Colorful Hands Painted With Smileys

An introduction from the


“Oakgrove transforms its pupils’ chances of school success. Pupils flourish in this welcoming, nurturing school. They feel safe. They become much more confident and more able to manage their behaviour and relationships with others” Ofsted 2012

“You and all staff have created a safe, calm and emotionally secure environment for your pupils. The interactions between pupils and staff are extremely positive. Pupils’ behaviour throughout the school was almost always exemplary” Ofsted 2017

Oakgrove is a special school maintained by Stockport Local Authority for primary aged pupils with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties.

All of our pupils are in receipt of an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), implemented following a process of identification and assessment of need whilst at their previous, mainstream setting. Admission to Oakgrove will be agreed at a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Panel on those occasions when, despite additional support, the mainstream school can no longer meet the needs of the pupil.  

It is common for pupils to have attended several schools prior to their admission at Oakgrove.

These experiences have a profound effect. Without exception, our pupils will have received many exclusions, often been on reduced timetables and allowed in school only when additional members of staff are available to support them. They have experienced limited, if any, access to a class room environment or time with other children.

Whilst our children’s needs and presenting behaviours are as unique and individual as the pupils themselves, there are, nonetheless, common areas of difficulty. 

They have lost their ability to trust. Adults have let them down; they feel abandoned by the very people who should have cared for them. To protect themselves from further harm our children will not invest any more of their emotional energy into developing relationships that experience has taught them are destined to fail.

Previous mistakes have resulted in punishment which over time has had a detrimental impact on pupil resilience and self-esteem. It is therefore understandable that our children are risk-averse; it is safer to avoid a challenge rather than risk making a mistake.

Oakgrove changes these perceptions of school life. Sensitive to previous experiences, staff members create a safe, nurturing environment in which our pupils develop their emotional resilience, increase their ability to accept challenge and re-engage with learning opportunities. Our responses are calm, unemotional and supportive using carefully scripted phrases; “I can see that something has happened. I am here to help.” It is this consistency in approach that creates a feeling of security.

Our expectations are high. We encourage our children to embrace risk and mistakes, helping them to understand that such mistakes are an opportunity to learn. Rather than punish, our logical and natural consequence to unwanted behaviour is to hold a restorative conversation during which solutions are sought and an alternative course of action for the future will be identified.

 “He loves coming into school. It’s been life-changing for him and for us.”

“From the day he looked around your school he has begun to enjoy his education again, made friendships and developed his self-esteem.”

“I just wanted say thank you so much to all the staff at Oakgrove. You have been a lifeline for my little boy after so many unsettled years in mainstream schools.”

Oakgrove Primary School

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