The Outdoors School

A holistic approach to special educational needs

Our Aim

The Outdoors Group School provides a curriculum that is heavily based on social and emotional development and operates almost completely outdoors. We believe in developing the whole learner not just the academic ability. We use a project-based method allowing the learner to be completely autonomous contributing to a well-rounded education, based on skills for lifelong learning and personal development.

The school caters for KS2 and KS3 learners (ages 7-14) and aims to provide a space for learners to develop skillsets and a growth mindset that they have been unable to in previous settings. We work closely with learners’ support networks, both professional and familial and try to create a holistic and engaging place for learners to grow.

If required learners are able to begin a placement with us 1:1 (useful if learners have high anxiety or school phobic tendencies) and then integrate them into group settings as they become able to cope with this level of engagement. We also offer a wraparound package that sees learners able to engage with BSL, Counselling and drug and alcohol support from within the school staff should they need this.

The Outdoors School will be registered as an independent special school with 150 places across Devon. We operate from 5 different sites across Devon and cater for learners who present with ASD and SEMH. Our main school site is at West Town Farm near Exeter, with other sites in Exeter, Okehampton, Tiverton and Exmouth. Each site is designed to provide something different for learners depending on behavioral and emotional need.

The Outdoors School aims to develop free thinking students and adopts a completely impartial religious and political stance while teaching, openness and even-handedness are the keys to teaching contentious issues well. Forest school is a complete educational system in itself and when put into practice in this way it can help learners to access a full curriculum of activities, skills and attitudes that provide a grounding for later life. 

Visit our frequently asked questions and join our mailing list below to keep up to date with developments.


Working with parents

At the Outdoors School we are aware of the stress and pressure parents and carers can be under when trying to navigate the maze that you are presented with if your child is an ASD or SEMH learner. We recognise that learners are often coming from school systems that have not suited them at all and we are committed to getting all learners into secure placements that will help them succeed.

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Information for parents and professionals

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. If you are are unsure if we can meet the needs of the learner find out more here.

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