Great Oaks School

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About Great Oaks School

Name Great Oaks School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Andy Evans
Address Vermont Close, Off Winchester Road, Southampton, SO16 7LT
Phone Number 02380767660
Phase Academy (special)
Type Academy special converter
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 322
Local Authority Southampton
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Great Oaks is an exceptional school. It is an inspirational place where young people, at all stages of their school life, thrive, both socially and academically. The school is ambitious for every pupil, no matter what their starting points are.

Determined staff do everything they can to ensure that pupils enjoy school and benefit from a carefully adapted curriculum.

Relationships between staff and pupils are very strong. Staff care for pupils with respect and understanding.

This helps pupils to have a strong sense of belonging and feel part of the school community. These relationships, coupled with an exceptionally well-designed curriculum, ensure that pupils... achieve highly from their starting points. As a result, pupils gain the skills and knowledge they need for a successful life beyond school.

Pupils' behaviour is remarkable. Where needed, well-trained staff provide expert support to pupils, helping them to regulate their emotions with dignity. Pupils demonstrate an exceptional understanding and appreciation of their peers' differences and commonalities.

Bullying is understood and not tolerated. As a result, the school provides a safe and nurturing sanctuary for young people, from all walks of life, with a range of complex learning difficulties.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

The school's curriculum is extremely effective.

It is intelligently designed and organised into three different 'pathways' that reflect the different needs of pupils. Within each, the school has coherently mapped out the ambitious knowledge and skills that pupils need to learn, with clear emphasis on developing communication, literacy, numeracy and personal and social skills. This provides teachers with an adaptable framework, which they use very well to meet pupils' varied needs.

This well-thought-out flexibility ensures that there is no limit to ambition and that every pupil is supported to achieve.

Teaching is adapted exceptionally well. The school identifies pupils' needs thoroughly, breaking down their education, health and care (EHC) plans into small steps.

Teachers use these, alongside the curriculum, to plan coherent sequences of learning that meet pupils' different needs. The thoughtful design of the curriculum means pupils experience success and recognition. As they progress in their learning, pupils are encouraged and supported to obtain progressively ambitious and meaningful accreditations.

Teachers use their impressive knowledge to cater skilfully for pupils' diverse special educational needs and/or disabilities. New learning is modelled clearly and broken down in a way that pupils understand. Assessment is ongoing and used to adjust teaching and to fine-tune pupils' learning goals.

This practice is routinely in place across the pathways and across the age range of pupils at the school. This makes learning highly purposeful and ensures that pupils benefit from education that helps them to navigate the world around them.

Developing pupils' communication skills is a priority.

Skilled staff use a range of highly effective communication strategies to enable pupils to learn. Teachers assess pupils' phonics knowledge accurately, swiftly putting in place any extra support needed. There is a noteworthy focus on reading, where pupils are supported expertly to overcome any barriers they have.

As a result, pupils' communication skills improve significantly over time, and they develop a love of reading.

Pupils enjoy coming to school, and most attend well. For some pupils, their medical needs can adversely affect their attendance.

However, the school analyses patterns of absence thoroughly and takes swift action to support pupils to attend as often as they can.

Opportunities for pupils' personal development are impressive. The 'Great Oaks Guarantee' promises a rich set of extra-curricular experiences to every pupil.

Pupils enjoy the boundless inclusive opportunities to develop talents and interests. Leaders have given careful thought to the way personal, social, health and economic education and relationships and sex education and health education are woven through the curriculum at an appropriate level for pupils' different stages of development. As a result, pupils develop their understanding of important topics such as consent and privacy.

Education about next steps, life in modern Britain, careers, and the world of work is interwoven into everything the school does. In the college, older pupils benefit from an intelligently curated programme of work experience, enterprise, citizenship, and independent living skills, which prepares them successfully for adulthood.

The school is exceptionally well led.

Trustees and governors offer highly effective support and challenge to the school and have a secure understanding of their statutory responsibilities. Staff, governors, and trustees, at all levels, share commitment to the noble vision of providing high-quality education for all. They are humble, open and reflective, and despite the many strengths of the school, everyone is firmly committed to continuous improvement.

The culture is collaborative, inclusive and devoid of hierarchy. Consequently, staff feel valued and are proud to work at Great Oaks.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Also at this postcode
Vermont School

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