Oakwood Court College is an Independent Specialist College based at Dawlish in Devon. Transport links in the area are excellent with the city of Exeter a 30 minute drive away and a direct train line to London.
Dawlish is a truly unique seaside town enjoying a beautiful long sandy beach backed by cliffs and the now famous railway line. The College itself is a short walk from the town, which offers a wide range of interesting and independent shops and traders.
Oakwood offers young people a real feeling of community and a ‘university’ type experience while attending the college. The learning environment, communal areas, accommodation and social spaces are all joined by extensive grounds which support young people to enjoy safe transition between one area and the next.
For those young people choosing to live at Oakwood there are a range of options, including on site residential accommodation, as well as a variety of supported living provision. In 2014 we opened our brand new on-site residential accommodation at Camellia House. This now offers young people the opportunity to live in a small group with their peers and enjoy an ‘apartment’ feel with individual bedrooms and a communal area with kitchen in which to enjoy time together as a group. Camellia also offers a library area and quiet, comfortable spaces in which to hold meetings or spend private time with family and friends. Other young people choose to remain at home while accessing education and are supported to access their education on a daily basis.
The grounds at Dawlish offer young people with green fingers a real opportunity to get to grips with horticulture. There is a small market garden, poly tunnels and even a bug hotel! For some young people just the opportunity to access such a wide, safe space is paramount and time spent in the gardens really adds to their educational experience.
Oakwood has been well established within the wider community of Dawlish for many years and our students enjoy welcoming opportunities in the local area. Excellent connections have been made with local organisations, retailers and traders who are able to offer our students the opportunity to experience a work placement and in some cases go on to paid employment. For other young people being part of such a welcoming community means they are able to identify activities, interests and hobbies they can enjoy into their adult life.
At Torpoint campus our curriculum is focused on every individual student developing their life skills and social, emotional and communication skills in an atmosphere based on mutual respect, shared responsibility, peer mentoring and preparation for work. Students work in pairs to clean their living areas on a weekly basis, whilst Monday to Friday they work with staff support to make healthy lunches for themselves and their peers. This lunch will generally include vegetables planted, cared for and harvested from Torpoint garden.
All students work towards qualifications appropriate to their abilities. Additionally students are encouraged and supported to work towards qualifications relevant to their aspirations. For example, one student achieved a drumming qualification, another achieved a Level 2 Hygiene certificate and six others gained their Emergency Aid certificates.
All students are encouraged and supported to identify and access work placements and to make links with the local community. This includes contributing to their community, for example providing a music enabling session to elderly residents in a local nursing home.
In all sessions students and staff work to identify various view points and students are encouraged and supported to understand the actions and reactions of others, through role play, discussion, example and interaction with a range of people in the community and those visiting the college. Students’ self confidence and presentation skills are developed through opportunities within class and at open when they present their work to a group. When and if disagreements occur students are supported to work through their difficulties in a mediation session with a focus on resolution.
Our aim is for each young person to leave our college more independent, with social skills they can transfer to a range of situations and the self confidence and abilities required for the work place.