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Headteacher's Welcome

Woodlands is a specialist provision catering for children and young people aged nine to sixteen who have Special Educational Needs (SEN), specifically Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH). We provide education for up to 84 children and young people with EHC plans on a non-residential basis.

“This is a happy school where staff and pupils get along well and staff want the very best outcomes for pupils.” This is what Ofsted found when they recently inspected us and we are so proud that our report reflects our commitment to our children and young people, and to their families. This is a great place to work where the words “life changing” really apply to what we do. Staff are well supported, and wellbeing is not a buzzword but a meaningful outcome we want for all our staff.

There is a thread that runs through our history of being a school that supports vulnerable pupils who have often experienced trauma in their backgrounds, be that adverse childhood experiences or educational trauma before they found their way to us. In the 1940s this building was a school for Jewish Kindertransport refugees. Anna Essinger, who brought a whole school here from Nazi Germany, created a place where children felt safe and accepted and were able to learn. We want the same for our pupils today.

We believe in this approach, where high expectations are combined with high support and a “we know you can, and we will help you” attitude, will help our children and young people achieve what we know they are capable of. As a result, Ofsted judged our Behaviour and Attitudes as “good” as well as our Personal development, testament to the bespoke support we give to each of our children and young peple who consequently feel understood and valued by the adults who support them.

Our curriculum is broad, balanced and ambitious. We provide a strong academic curriculum to GCSE / Level 2 and additionally a bespoke approach through our ‘Oaks’ provision, which includes elements of the academic curriculum and also vocational learning both in school and off-site. The curriculum is centred around the needs of the child or young person set out in their Education, Health and Care Plan and is reviewed frequently.

Our ultimate aim at Woodlands is to prepare our young people for adulthood and enable them to take their next steps knowing they have the skills for independent living and the knowledge and understanding to become healthy adults who can access employment and engage positively with their communities.

More than this even, we want them to feel loved and cared for and replace their feelings of educational failure with the experience of what success feels like, knowing that they are unique and valued and can take that belief out into the world with them when they leave us.


Jules Taylor