Our next Parent Workshop will be on Wednesday 22nd May. This will be an opportunity to find out about The Carers Centre and to learn more about how to support children's sensory differences.
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Oaklands School

Building Foundations for Fulfilling Futures

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Oaklands School

Building Foundations for Fulfilling Futures

Outcomes for Learners

'Staff are highly aspirational for their school and their pupils'

Inclusion Quality Mark Review May 2023


Educational progress is, at the most basic level, the difference a school makes to any pupil from admission to leaving that school. There are many ways to measure progress, including comparison to similar pupils/ cohorts locally and nationally. However, each Oaklands’ child is so unique in their spiky profile of strengths & areas of development, and our total cohort size is small, therefore comparative data is not statistically valid or particularly useful in assessing the quality of our provision or pupil progress.


At Oaklands, we use OPAL, Oaklands Progressive Assessment Ladders. As each child at Oaklands is unique, the I can statements in OPAL track their individual journey from their own starting points (baseline) so that we can see progress at an individual level measured in number of steps achieved. There is also a horizontal measure of progress (APS) within a single step to capture the progress made by students with the most severe learning difficulties, from Accessing a skill, to Practicing it, to having 4 attempts to Secure that skill.


Within OPAL, there are 8 ladders of micro steps within larger skills and knowledge blocks that relate to the 6 assessed Areas of Learning (AoL) within the Oaklands curriculum:

  • Literacy
  • Maths
  • Emotional Regulation & Wellbeing
  • Physical Development
  • Communication, Interaction & Social Skills
  • Independence & Life Skills


There are two further Areas of Learning which are not assessed:

  • Science & Environmental Education
  • Creativity & the Arts


OPAL ladders provide staff with a very broad and comprehensive set of competency-based criteria which gives a rounded view of all pupils’ strengths. Staff use the OPAL statements continually to formatively assess pupils and adjust their provision to meet needs and enable them to achieve their next steps. Each child’s set of ladders are regularly updated and are a good source of understanding about pupils’ strengths and areas of development. Recording is done on paper so anyone can access the records to inform their practice and focus on pupils’ next steps. In this way, we can also regularly share information about aspects of a child's learning with parents/carers.


Judgements of progress are moderated within class teams, as well as across the school.     

In regular Progress Review Meetings, class teachers feedback to their line manager on general progress, areas where their children or key individuals may be struggling, and report on the impact of Resilience Building Plans. Collaboratively, the line manager and teacher look at ways to bridge the gap for learners who have specific areas of need, and school leaders look for any commonalities that could be addressed more widely. Due to the heterogeneity of our cohort, even within the same pathway, comparison of progress or a notion of ‘expected progress’ are not meaningful at Oaklands. Therefore, we do not draw cohort comparisons but do ensure that every child's progress is discussed regularly over the year. Leaders ensure that all staff are aware of particular vulnerabilities that may impact upon an individual’s learning, such as economic disadvantage.


Class teacher reports at the end of the year and before annual review meetings offer a rounded view of pupil progress in addition to data on OPAL steps achieved. A child’s library of reports is evidence of progress over time, and supported by half termly video assessments. 


Other Views of Outcomes for Learners 


As well as our own internal processes to ensure that we are maximising progress for learners, there are many other ways in which we check that outcomes for our learners are good or better. One of the ways is by getting parent/ feedback through Annual Review meetings and parent surveys. Parent/carer satisfaction is very high with regular feedback that 95%+ Agree strongly or Agree (or equivalent) on key questions such as ‘My child likes going to school’ and ‘The school informs me about my child’s learning and progress’. In May 23, 92% of parents surveyed told us that they think their child is making good progress considering their special educational needs. Parent/carers are also asked to feedback at Annual Review meetings regarding progress towards their child's EHCP objectives (OPAL related Statements). In addition, we regularly seek feedback from the secondary schools that our pupils transition to about how prepared and ready they are for their next steps in education. Secondary school leaders unanimously tell us that pupils are effectively prepared for the transition and have built firm foundations on which to continue their education.


Long Term Outcomes


We know that in exceptional cases, some pupils in the past have gone on to sit GCSEs, Entry Level accreditations, Step up to English and Maths courses or attend colleges to study courses such as Bricklaying or Catering. The majority of pupils access personalised learning based on EHCP outcomes including travel training & preparing for adulthood.



     ‘Through this diligent (OPAL) tracking, each pupil receives a bespoke programme that ensures they have the right skills they need to be successful at the next stage of their education. This is then monitored by leaders, so they are aware of how well pupils are getting on at their new schools’.

Challenge Partners Review Report October 2022