Woodpecker Court is an alternative education provider with specialist post 16 status.
We are set in a rural location. We believe that every student is different and treated as an individual
and therefore vary our practices to support them holistically. We aim to improve outcomes by providing
all of our students with the necessary skills to equip them to sustain their onward destination after
leaving us. We have a calm, safe and friendly environment that all of our students together as a
We offer our post 16 courses in animal care, catering, or occupational studies, enterprise and
employability, alongside functional skills English and Maths. Many post 16 vulnerable learner
programmes fail because the delivery is formal in a classroom. This has not worked for the previous
eleven years, so why repeat the process? Block by block, we will enable a young person to tolerate then
work with others, show resilience to failure and bad weather. They can have the time and space to express
their frustrations in the outdoors. They can fail safely, then learn to succeed. They can develop good peer
and staff relationships, and maintain them over time. Then, and only then, do we deliver the formal
learning because then students are ready to achieve. Our outdoor experiences are explicitly linked to
formal learning objectives. For example, quantities of animal feed are linked to profit margins, having an
impact upon Maths.
We provide engagement programmes for learners aged 11-16 by working collaboratively with local schools. Our programmes are run in the great outdoors from our 15 acre site that encompasses woodland, paddocks, classrooms, workshops and at the heart of our community our parachuted fire circles. These engagement programmes offer the chance for schools to prevent exclusion and promote reengagement by changing the environment completely around the young person. We develop resilience, self-esteem and positivity through introducing routines and developing a sense of community. This is achieved by a daily breakfast and lunch, cooked by the young people themselves, using bush craft techniques, meaning they have to work with others to achieve. They then devise their own programme in wood craft, forestry work, horticulture, animal care and bush craft and team building activity, that both engages them and generates a culture of success. All learners have a key worker who tracks their progress through their Personal Learning Plan, which includes data on soft and hard outcomes. We work on a bespoke level according to the aims of the referrer and needs of the young person and their family.
All of our students either have an Education Health Care Plan or have exhibited a struggle to access education. We deliver both formal and informal education to enable the students to either re-engage in school if they are 11-16 or support our post 16 students in transitioning to a sustained destination thereby improving lifelong prospects. We facilitate forest schools and day activities, as well as access for the community, families and other Youth Organisations to the great outdoors.