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Some people just can’t help but be creative and Nathan is one of those people. With Christmas coming he has turned his hand to making Christmas trees made from driftwood collected locally. The trees come in three different sizes, small, medium and large so there is something to suit everyone.
Nathan isn’t just an artist though! He has a real business head on his shoulders and is selling the trees in the lead up to Christmas so anyone who wants to enhance their home this Christmas or just to give a wonderful gift should contact Nathan via Head Office to put in an order fast.
Well done Nathan for seeing the opportunity in waste wood and make a really beautiful product.
 Student holding his drift wood Christmas tree

Paignton was a complete riot recently when staff from Oakwood Court College in Dawlish took part in the Colour Rush 5K race for charity. All monies raised will go to Rowcroft Hospice to support the incredible work they do with people who have life limiting conditions.

More than 1500 people took part in the event running over Paignton and Preston beaches while being pelted by helpful spectators with one and a half tons of powdered paint!

Our team made up of staff from Oakwood Court College in Dawlish had been training really hard throughout the summer with lots of planning meetings in the sun and buying new trainers! Well, the gruelling training program certainly worked because Jamie, Mel, Andrew and Harriet all crossed the finishing line in glorious Technicolor having supported the charity to raise in excess of £60,000 with the grand total still growing as final donations flood in.

Staff running covered in paint          Staff with their medals covered in paint

A massive thank you to all the people who visited us on our stand at Somerset’s biggest Independent Living show last week. We were really pleased to be using our new stand to showcase exactly what Oakwood Court College can offer young people aged 16-25 with a learning disability who wish to go on to further education.

Thanks also go out to all our young people and parents, past and present who helped us develop our new brochures and hand outs. The feedback we received from everyone was invaluable and really made us think about exactly what people want to know about a college and what they can expect when they join.

It was a really busy show with lots of people stopping to chat and learn more about Oakwood Court and in particular how it supports its students to develop very real pathways to future employment.

As you can see from the photo some young people were clearly very taken with our green bugs and were happy to show their support for Oakwood in their own unique style!

Next month on October 15th we will be at Junction 24 in Somerset for the South West’s largest careers fair so we hope to see you all there!

                                               Stand marketing Oakwood Court College                Students with thumbs up infront of Oakwood's stall.

Staff and young people from Bridgeview have recently attended an All Party Parliamentary Group Meeting for young people in care at the Houses of Parliament and it has really got them thinking….

Following the meeting they decided that every young person supported by Phoenix Learning and Care should have the opportunity to have their voice heard and to shape and improve their care.

Keith Burley, Managing Director of Phoenix was their next port of call. They met with Keith and his team to talk through how they could help and the idea of a Children’s Council was born.

Meeting are now in full swing and young people have a regular opportunity to get together and discuss their care. The meetings have really empowered those who attended and some incredible talking points have arisen. Recent agenda points have included the ‘staying put’ policy. A small team of staff and young people will lobby for this at a meeting in The Houses of Parliament on Thursday 11th September with ECLCM (Every Child Leaving Care Matters)

The Children’s Council has some really important work ahead of them seeing young people involved in the writing of job descriptions, helping with recruitment and taking part in training.

With all this activity going on it’s a good job that Keith is in charge of supplying the pizza……..meetings always run more smoothly when refreshments are on hand!

Camellia Photo 1

Phoenix Learning and Care are working in partnership with the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to develop new and improved services at their Specialist Independent College; Oakwood Court in Dawlish.

The building is right next door to college and had previously been an older person’s service which had fallen into disrepair. Work has now started to completely renovate the service and will be completed in time for the September term. Currently a hive of activity the building team are working flat out to ensure that once again this grand old building has a deserved place within the community.

 The project will see additional and much improved residential accommodation at Oakwood Court as well as specially developed learning spaces in which students can access their tailored programs of education.

 There will be a grand launch of the service later in September welcoming students, families, and professionals to spend time exploring the new provision and meeting the team from Oakwood Court

On the 20th July 2014 and group of Phoenix staff and a young person, joined Keith Burley’s family and friends to help celebrate his survival from prostate cancer, by cycling 56 miles through the Somerset countryside.

The ride included an ascent of Burrington Combe a very long steep climb from the levels to the Mendips.

Many had not ridden more than a few miles previously but all but two finished the ride.

Some completed the ride in 3½ hours and others took a full 9 hours, but the commitment shown was extremely impressive.

Keith was extremely humbled by the number of staff and even a young person riding to show their support of his recovery.

GWR

The who cares? Trust is focused on pushing forward in ensuring each child in care gets all the opportunities and support they need to help them progress and succeed in life.  The trust organises national and regional events which are run by children in care so they can be on the forefront of change. These children meet MP’s, politicians and professionals to put forward their ideas on how they think the care system needs to change – they directly talk to the people who have the power to make change happen!

These children are working hard and fighting for a chance to get the best possible future, let’s help them! By signing on to The who cares? Trust website and filling out their short survey we can lend our voices to children in care and the staff that support them.  Please follow the link bellow where you will find a short survey for the children in care and a separate survey for those that work with them.

http://www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk/pages/entitlements-inquiry-one-year-on.html

 

 

This year for the first time ever the Phoenix Learning & Care Group as a whole have achieved ‘Investors in People’ status. Phoenix Childcare have had the accolade for a number of years but this year we opened the award assessment to the whole group and are very proud of the result.

Investors in people is a way for the executive management team to show its commitment to the staff throughout the group, to ensure that communication is clear and that everyone understands the ethos and vision of the company, and the part they play in its success.

During the assessment our assessor had access to all our staff and was able to offer valuable insight for the EMT, pointing the way to improvements from an independent and objective perspective. This is not where the story ends because we have feedback which will help us improve further.

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rohanTo those that have spent time with Rohan and know him best it is no surprise that he has recently come third in a county wide literacy competition for young people in Cornwall. His short story is a dark and terrifying read which keeps the reader quite literally on the edge of their seat and holding their breath to read the next sentence!

Rohan Canavan has just completed his first year at Oakwood Court Torpoint where he has been supported and encouraged by his literacy teacher Katie Bauer to really explore his creative side and start putting some of his amazing ideas down on paper. The competition win came out of the blue in many ways because Rohan’s main focus lies on completing his first novel which will ultimately form part of a series of six books charting the lives of differing races in an otherworld setting.

A massive congratulations to Rohan who we have no doubt will have his stories in print and a miniseries under his belt before very long!

Celebrating equality and diversity in a curriculum for students on the AutisticEveryone is Beautiful spectrum with difficulties with empathy.

At Oakwood Court College in Torpoint every opportunity for advancement and learning is discussed as a whole and agreement to take part is gained from students and their tutors alike. Having applied to the emCETT Julia Tester; Head teacher at Oakwood Court College and her team were delighted to learn that they had been chosen from many applications received to take part and had been awarded a bursary to carry out a targeted piece of research on empathy and how it impacts on those who are on the autistic spectrum.

The grant was used for travel to research meetings, guest speakers, a workshop for staff and students and resources for the centre.

The team carried out a baseline empathy assessment with all students and a control group of staff. They then set out to teach empathic reactions through regular instruction, role play and practical exposure to socially, medically, sexually, religiously and culturally diverse people and groups. They reflected on each session facilitated, discussed, revised their practice, facilitated the next session and repeated the cycle. The reflection and discussion incorporated colleagues and learners views. At the end of the project they carried out a summative assessment and invited students to comment on the benefits/difficulties of the project they had been involved in.

Through analysis Oakwood believe their hypothesis that it is possible to teach empathic responses to people on the Autistic Spectrum is correct. The majority increase of scoring on the Cambridge Empathy Assessment was indicative of learning having taken place
Julia and her team believe that the responses from students and visitors/providers following interactions indicate that their students were able to use a limited social tool kit that enabled them to interact appropriately and with empathy, in a structured setting.

Analysis of this project has shown that students on the autistic spectrum are able to benefit from teaching and learning of empathy and the learning from this project will influence the future development of the whole college, encompassing the learning and teaching of empathy throughout the whole curriculum with all staff reflecting and encouraging empathy when interacting with learners both in and out of the classroom.

Of 63 organisations who took part Oakwood Court College are one of 18 who will have their research and findings published on the Excellence Gateway in early September 2014.