IT, the Arts, Food Technology and PE. Lessons are designed and taught sequentially to provide the development of skills over time. For all pupils many of their specialist lessons are delivered by subject specific staff.
At Key Stage 4 pupils begin to follow accreditation pathways. We utilise a variety of qualification routes including Entry Level, GCSE and BTec. Much like their mainstream peers, most pupils moving into Key Stage 4 have a number of option choices, enabling them to take ownership over their individual path to success. The variety of accreditation levels also helps to provide the individual pupil with a tailored, achievable Key Stage 4 offer. Please see our subject pages here.
Underpinning the academic curriculum remains the school vision of preparing every pupil for adult life, building skills, knowledge, resilience and confidence. Our aim is to ensure that all pupils will know more, remember more and be able to do more. As pupils progress personally, socially and academically they are encouraged to increase their levels of independence, become more organised and show increased self-confidence during their time at Oak Lodge School.
Our four Foundation learning classrooms are dedicated to supporting pupils who have more complex needs and these pupils benefit from interventions such as Makaton, Communication in Print, Attention Autism and TEACCH approaches. They explore emotions through play, learning through experience and develop key skills for life. The Foundation curriculum is designed to match the needs of the students and where appropriate they regularly have access to subject specialist teachers.
Foundation provides a highly nurturing and therapeutic environment, with specialist staff and an emphasis on life skills. Each classroom has an additional small multifunctional room, providing space for therapies, sensory integration work, physio, quiet study, role play and social games. Pupils have access to their own self-contained outside play and learning space, but can also join the main school playground at lunch and breaktimes should they choose to do so.
The Key Stage 4 curriculum is more guided for our Foundation learners ensuring that they, not only leave Oak Lodge with a range of appropriate qualifications, but also experience greater opportunities to develop the key skills for adult life.
Oakmore forms an integral part of Oak Lodge and specifically meets the needs of higher functioning pupils with Autism related diagnoses. 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 be successful. We 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. Pupils in Oakmore are encouraged to only view autism as a difference and our aim is to enable them to develop a repertoire of strategies which will help them to become happy healthy and independent adults in the future.
Lessons are delivered using specialist ASC strategies to support executive function and are multi-sensory, incorporating a range of learning styles to meet pupil needs. 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.
Oakmore provides pupils a safe, structured and supported environment with a high level of adult support and targeted intervention.
The importance or creating the correct sensory environment cannot be underestimated. In order to minimise sensory overload, pupils are taught in small groups in classrooms which are bright, clear and well organised. Children are encouraged to bring in their own sensory tools and have access to quiet working areas if they become dysregulated. Students are encouraged to use breakout rooms and outside spaces, as needed, in order to self-regulate. The Oakmore approach combines reasonable adjustments and takes into account sensory needs in order to maximise participation and engagement, develop resilience and support mental health.
At Key Stage 3 Oakmore pupils follow a broad curriculum akin to the rest of the school, whilst continuing to support their individual therapeutic and sensory needs.
At Key Stage 4 they build on the skills and knowledge gained at Key Stage 3 and embark on the journey towards an appropriate range of accreditations including GCSE, Functional Skills, BTEC or Entry Level as well as some additional qualifications such as Food Hygiene. Please see our Qualifications page here.