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Oakbank School

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Oakbank School is a free school that opened in September 2012 on the site of a former local authority secondary school. The school is sponsored by the CfBT Education Trust.

There are over 400 students on roll in Years 7 - 11.

The majority of the students are White British. The number of students from minority ethnic groups is below the national average, as is the number of students who speak English as an additional language.

The proportion of students who have disabilities or special educational needs are the same as the national average.  Oakbank has an excellent reputation for supporting children with Special Educational Needs

The proportion of students who receive additional funding through the pupil premium because they are known to be eligible for free school meals is close to the national average for secondary schools.

The school does use alternative provision.


Who to contact

Contact Name
Ms Maggie Callaghan
Contact Position
0118 988 3616
Social Media

Where to go

Oakbank Secondary Free School
Hyde End Lane
Ryeish Green
Spencers Wood

When is it On/Open ?

Date & Time Information

Monday to Friday from 8am until 4pm

Facilities and Accessibility

Wheelchair access
Accessible changing room
Accessible parking
Easy Access for Prams and Buggies
Accessible toilet

Accessing this service

Type of School
Free School
Age Ranges
11 yrs - 16 yrs
Eligibility Criteria

Please check the school website for a map of the catchment area.

Compliments, complaints and comments

Concerns & Complaints Policy

Local Offer - Support available for children and young people with additional needs

Local Offer logo

We provide effective support to students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, starting from our first contact with parents and carers when the students join our school. We make sure that additional needs are identified early, and offer a range of provision to meet the identified needs. To achieve this we work with a wide range of professionals to make  sure all young people receive the support they need to make progress at Oakbank. 

There is a range of support avaliable at Oakbank, this includes:

  • Curriculum differentiation
  • Support development (individual mentoring, small group sessions)
  • Literacy and Numeracy support
  • Specific Individual Support
  • Support for Health needs (School nurse, School councilor CAMHS)
  • Break and lunchtime club
  • Liaison with outside agencies who can offer support
Contact Name
Emma Orchard
Contact Telephone
0118 988 3616
Contact Email
Local Offer Description

Local Offer last reviewed 18/10/2018

Identification of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
1.1: How does the school identify children/young people with special educational needs and disabilities?
  • Discussions with primary schools and parents on transition
  • Assessment of reading age and levels upon entry
  • Assessment for any specific learning needs upon parental request
  • Close monitoring of both academic and emotional capacity
  • Parental/carer Request
  • Notification from outside agency 
1.2: What should I do if I think my child has SEND?

Make an appointment with the SENCO at Oakbank as quickly as possible to explain your concerns.  We can work together to make a plan of action. The SENCO is Mrs Emma Orchard and you can reach her on the telephone by calling 0118 988 3616 EXT 337 or via the email address

Support for children with special educational needs
2.1: If my child is identified as having SEND, who will oversee and plan their education programme?
  • The SENCO will have overall responsibility for the progress of your child.
  • Progress will be monitored regularly by subject teachers, tutor and Head of Year.
  • Your child may have a Keyworker who will support them regularly.
2.2: How will I be informed / consulted about the ways in which my child is being supported?
  • A letter will be sent out if your child has been identified for targeted support.
  • You will receive a phone call if we are concerned about your child’s progress.
  • We sometimes have a home/school liaison book if we want to let you know how school is going.
  • You can make an appointment to come in and see us at any time.
2.3: How will the school balance my child's need for support with developing their independence?

We have skilled TAs and Teaching staff who are very aware of the fact that we need to support children with SEN whilst at the same time challenging  them and building independence.  We discuss this at Annual reviews and meetings so that we can support what you are doing at home to build independence.

2.4: How will the school match / differentiate the curriculum for my child's needs?
  • Some students have a strategy sheet given to all staff so that we can consistently use the most suitable teaching methods and content to meet your child’s individual needs.
  • All staff are aware of the type and requirements of your child’s SEN and so can match differentiation to individuals.
  • Training is given to all staff for most commonly found SEN on a regular basis.
  • Staff have regular training on how best to support students with SEN delivered by the SENCO
2.5: What teaching strategies does the school use for children with learning difficulties, including autistic spectrum disorder, hearing impairment, visual impairment, speech and language difficulties?

The school uses a very wide range of teaching strategies for students with different SEN and many students have an individual strategy sheet to ensure teachers are aware of the most effective strategies to use. Through consultation with parents/carers, we are able to build a clear picture of each individual child and assess what might work well to support your child together. 

2.6: What additional staffing does the school provide from its own budget for children with SEND?

We currently employ on a fully time basis 4 Highly trained TAs. They bring a welth of knowledge and experience to the school, they enhance the school curriculum by offering support both in and out of lessons.

We buy in Speech and Language staff from the LEA.

2.7: What specific intervention programmes does the school offer to children with SEND and are these delivered on a one to one basis or in small groups?
Type / TitleIntervention Type
Lexia - Reading intervention Small group
Nurture group Small group
Key worker One to one
Morning meet & greet One to one
2.8: What resources and equipment does the school provide for children with SEND?
  • A fully resourced and large SEN area.
  • Intervention rooms
  • Nurture room
  • Lunch & break club for SEN and vulnerable children
  • ICT suite
  • Dyslexia overlays and specialist exercise books
  • Laptops for those SEN students who need them to use in class.

Additional Transition Afternoons for SEN and vulnerable children transferring from primary school to Oakbank.

2.9: What special arrangements can be made for my child when taking examinations?

Where appropriate, students with SEN will be tested for special arrangements for exams.  These arrangements can include extra time, scribes, readers and enlarged papers. You will be informed of the outcome of thee tests so you can support your child with their learning at home.  

My child's progress
3.1: How will the school monitor my child's progress and how will I be involved in this?

Your child will be assessed in every subject termly. You will then receive a grade card termly and a full report once a year. You will also be invited to Parents Evenings during the year. As we operate an open door policy you are encouraged to contact subject teachers should you have any questions or concerns regarding progress. 

3.2: When my child's progress is being reviewed, how will new targets be set and how will I be involved?

Targets will be based on all students making two National Curriculum levels of progress over Key Stage 3. The progress of SEN students will be reviewed termly by the SENCO. If there is an issue with academic progress your child may be targeted for intervention to support them and you will be notified if this is the case. Feel free to contact teaching staff or the SENCO at any time if you are concerned about progress in any subject.

3.3: ln addition to the school's normal reporting arrangements, what opportunities will there be for me to discuss my child's progress with school staff?

There will be two Parents Evenings throughout the year.  Please feel free to make an appointment with the SENCO at any time should you wish to discuss progress. We have an open door policy and encourage you to contact the school if you have an questions.

3.4: What arrangements does the school have for regular home to school contact?

Staff are happy to receive emails or phonecalls from parents and we encourage as much contact with school as possible.  Please feel free to make an appointment with the SENCO should you wish to discuss any matter relating to SEN or additional needs.

3.5: How can I help support my child's learning?
  • Ensure regular reading sessions at home. Reading regularly is one of the key features of a successful student.
  • Ensure students have a quiet place to do homework. Make sure homework is done.
  • Check classcharts regularly and if you feel they are not recording homework then let us know.
  • Ensure your child attends every day. Do not let them stay at home for minor reasons. Seek help from us if you feel your child is avoiding school for some reason.
  • Support the school with our decisions. We must show a unified front.
  • Stay in regular contact with tutors, subject teachers and the SENCO where appropriate.
  • Use the schools online system of classcharts where you can see homework and behaviour points to help you support your child.
3.6: Does the school offer any help for parents / carers to enable them to support their child's learning, eg. training or learning events?

We will run information evenings for parents so that they are aware how to support students in each year group. We have information about help and assistance that is avaliable in your local community.

3.7: How will my child's views be sought about the help they are getting and the progress they are making?

We regularly audit student views about school. Regular feedback in subject areas, that they are required to respond to, will ensure they know where they are and what they need to do to move forward. We ask that, where appropriate, if you meet with staff in school, students also attend, so that they can be involved in any conversations about progress.  For students with an Educational Health and Care Plan, views are sought in advance of the annual review and students and parents are now at the centre of the planning for progress process.

3.8: What accredited and non accredited courses do you offer for young people with SEND?

We offer a wide range of GCSE subjects to all students in KS4 regardless of their SEN status. We work to ensure that students can access the curriculum and achieve the grades, in subjects they need to persue their future career. Sometimes students follow a personalised GCSE curriculum and this will be discussed with you via the SENCO.

3.9: How does the school assess the overall effectiveness of its SEN provision and how can parents / carers and young people take part in this evaluation?

Oakbank is subject to OFSTED and Department of Education inspections.  The overall effectiveness of SEN provision is reported on by these bodies. A SEN Self-evaluation is done by the SENCO and reported to the Principal. This then feeds into a development plan which is regularly used to constantly improve services to students. Parents can comment on their experience to the Principal at any time and these can be used as a tool for self-improvement.  Parents can also comment on the OFSTED Parent view website as to the overall effectiveness of the school.

Support for my child's overall well being
4.1: What support is available to promote the emotional and social development of children with SEND?

We run additional transition afternoons for students with SEN and anxiety about transition before the main transition day in July.  We also run various groups for students to promote emotional and social development.  These include Nurture Groups, Social Skills groups, Self-Management programmes as well as one to one sessions for students where emotional and social difficulties are a barrier to learning. Tutors and Heads of Year also lead strong pastoral care for students to promote social and emotional well-being.  Termly PHSE days are run and differentiated for students with SEN.  We encourage students with SEN to apply for positions of responsibility such as student council and prefects.  SEN students are encouraged to attend School residential and trips to build confidence.

4.2: What support does the school put in place for children who find it difficult to conform to normal behavioural expectations and how do you support children to avoid exclusion?

At Oakbank, we have the same expectations for behaviour for students with SEN as those students who do not have SEN.  However, we do understand that sometimes students with SEN will need a more individual approach to “getting it right”.  Student behaviour is monitored closely.  If staff or parents are concerned that behaviour has become a barrier to learning then we have numerous small group and one to one programmes available to tackle these issues.  In some cases, we find that low literacy levels can sometimes affect behaviour.  We tackle the root causes of behaviour challenges as well as the behaviour itself.  If an SEN Child is at risk of exclusion we will call an emergency annual review or start a supportive pastoral programme to ensure we avoid exclusion at all costs.  

4.3: What medical support is available in the school for children with SEND?

We will discuss any medical issues on a case by case basis and ensure that we have the expertise and training to support that child.  There is a first aid room should a child fall ill in the day and, if we feel it appropriate; we will call parents to advise them of any concerns.  

4.4: How does the school manage the administration of medicines?

Medication is kept in a locked cupboard in pastoral and the following process is followed:

  • The parent/carer will complete a form titled: Record of medication administered to child. This is available from the school office.
  • This form is kept with the medication, in the student’s file, in a locked filing cabinet in the office.
  • The student will then go to pastoral to take their medicine.
  • Staff sign a register form to record the date and volume of medication taken.
4.5: How does the school provide help with personal care where this is needed, eg. help with toileting, eating etc?

The help required for personal care is assessed on a case-by-case basis after discussion with the student, their family and other professionals as necessary and support put in place where it is needed. 

Specialist services and expertise available at or accessed by the school
5.1: What SEN support services does the school use, eg. specialist support teachers, educational psychologists, teachers for hearing impairment and visual impairment, ASD advisory teachers, behaviour support teachers etc?

We buy in the following expertise from the three local authorities our students come from:

  • Educational Psychologist
  • CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)
  • Social Care
  • School Nurse
  • Speech and Language Team
  • ASD Mentors and advisory service
  • Education Welfare Officer
  • Visual Impairment Team
  • Lexia Team (Dyslexia)
5.2: What should I do if I think my child needs support from one of these services?

Please feel free to contact the SENCO if you feel your child needs support from one of these services.  The SENCO is always happy to discuss support packages for students with SEN.

5.3: How are speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services provided?

If these services are required by students, we have to buy in this support as part of a package for the child. This is usually linked to the requirements of the child’ Statement of Educational Needs.  These professionals are sometimes involved in the diagnosis of special educational needs.  These professionals are not permanent members of staff at Oakbank and we have to book appointments and agree times for visits well in advance.

5.4: What should I do if I think my child needs to be seen by a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist or physiotherapist?

Please do feel free to discuss this with the SENCO at Oakbank.

5.5: What arrangements does the school have for liaison with Children's Social Care services?

Our Vice Principal is the designated member of staff in charge of Child Protection and will liaise with Social Care on a regular basis where appropriate.

Training of school staff in SEND
6.1: What SEND training is provided for teachers in your school?

There is a whole staff inset day on the first day of term where the SENCO delivers training about SEN needs to staff. There are regular twilight training sessions for staff on SEND. There is also regular morning INSET for staff aboout SEN needs. This training ranges from training on the individual needs of our students, to differentiation in the classroom, to the effective use of TAs in the classroom. TAs are subject to the same training as teaching staff alongside their specific TA training.

6.2: What SEND training is provided for teaching assistants and other staff in your school?

Teaching Assistants are invited to all whole staff trainings and regularly help to deliver training to staff. One TA currently runs classes for students and have ownership of leading learning, under regular support and guidance. Some TA's are looking at working towards achieving their Higher Level Teaching Assistant qualifications and will take formal qualifications. Training is a standing item agenda at SEN weekly team meetings.

6.3: Do teachers have any specific qualifications in SEND?

 The SENCO has achieved the specialist SENCO award qualification as required by law. She is a highly qualified teacher with knowledge and expertise in supporting pupils with SEN.

6.4: Do teaching assistants have any specific qualifications in SEND?

Our Teaching Assisstants have accreditation in various strategies for teaching SEN students, including a Nurture Practitioner.

Activities outside the classroom including school trips
7.1: How do you ensure children with SEND can be included in out of school activities and trips?

Our equality of opportunity policy ensures that all students have access to out of school activities and trips. In most cases, we will call parents if we feel that a slip has not been returned or if particular SEN student or their parents/carers are not aware that the trip is running. We support all of our SEN student to attend trips so they fully immerse themselves in school life. 

7.2: How do you involve parents / carers in planning the support required for their child to access activities and trips?

We ensure we run information evening for residential trips, inviting parents to attend. Where closer planning is required, please do feel free to make an appointment with the SENCO.  

Accessibility of the school environment
8.1: How accessible is the building for children with mobility difficulties / wheelchair users?

Oakbank School is fully accessible to children with mobility difficulties/wheelchair users.

8.2: Have adaptations / improvements been made to the auditory and visual environment?

We make full adaptations to teaching and learning resources for students with visual or auditory impairments.

8.3: Are there accessible changing and toilet facilities?

There are accessible changing and toilet facilities.

8.4: How do you ensure that all the school's facilities can be accessed by children with SEND?

We rely on parents/carers to advise us of student requirements in advance. We meet with primary schools to address any needs prior to transition. We strive to meet these requirements before the students start with us. Our site is fully wheelchair accessible.

8.5: How does the school communicate with parents / carers who have a disability?

This will be decided based upon the individual needs of our parents/carers.  It can range from email, telephone, face to face meetings or letters.

8.6: How does the school communicate with parents / carers whose first language is not English?

We can provide communication in different languages.

Preparing my child to join the school or to transfer to a new school or the next stage of education and life
9.1: What preparation will there be for both the school and my child before he or she joins the school?

We encourage potential parents and students to visit us as many times as they wish during a regular school day to get a feel for the amazing atmosphere present at Oakbank. This can be before the students are in Year 6.  We even get some Year 3 and 4 students visit us and encourage visits as much as possible.  We have two transition afternoons for students with SEN as we realise we may need more time to get to know them in advance and vice versa.  If parents want to set up additional visits, we are happy to accommodate this.  There is a main transition day for all students in July.  On this day, SEN students will be supported by our TA team in order that they can access the day to the fullest extent.  Feeder primary schools are visited in the summer term so we can start to get to know students and talk to your child’s current teacher.  Please feel free to meet with the SENCO in advance so that any and all SEN needs can be discussed and planned for in advance.

9.2: How will my child be prepared to move on to the next stage within school, e.g. class or key stage?

We do a range of small group and whole class sessions on the transition process. These sessions cover a range of topics from “Worries” to “Organisation” as well as celebrating the process of “moving on” We understand this is a big step for children and realise that there are different responses to this from excitement to anxiety.  Please feel free to discuss any concerns with your childs tutor or with the SENCO.

9.3: How will my child be prepared to move on to his or her next school?

We will do a range of sessions on the transition process.  These will cover a range of topics from “Worries” to “Organisation” as well as celebrating the process of “moving on” We understand this is a big step for children and realise that there are different responses to this from excitement to anxiety.  Please feel free to discuss any concerns with a member of staff or with the SENCO.

9.4: How will you support a new school to prepare for my child?

Personalised transition programs will be put in place for students transferring to college or another school. We will speak to the relevant person/people at the new school/college and ensure all information is passed over.

9.5: What information will be provided to my child's new school?

The information provided to a new school will include full details of a child’s SEN, what actions have been taken to date and the effectivness of those actions. 

9.6: How will the school prepare my child for the transition to further education or employment?

Personalised transition and preparation programs will be put in place to prepare a child for transition to further education or employment. We will discuss this at the Annual review and take everyones views into account.

Who can I contact to discuss my child ?
10.1: Who would be my first point of contact if I want to discuss something about my child or if I am worried?

Please contact the following members of staff to discuss any matter:

  • Form Tutor
  • Head of Phase
  • SENCO: Mrs Orchard
  • Vice Principal: Mrs Mead
  • Headteacher: Ms Callaghan
10.2: Does the school offer any specific support for parents / carers and families (such as Family Support Workers?)

Specific support is provided where this is highlighted as a need. The school currently works with Family Support Workers involved in a small number of families.

10.3: What arrangements does the school have for signposting parents / carers to external agencies which can offer support, such as voluntary agencies?

The SENCO and/or assistant SENCO can provide information to help support parents.

10.4: What arrangements does the school have for feedback from parents, including compliments and complaints?

The school has an open door policy and parents are encouraged to communicate any concerns, to the form tutor in the first instance. Please contact the following members of staff to discuss any matter:

  • Form Tutor
  • Head of Phase
  • SENCO: Mrs Orchard
  • Vice Principal: Mrs Mead
  • Headteacher: Ms Callaghan
School Admissions and Policy Documents

11.1: School admission arrangements for children with special educational needs and disabilities

School Admission Link

11.2: School Accessibility Plan

11.3: Special Education Needs Policy

Data last checked: 18/10/2018
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