We are offering a new and different approach to learning for young people with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs, (SEMH). We are here because one size does not fit all!
We are determined to offer all our learners the opportunity to grow, thrive and develop into happy adults who will fulfil their potential and lead productive lives through play, exploration and discovery in a sustainable environment and yes, we are almost 100% outdoors!
At The Outdoors School we know that it takes a whole family to raise a child, so we work hard to support the families of our learners and have a dedicated Family and Child Support worker who runs coffee mornings and is planning parent support groups. We take every opportunity to involve families in our school events.
Every day I become more and more proud of what we offer and the personal and academic progress of the learners in our care.
I do not know where we would be as a family were it not for this fantastic school and what it has done for our son. Our son loves going to school and comes home happy, smiling and buoyant. He still has a million more miles to go but we feel confident that with the group of amazing people supporting him every step of the way, he will make it!
How the School Works
The Outdoors School is an Ofsted registered Independent Special School. We operate from four forest school sites in Devon and cater for learners who present with ASD and SEMH needs.
The Outdoors School aims to develop free thinking students and believes in developing the whole learner, not just their academic ability. We work on a learner led, forest school, experiential and project based social emotional curriculum, where life skills, coping strategies for behaviour and social situations are at the heart of learning.
Projects are designed to integrate curriculum elements with existing learner skill sets to ensure all learners can access curriculum elements, without distinct subjects being taught and without reintroducing cycles of failure from prior learning experiences. Above all, a growth mindset and personal responsibility are at the heart of our focus to promote engagement and lifelong learning skills. All our learners are in small groups with a dedicated Pastoral Tutor, Curriculum Tutor and Learning Support Assistant to maximise their ability to engage and progress. We pride ourselves on the range of life experiences we can offer our learners.
This is in addition to achieving academic outcomes for all key areas of education including, English, Mathematics, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Enterprise, Citizenship, PHSE (Personal Health and Social Education) Physical Education and Humanities.
Our staff are highly qualified and bring a range of skills and knowledge to our school. We pride ourselves on being different and work almost entirely outside with a social emotional based curriculum that learners can access at their own pace.
Our innovative experiential curriculum is designed to meet learners’ social, emotional and mental health needs, develop coping skills and change behaviour. This is in addition to achieving academic outcomes for all key areas of education including, English, Mathematics, STEM, Enterprise, Citizenship, PHSE, Physical Education and Humanities.
A Typical Day
We work on a learner led, forest school, experiential and project based social emotional curriculum, where life skills, coping strategies for behaviour and social situations are at the heart of the learning. A typical day inlcudes structure learning, games, outdoor play, tool use, mind/body reflection and clubs.
How to Apply
The Outdoors School accepts learners into places that are commissioned by the Local Authority. In order to have a place commissioned, it is likely that your child will have gone through a difficult time in mainstream school and will also have an EHC Plan. In Devon we are commissioned by the 0-25 team for places.
Inside a heart there is a beat of love
Inside an eye there is a sight of life
Inside a brain there is a spark of an idea
Inside a lung there is a breath of oxygen
– Noah Allen
Inside a Shell
Inside a shell
There is a whisper of a wave
Inside a feather
There is a breath of a breeze
Inside an ember
There is the memory of a flame
Inside a rock
There is the murmour of a mountain
Inside a well
There is the echo of a wish
Inside a seed
There is the promise of a flower
Snap those fingers, tap those toes.
Letter From The Trenches – Leo Berwick
War is not what it’s cut out to be. We all thought it would be over in a year at most. It is now September 17th 1916. Bill has sadly passed, we grew up together mother, I’m not sure I’m going to make it to the end of this bloody war.
I hear the rumble of guns and tanks in the distance like a thousand earthquakes, this truly is hell on Earth. I miss Molly, the sweetness of her voice like an innocent butterfly drifting in a cool breeze on a midsummer day. Please do not tell her of my time in the war. I do not wish for her to worry about me. I swear mother as soon as I get home, I’m going to marry her, until then I will keep fighting in another man’s war. You’ll be happy to know as of right now I am not on the front lines, but I am afraid that I will go to the front in a couple of days.
Bill was always kind to me. I still hear his voice. I thought for sure if anyone was going to survive this madness it would be Bill. Sadly, I was wrong. Tell his father he went on fighting till his last breath, he always wanted to make him proud, that’s how he ended up in this war and I went with him. Two kids in an adult world drowning in a sea of mud and blood, choking on the vile stench of death.
I promise, mother, I will return to you some day. We will see each other again.
Love your dearest son Charlie
Letter From The Trencher – Whitney Orchard
Dear Max’s mum
I am at war. I see dead men everywhere.
All I hear are gun shots spooking me while I run through the muddy trenches.
As I shoot my gun, I feel hot tears run down my face in anger as I shoot innocent people.
I taste dirt as everyone around me is running and struggling and kicking dirt into my face.
The smell is horrendous. I smell rotting flesh everywhere and I can taste this thick dust floating around. I may not make it back home.