Teaching and Learning
Oak Lodge School, as a special academy converter, is dedicated to the provision of a broad and balanced curriculum that meets the requirements of its funding agreement with the Secretary of State for Education. This includes English, maths and science, religious, careers and relationships education at levels appropriate to the developmental understanding of our students. Our curriculum is particularly focussed on independent and collaborative learning, personal development and understanding of our shared spiritual, moral, social and cultural heritage, reflecting the fundamental values of British society.
We firmly believe that if a student cannot learn the way we teach, we should teach the way they learn.
Our curriculum approach reflects our respect for each student as an individual, aiming to develop knowledge, understanding, self-reliance and coping skills in a supportive environment that minimises distress. We operate the SPELL approach recommended by the National Autistic Society:
- Positive (attitudes & expectations)
- Low arousal
- Links (parents, other professionals)
We expect our learning environments to be ‘autism-inclusive’. Classroom routines are structured, based on TEACCH principles to be safe, reliable and predictable with social and educational demands that are appropriate and meaningful. We are also committed to the SCERTS (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support) framework that enables a range of interventions to be used as a holistic approach to teaching young people with Autism and to develop their capacity to learn. These principles work well for all students, whatever their needs.
Emotional structure and routine is important to our students and we seek to provide the appropriate level of 'scaffolding' to support individuals in their learning. We incorporate well-researched and established strategies such as aerobic activity and relaxation into daily routine, whilst employing visual and practical approaches throughout our teaching and learning programmes. The development of social and emotional literacy is supported through the use of well-established interventions in the education of young people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions, such as social stories and cartoon conversations to promote social understanding.
Classroom activities may be supported by input from NHS therapists where specified in each student’s Statement of Special Educational Needs, or our own counselling and therapist team. We understand that for many young people, therapeutic needs must be integrated into the school day to have maximum impact on physical, emotional and cognitive development.
Practical and active learning beyond the classroom is essential to all our students and a key aspect of our curriculum. The school has five mini buses that are used daily for educational visits and sporting activities, including two with wheelchair access.
A Personalised Learning Plan is prepared for every student in the school. The plan incorporates short and longer-term individualised learning targets based on the outcomes of prior attainment, transition or Annual Review meetings that are regularly reviewed to provide a focus for differentiation within classroom teaching and learning. The plan may also include elements related specifically to each student’s wider behavioural, emotional, health or mobility needs to ensure that all activities in the school may be safely accessed.
The school is organised into three departments, each led by a senior member of staff;
- Middle School (11-14, NC Y7-Y9)
- Upper School (14-16, NC Y10-Y11)
- Post-16 (16-19)
In all departments, class sizes vary between 6 and 12 students, assigned to a class that best fits their specific needs, social development and level of cognition. Please refer to specific pages on each department to find out more. If you require further specific information regarding our curriculum, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org where your request will be forwarded to the most appropriate person to respond.