Education & Residential

Our education and residential care services work together under the banner of Acorn Education and Care in order to build a holistic, wraparound care and learning package based on the unique situation and individual circumstances of each child.

Alignment of our education services geographically to our residential services and foster care services allows us to help children and young people to achieve positive outcomes within a school-based environment, while simultaneously receiving high-quality care within a safe and comfortable, home setting.

Each site caters for young people with complex special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), which can include behavioral, emotional, social, learning, physical or a combination of these. This support is often underpinned by a strong therapeutic approach which in turn helps our young people positively make their way in the world.

Our unmatched reach, capacity and expertise have led regulators and clients to consistently judge our services as Outstanding, more young people are receiving Outstanding education in our services than any other group in our sector.

Acorn Care and Education_Part of the NFA GrroupOur Purpose

Our aim is simple; to work with the children and young people entrusted to us, step-by-step, day-by-day, to help them achieve their potential.

Our expert teachers and specialists work in tailored environments to help young people make progressive, incremental improvements. We monitor the progress of each of our children very carefully, making adjustments to the individual development plan of each child as needed.

We take the lead in liaising with carers and families and involving the relevant agencies and authorities to build the appropriate care around the particular needs of those we look after.

Find out more about our schools catering for the specialist needs of children and young people across the country, as well as our residential facilities offering child-focused residential care placements.

“We deliver an integrated Education and Care service supported by therapy, which provides much stronger outcomes for our children and young people. Seeing progress and building incredible futures is what drives us. We can now deliver a bespoke service best suited to that individual.”

Richard Power, Managing Director of Education             

For more information, visit Acorn Care or visit our school-related websites found below.

Acorn Park

Acorn Park is a unique 30-­acre private estate in Norfolk where children and young adults across the breadth of the autistic spectrum can live, learn and play in a holistic, happy & safe environment.

Belmont School

Primary School, Secondary School and Vocational Training Unit set in stunning Pennine Lancashire hills. Our dedicated staff offers creative indoor and outdoor learning opportunities and extracurricular activities for boys between the ages of 5 and 16 with very complex social, emotional and mental health needs as well as additional learning and communication difficulties.

Bramfield House School

A day and 38-week residential SEN school located in magnificent grounds in rural East Anglia for boys aged 7-16 with SEMH and associated conditions.

Crookhey Hall School

Co-educational, therapeutic day school located in the North West for young people aged 10-17 with special educational needs.

Heath Farm School

Independent, co-educational day school located in the South East for children aged 5-18 with special educational needs.

Kestrel House School

A small, friendly autism school in North London for pupils aged 4-16 who have Autism, additional learning difficulties & complex needs.

Longdon Hall School

Standing in a superb therapeutic setting near Stafford, award-winning Longdon Hall has an outstanding reputation and overwhelming success in re-engaging the most vulnerable and disillusioned learners, aged 7-18, across the Midlands.

Longdon Park School

A specialist day school in the East Midlands catering for children with high functioning autism and associated conditions.

Meadowcroft School

Day school for boys and girls aged from 5-19 across 2 sites in Wakefield, West Yorkshire supporting SEMH, Autism, PMLD, Development Delay, OCD, SLD and associated conditions.

Mountfield Heath School

All pupils at Mountfield Heath School will have access to an education that is personalised, engaging and will encompass a purposeful and balanced curriculum for those with special educational needs.

Oak Tree School

Co-educational day school near the City of Truro in Cornwall for young people aged 8-16 with special educational needs.

Oakfield House School

An Outstanding co-educational primary school, set in a 19th Century country house within 8 acres of beautiful, North West parklands. Experienced staff provide innovative opportunities for enjoyment and learning beyond the classrooms, helping children with special educational needs, autism & associated conditions re-engage with their education.

Reddish Hall School

An outstanding co-educational day school, in a historic setting in Stockport, catering for pupils aged 5-18 with special educational needs, communication difficulties & challenging behaviour, offering them a calm and constructive atmosphere.

The Shires

An Outstanding autism day & residential school located in the East Midlands for young people and adults from 11 years upwards with autism.

Underley Garden

Unique day & residential autism school located in a unique and simply stunning Cumbrian landscape for young people and adults from five years of age with autism and complex needs.

The Grange Therapeutic School

A day & 38-week residential therapeutic school in the East Midlands for boys aged 8-18 with SEMH and associated conditions.

Waterloo Lodge School

A co-educational day school in the North West catering for young people aged 11-18 with special educational needs.

The Wenlock School

A co-educational day school in the North West catering for young people aged 11-18 with special educational needs.

Westbourne School

Westbourne School will support boys and girls between 11-18 years of age who have social, emotional and mental health needs.

Pathway Care Residential

Provides a range of high quality bespoke care bespoke residential care placements for children, young people and adults.

Pathway Care Residential Logo

Our education success stories

Throughout our 20 schools across the UK, we are able to effectively split our specialist education provision where needed.

This means that we are equally capable of providing dedicated learning environments tailored to the unique needs of children and young people with social and emotional issues, as well as offering specialist care and education for children on the autism spectrum, or to those who have associated learning difficulties.

We take a look at examples of typical case studies within our Education division, which goes some way towards highlighting the positive differences we are able to make in ensuring that all children and young people we provide care and learning support towards are able to maximise their personal development and learning capabilities within a nurturing and understanding framework that allows them to progress.

Acorn Care and Education Part of the NFA GroupBradley (Meadowcroft School)

Bradley arrived at Meadowcroft School in Wakefield on June 2018 after not attending or receiving any form of education since February 2017.

Bradley struggled with his speech due to his delayed language development and having a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which often made it difficult for him to communicate or maintain positive relationships with his peers.

Prior to joining Meadowcroft, Bradley could only speak using short simple sentences. These were predominantly focused on communicating his needs. He often used just two or three words to communicate, was being bullied by his peers, and generally had negative relationships with adults.

Productive and positive change

On arrival at Meadowcroft, Bradley immediately made a productive and positive start, soon demonstrating enjoyment in attending school.

His attendance has risen to 97% at the time of writing, coming after a long period of absence from any form of education. His parents say Bradley now wakes up every morning looking forward to going to school and he is not as anxious or unhappy as he was previously.

Bradley’s sense of humour and unique personality were clear from the offset and he managed to develop positive relationships with both peers and staff, to the extent that he has made new friends with whom he regularly plays and socialises with.

His communication skills have developed significantly and Bradley can now hold a conversation using long sentences.

“We can understand him much easier now. He talks in sentences and not just single words, so we can have many conversations with him about how his day has been.”

Bradley’s mother in conversation with a teaching assistant at Meadowcroft School.

Acorn Care and Education Part of the NFA GroupJack (Oak Tree School leaver)

Jack spent a total of two years and six months at Oak Tree School in Cornwall, a co-educational day school for children and young people aged 8 to 16 with special educational needs.

Arriving in January 2015, Jack’s placement was part of a longer-term plan for him to be able to return to his parents after having been through the care of his local authority for a number of years with frequent care placements changes.

Prior to enrolling at Oak Tree School

From as early as pre-school age, Jack was referred to support services due to delayed language development, while he had also displayed challenging behavior, including physical aggression, non-compliance, and running away from school.

When he was six years old, it was noted that Jack would require special education needs in direct response to his social, emotional and behavioural development. After attending several schools in the Cornwall area, it was observed that Jack had a history of volatile relationships with his peers and his behaviour often created significant unrest amongst other students.

Erratic behaviour and a high level of support and encouragement to comply even with the most basic requests meant that Jack developed a reputation as a child who wishes to actively resist any form of authority as a means of protecting himself, bearing in mind that he had undergone much upheaval in both his personal and academic life up until this juncture.

As if to highlight this further, Jack’s phone was often seen as very important to him and he became very protective of such possessions; understandable in the context of his disrupted attachments and the difficulty he experiences with not being able to live full-time with his parents.

After years of disrupted education, it was reasonable to suggest that Jack has an intense fear of failure and this may lead to his resistance to trying new experiences.

At Oak Tree

During his time at Oak Tree from early 2015, Jack experienced significant change in his home life.

We recognised these changes in Jack’s home life and immediately made arrangements to provide him with a personalised and engaging curriculum including providing transport so we could manage the home to school transition.

Jack initially found working in a school environment difficult and in his first few weeks displayed very chaotic behaviours and struggled to engage in any structured activities.

We continued to work with Jack, amending his timetable and staff who worked with him until he became more engaged.

The breakthrough moments with Jack in trying to get him to be more proactive and even enjoy his own learning experience was to align his interests with his academic development. Jack showed a passion for BMXs, so our teachers utilised this by basing curriculum focused English, maths and science lessons around BMX projects, as well as providing a lot of opportunity for outdoor education sessions where he was able to develop his physical and social skills.

Challenging vocational training

Whilst in his final year at school, Jack returned from care to his parents’ house, and very quickly his pattern of behaviour took a downward turn. Jack still remained incredibly reluctant to complete anything he perceived as work.

He did successfully complete some functional skills in English and maths, but attempts made to get him to complete vocational training opportunities were very challenging.

College and enhanced career prospects

In order to try and get Jack to re-engage with our school programme, Oak Tree continued to work with Jack and his family through until the end of year 11.

Whilst Jack refused to attend his final exams, he did leave with the qualifications he had completed earlier in the year, and, following careers advice and guidance set up by the school, Jack had clear pathways for life after Oak Tree, planned through his enrolment on the entry Level Pathfinder course at Camborne College.

Acorn Care and Education Part of the NFA Group

Pathway Care Residential

As outlined in Our Vision, we work tirelessly towards building incredible futures for vulnerable children and young people.

Our Residential Care service represents a further example of how we empower every individual within our care to become as independent as possible and make their own way in the world.

Since 2000, we’ve been providing safe, nurturing and comfortable child-focused living environments for young people above the age of eight years old, helping them make a positive transition when they are able to move back home or teach them practical skills in preparation for independent living.

We work in partnership with a range of authorities, agencies and organisations to meet the specific needs of all children in our care.

What you can expect from our homes   

The Orchards pet therapyA strong, safeguarding culture can be seen throughout each of our residential homes across the UK.

It’s important to us that children and young people in our care feel that they are being heard, respected and involved in decision making relating to their care and wider life choices. Therefore, we endeavour to make sure each of our homes offer the same high-quality support and care, and that they become a platform for personal growth and independence.

Space and privacy for each child is paramount, which is why we select homes that provide enough room for everyone living there. Every child has their own bedroom, while staff have their own sleeping area and separate office, ensuring that each home is focused on the needs of the children, without anybody feeling overwhelmed or overcrowded.

Building communal skills and long-term relationships

Encouraging healthy life choices from a home-away-from-home style setting, the children and young people living in our homes feel inspired to learn positive social skills and embrace new opportunities, made possible by living alongside peers and their assigned key workers.

A focus on stability and consistency ensures that children and young people receiving residential care are able to build healthy and lasting relationships with their key workers, thereby ensuring that we are able to deliver the best care possible.

Our residential care staff actively instil a spirit of respect and courtesy within our homes, which then translates into the children being able to express their uniqueness and individuality without fear or judgement.

“I smile so much now. I never used to really smile at all. I still do get angry occasionally but if I do, I know how to deal with that feeling in an appropriate way.”

Rob, Pathway Care resident

Life enhancing opportunities and constant support

Because all of our homes are based in safe, communal areas with lots for them to do outside of the home, they can be free to fully embrace the communities in which they live within appropriate boundaries.

Outdoor activity Bridge HouseWe also recognise that there will be times when children and young people in our care will go through personal struggles. Our staff are always on hand to ensure that they are constantly supported throughout the more difficult periods, and in turn will always celebrate a child’s achievements in the face of these hardships.

We are also realistic about the progress our children make and plan their care around making incremental steps towards improved futures.

For more information about our family of residential homes, please visit our Pathway Care website.