All posts in Further Education

The holidays are over and Oakwood Court College is alive with the sounds of new pupils arriving and settling in and returning students full of news of their adventures over the summer.

For some of our recent leavers it has also been a really busy time. Tom who left Oakwood in two years ago and now works at Powderham Castle and volunteers at a local youth club found time in his busy schedule to lend a hand at a huge information gathering event in Devon.

The DCT event at Exeter University was a great opportunity for us to meet with visitors and explain exactly what makes our college so special. Tom was kept busy all day talking with families, advocates and social care professionals about his experience of attending an independent specialist college and how he has now found a job he really loves.

Tom was an absolute natural and we would like to say a massive thank you for all his help!

Ex Student Tom on the stall, talking to people about Oakwood Court College

What a summer it has for the students who attend Oakwood Court College in Torpoint! For one young lady all her hard work and dedication has truly paid off because she has sailed through the Cardiff Special Olympics Badminton Competition and is on her way to Bournemouth where she will take part in the next stage. Go Nikki, we are backing you all the way!

For one other student the outcomes she set herself in her latest review have been met and exceeded with her taking the bus independently over the summer break and also visiting her local pool for swimming sessions. Staff and students can’t wait to see what Alex challenges herself to next!

It really has been a fantastic summer for the girls who have really shown themselves to be highly valued members of their community. Jenny decided that rather than taking a break over the last 6 weeks she would continue with her work placement which was greatly appreciated by all her regular customers visiting the shop.


In February 2014, the winter storms damaged the poly tunnel at our Fairfield site and Horticulture moved to our Oakwood Site. The students have worked very hard to transform an area of lawn into vegetable beds and even produced a crop of vegetables in the first season.

Old tyres were recycled to provide an area of herbs and wild flowers, attracting bees and butterflies to the area, which will help the vegetables flourish. Next door in the lost gardens behind Camellia, the students used railway sleepers to build steps between properties, cleared paths and borders to uncover a beautiful Victorian garden. This is a work in progress and will provide relevant gardening tasks for our horticulture students. This year again a number of students have completed their City & Guilds, Level 1 certificates in Horticulture and Conservation. Well done to Tom, Hannah, Harry, Eleanore and Lewis.

Picture of the Greenhouse in the Oakwood gardens         Picture of the vegetables growing in the Oakwood Gardens


Thursday 2Interview with County Gazette6th June 2014 saw a very important change to 2 of the Oakwood Court student’s college time table. Rhys George and Hannah Best travelled to Barnstaple to meet with Elliot Anderton a journalist from The North Devon Gazette to report on their recent trip to London to take part in the Right not a Fight Campaign.

Rhys and Hannah arrived at head office with their tutor Giselle King who also supported them to travel to and attend the event organised by Natspec in London. Elliot soon had everyone feeling at ease and asked lots of questions about the event and why the students felt so strongly about taking part. Rhys took time to tell Elliot all about his own experiences of accessing appropriate education to meet his needs and how happy he is to be at Oakwood Court College ‘where teachers listen to me which has really made my self confidence grow.’

Hannah told Elliot all about their time in London and how they had been able to visit 10 Downing Street which she really enjoyed.

After lots of questions and a photo session Elliot left with lots of information for his article and the promise that the story will be run in the next week or so. Watch this space for a link to the paper where you can read for yourself the adventures of Rhys and Hannah in London and see why we are so proud of all our Oakwood Court students and the amazing personal goals they achieve.’

Thumbs up 2On Tuesday 17th June 2014 Rhys and Hannah, two students from Oakwood Court College in Devon travelled to London to be part of the Right not a Fight Campaign at the Houses of Parliament.

The Right not a Fight campaign calls for students with a learning difficulty or disability to have the same choices that most young people take for granted, such as choosing a further education college that best meets their learning and support needs.

With the sun shining brightly and not a cloud in the sky, Rhys and Hannah were part of a huge group of young people chanting and holding their banners high ensuring that everyone could hear their combined voice. Students were able to talk with passers-by, tourists and MPs and explain why they felt the need to back this campaign and to tell their own personal story and experiences of accessing education which met their own personal needs.

Rhys was interviewed by ITV where he was keen to tell the reporter “Going to Oakwood College has allowed me to live life to the extreme and actually make something of my life” while Hannah was able to spend time with an MP and talk
through her experiences of accessing education and even getting an autograph!

After an exhausting day of rallying, holding banners aloft and even a quick visit to number 10 Rhys and Hannah returned to Devon full of news for their fellow students and happy to have been part of such an important campaign. Both students are now keen to ensure their story is heard by as many people as possible and are looking forward to being interviewed by the local papers in their area. In addition to this Hannah is doing a report of her own which will be available to read soon on this news feed.

On Tuesday 17th June, a group of students from the Dawlish and Torpoint sites attended Plympton fire station for the annual ‘Blue Light Day’. There were great fire displays and students were able to sit in the emergency vehicles and watch a dog display which they enjoyed.

Students were able to spend some time talking to the fire, police and ambulance officers, dog handlers and first aiders. They learnt plenty about what each service does on a day to day basis,what is required to work in the emergency services and much more.

DSC_0127     Demonstration from the fire crew   Students taking a picture with a policeman     Student stood with a paramedic inside an ambulance



‘Gift of the Gab’

On the 8th May, Rhys one of our first years, was invited to the National Star College for the finals of the NATSPEC inclusive skills competition. Jordan and KC were there to cheer him on.

The brief for this years competition was to create a presentation with the title ‘Talk to Me’. Although Rhys was nervous, he did a fantastic job. He presented his PowerPoint on “The different ways you can talk to me”.

Rhys engaged the audience throughout and spoke clearly and confidently.

Then it was the time for the results. “RHYS WON” the individual category!

The judges feedback was that his presentation reflected the brief well and that the PowerPoint was visually pleasing and had many different layers to it.

Congratulations to Rhys and a big thank you to Jordan and KC for supporting Rhys on his big day.

Rhys said “This was the best day of my life and it has improved my confidence a lot”.


This month a group of first and second year ICT students went to @ Bristol to look at new technologies and interact with lots of exhibits. The students explored the way a baby grew inside the mother, and learnt how hoe pumps and hydraulics worked. We had a photograph taken using a heat camera, walked amongst fiber optics, created an animation and much, more more!

After lunch the students went to the planetarium and learned about the planets and the stars in our solar system.

Student learning where the vital organs are placed in the body.    Students learning about the development of a fetus.    Picture of the students through a heat camera.    Students posing next to the bones of an ape.