The voice of specialist further education

Oakwood Specialist College

Oakwood College is a Specialist Independent College where young people achieve amazing things, supported by dedicated caring staff.
This image shows a learner on a work experience placement in a local church cafe, assisting with the coffee machine.
Oakwood Specialist College logo


Oakwood Specialist College
7/9 Oak Park Villas


  • Oakwood Specialist College
    5-7 St James Road
    PL11 2BJ
  • Oakwood Specialist College
    Fromeforde House
    Church Road
    BS37 5JB
  • Course Length (weeks):
  • Residential or Day:
    Residential and day
  • Start Time:
  • Maximum Number of Students:
  • Age Range:
    16 – 25


General Description

Oakwood Specialist College is for people between the ages of 16 – 25 with an EHCP, who have a range of special educational needs and disabilities, particularly those with Autism and difficulties in the areas of communication and emotional regulation.

Our campuses in Dawlish (Devon), Torpoint (Cornwall) and Yate (Bristol) provide specialist learning environments where learners can experience positive learning opportunities that will enable them to develop their full social, emotional, academic and physical potential. Our learners study a range of exciting learning programmes whilst also developing their feelings of self -worth, building positive relationships and developing their life and social skills in order that they will become happy, confident and valued members of society.

The College’s focus is to develop the knowledge and skills of every learner to prepare them for independent life, living and work. We provide individualised and bespoke learning programmes that follow the pathways to adulthood, and include employment related qualifications and work experience. For those learners that would benefit from examinations and accreditation we offer recognised qualifications in Functional Skills and other employability related qualifications.

The College was inspected by OFSTED in September 2018, and judged to be good in all areas and Outstanding for Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare (PDBW), with inspectors describing the learners as…” making excellent progress in their personal development and behaviour. They gain skills that can help them to be more independent in their daily lives”.

Catchment Area

We are a national provider, accepting learners from across the UK.


Our Curriculum offer is not defined by a qualification, and is structured around the Post 16 Study Programme model which includes a learning programme, work experience, maths and English and other non qualification activity to enrich our learners experience and prepare them for adulthood.

Our unique approach at Oakwood is that we work with the learner, their families and other people involved in their lives to decide what and how they should learn. The content of the learner’s programme is driven by the targets in their EHCP and their own personal goals and aspirations, and we use the curriculum as a vehicle to deliver this.

The principles of the study programmes are that they;

  • Enable students to build on existing skills and knowledge, and represent progression (lateral or vertical) from their assessed starting point.
  • Provide stretch, challenge and support students to progress towards their intended outcomes
  • Include relevant aspects of English and maths
  • Include work experience to support the development of employability skills and create potential employment options (except where this is demonstrably inappropriate)
  • Enable students to develop the skills, attitudes and confidence that support progression

Our curriculum is informed through the input of our specialist in house team of Speech and Language therapists, Counsellors and Psychologists. Whether through direct delivery by the team, or through co-planning of learning, all of our learners benefit from our blended model that is evidence based and created to fit the needs of each individual.

All learners have access to an exciting enrichment programme, with dedicated time for physical activity, craft, art and drama to name but a few. These are important opportunities for them to put in to practice their social and communication skills and building confidence and a sense of enjoyment in learning.


Specialist Facilities

Our excellent multi-disciplinary support includes personal tutors, key-workers, speech and language therapists and qualified counsellor. We have links to local district nurses and learning disability teams and other professionals, as required.

We provide a therapeutically informed curriculum and have access to an in house therapy team including speech and language therapy and psychological services.

We use restorative approaches in order to help learners understand their place in the world and help them to develop the skills and mental agility they need in order to forge positive relationships, cope with conflict and rebuild friendships if problems arise.

Our residential provision at Dawlish, provides sleeping-in/waking-night staff and 24 hour senior management on-call availability. 

Other Information

At Oakwood we place great importance on ensuring that all our learners are fully supported to achieve their optimum career/life outcomes and provide early career development and support that is aligned to their individual needs. 

CEIAG (Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance) is designed at Oakwood to prepare learners for life by providing the knowledge, understanding, confidence and skills that they need to make informed choices and plans for their future learning and career and future.

Oakwood Specialist College work closely with a range of employers as well as the local community. 

Some of our key employer partners to date include:

  • Coreus Construction Group
  • Waitrose and partners
  • Vistry homes
  • Train4all
  • Greendale Farm
  • Organic Arts Farm
  • Dawlish Garden Trust
  • SMART Building Supplies
  • No Limits Café
  • Omnium Radio CIC
  • Farm effects
  • Powderham Castle
  • Killerton House
  • Westbank & Seachange
  • Tesco
  • Sainsburys
  • Taylor Wimpey (Oakwood’s industry partner)
  • Ride On
  • The Beacon Centre
  • Teignbridge council
  • Okehampton Castle

We also work closely with the below organisations:

  • The Heart of Southwest Careers Hub
  • Careers Southwest
  • Disability Rights UK
  • Careers and enterprise company
  • Great Western railway
  • Platform
  • Severnside community rail partnership
  • Devon and Cornwall rail partnership
  • Building greater Exeter
  • Building Plymouth
  • Onsite Bristol
  • Future Smart Careers

We also have many learners who enjoy the incredible achievement of undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh award whilst at Oakwood. We pride ourselves in providing this opportunity for our young people to undertake fun and adventure through three progressive Award levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold). We value the chance this provides for them to push their personal boundaries, gain new skills and be recognised in their development.

In 2023 we proudly received the Advanced Autism Specialist Award from the National Autistic Society. 

> Our expertise

> Our curriculum

> Our specialist services


This image shows a learner on a work experience placement in a local church cafe, assisting with the coffee machine.
Here a student is out learning technology in community that can assist with independent living.
Here is one of our learners enjoying herself at our annual College Prom with one of our suited and booted directors.
This image is of one of our students enjoying himself at the Blue Light Day.

Prospectus Request

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