The Outdoors School FAQs

When is it opening?

We are submitting the final paperwork before Christmas, this will mean that Ofsted will be visiting after Christmas to sign off everything against the independent school standards checklist. We have already had 90% of this signed off so it should be a problem free process. After this we gain a DfE number and are registered as a school! This will lead to a commissioning process with the 0-25 team ad Devon County Council, after which we will be accepting learners! We anticipate this process being completed by around February Half term

What age ranges do you accept?

We will be accepting learners from Key Stage 2 and 3 (ages 7-14) initially, although there are future plans to extend the provision into other key stages as we grow.

Is it full time?

Yes we will be a full time officially registered Independent Special School operating 5 days a week for the Devon County Council term time dates

Who is it for?

Our provision is specifically for SEMH and ASD provision, those learners who struggle in mainstream settings due to behavioural issues or high anxiety. We will always have a chat about the learners needs and ensure we can effectively cater for their needs before we accept a placement. We aim to break the cycle of failure many of these learners experience so making sure this is a good fit for them is really important to us.

How do I get a place?

All our places are commissioned from the 0-25 team, so learners previous settings or parents/carers will need to get in touch with the 025 team for commissioning processes. We are happy to help where we can with this process.

How much does it cost?

As places are commissioned with the local authority there will be no direct costs to the parents, however, contributions to events, trips and other things may still apply as they would with other school settings.

How do I know if the school is suitable for my child?

We will have a conversation with parents/carers and other agencies involved, as well as reviewing paperwork to help make a decision as to whether we can offer a suitable placement. We also encourage learners and others to visit the school site and see what we do first hand to make sure they know what the setting is like. It is very different from a mainstream school setting!

What does the school teach?

We have a specialist curriculum that provides first and foremost for social and emotional needs. We operate the same 3 year programme for all learners who start with us regardless of age which focusses on: Myself, Myself and Family, Myself and the Community, Myself and the Global Community, Myself and Work and Myself and Progression. After the first three years the curriculum is project based with longer and more in depth projects and qualifications as the learners progress. All the curriculum elements are assessed but are not taught separately but are incorporated into the projects meaning all learners can access all curriculum areas without fear of failure.

How many places do you have?

We are registered for 150 places

How do the sites work?

WE have 5 sites around Devon that are all registered as one school. The main provision will be in Exeter with 90 places being allocated to this site, and to Tiverton where 30 places are allocated. Tiverton will operate as an ASD specialist site although we will have ASD learners across other sites as appropriate. The other three sites, Exeter, Exmouth and Okehampton will operate as small group or 1:1 areas to help with gradual integration of learners who may not otherwise cope with larger groups or busier sites.

What are the staff ratios like?

WE will keep staff ratios high, typically we will be aiming for a minimum of 1:6 as a staff ratio to ensure all learners get the support that they need to progress and achieve. Where it is identified through the commissioning process for a place that a learner needs a 1:1 support this will also be provided.

How do I express an interest in a school place?

You can contact us directly to enquire about places and to talk further about any other queries you may have. If you want to speak to the 0-25 team about requesting a place you can contact them directly, the contact details are online, or your current school SENCo will be able to provide further details.

How will you keep everyone informed of progress?

We will be sending regular updates on progress to everyone on the mailing list, as well as through social media. We will do our best to keep you as up to date as we can throughout the process of opening the school.

I’m interested in further information about the process, its all so confusing! Where do I go?

If the whole process of dealing with schools, TAF meetings, EHCP and the 0-25 team is just too much, we are happy to help where we can. We can’t promise answers as every case is slightly different, but we have a lot of experience in this area and are happy to signpost where possible. Another really valuable source of information is DIAS who have an excellent website and some really top quality advisors.


You are donating to : South West Outdoors Group

How much would you like to donate?
£10 £20 £30
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Additional Note