Woodspring School

  We believe that children who have emotional, social and behavioural difficulties should be achieving in school; by building relationships, resilience and self-regulation we support our students achieve more than they believed possible. With individualised education and support every student can reach their potential; improving their self-esteem, their attainment and their outcomes   

Identifying strengths, Inspiring change, improving outcomes

Woodspring LogoWoodspring School provides specialist provision for children whom have complex needs; SEMHD and/or special educational needs and that are looked after. We are registered to admit children from 11 – 18 years old. This age range extension was granted October 2014. We are registered for 10 students, enabling us to offer bespoke education to our students. We offer a wide curriculum of subjects both academic and practical, including preparation for post 16, college, training or employment. Where possible students are offered work experience placements. Students have access to a variety of qualifications fully embracing equality and diversity, including GCSEs, Functional Skills, NVQ level 2 qualifications, and ASDAN modular awards. Some of our students will be aided to transition to mainstream school, however many wish to stay with us and continue to Post 16 provision.

Woodspring School has received no complaints during 2015-16 academic year

We are an entirely non political school.

Head of Quality & Education, Children’s Services: Kiks Sheppard BSc.(Hons), SP&C Dip (Open), FRSA.

Head of School: Gareth Thomas

Download our latest OFSTED Report


Our School

We recognise the need for a creative approach to learning, and believe that by delivering bespoke educational packages, we will find these young people’s strengths and build on them. Our aim is to help them to become resilient, positive citizens enabling them to play a full and active part in the future of our country.

  • Pupil centred
  • Easy access to education
  • Secure learning environment
  • Inspirational & practical learning
  • Individual and group education
  • Personalised learning
  • Accessible to ages 11 – 18 and all abilities

We are registered with the DfES as an ‘independent special school for pupils of secondary age with complex needs and SEMHD and we provide a fully personalised education programme for each pupil, which is delivered by qualified and experienced staff in a small, group learning environment.

Our small group sizes and 1-1 tuition, allows for the appropriate support levels to be given to our pupils. For many of our pupils building trusting relationships can be difficult, due to previous experience, therefore we strive to create a learning environment which engenders trust and helps to nuture the social and emotional skills needed to build positive and lasting relationships.

We offer access to professional services, have an in-house learning mentor and encourage peer mentoring.

Our strategic partnerships allow us to offer a variety of educational ‘Outreach’ options for vulnerable learners in our care and those unable to access full time education for whatever reason.

The school is in a rural location, approximately 7 miles from Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset, thus within easy driving distance of an urban centre. The location was specially chosen to meet the needs of our students and provides a calm and nurturing atmosphere, with access to local sports and community facilities. The school site provides a warm, welcoming and nurturing environment where students can begin to trust in the competence, reliability and caring concern of the adult world and to make significant progress in their learning. Our small school buildings allows us to keep pupils under close supervision while allowing them the opportunity to work independently wherever possible

Our Staff

Staff are chosen for their experience with SEBD students and their ability to provide motivation, encouragement and emotional support, whilst constantly encouraging our students to reach their academic and social potential. Our leadership team have backgrounds in psychology, counselling and specialist teaching, we also have a qualified counsellor on staff who works with our students in creative and expressive subjects. We value our students and staff and aim to constantly improve our provision and the outcomes for our students. They have worked together to develop this particularly successful model of nurturing education.

Our staff are experienced practitioners, who:

  • Re-engage students in education
  • Help our students raise their self-esteem
  • Design lessons which meet the needs of our students and awarding body criteria
  • Know their students
  • Recognise behavioral triggers
  • Provide emotional support

Provide extra support for all who need or want it.

Kiks Sheppard

Kiks Sheppard

Head of Education | Designated Safeguarding Lead

Gareth Thomas

Gareth Thomas

Head of School | Teaches Sport

Laura Webber

Deputy Head of School

Andrea Anning

Andrea Anning

Deputy DSL | Teaches Citizenship, PSHE &Child Development

Louise Davis

Louise Davis

School Counsellor

Mike Perkins

Mike Perkins

Teaches Science & Music

Mike Varley

Mike Varley

Teaches Maths & ICT

Becca Beveridge

Becca Beveridge

Teaches English & Environmental Activities


Brenda Fowler

Teaches DT Food and Spanish

Kate Davis

Kate Davis

Learning Support Assistant

Emma Holloway

Emma Holloway

Learning Support Assistant

Our Students

Great emphasis is placed on displaying pupils’ work and we encourage them to take pride in their presentation by using the computers and various design tools. Key words in subject areas are also clearly on display to aid vocabulary development. Internal and external certificates of accreditation are displayed with the pupil’s consent, providing a visual re-enforcement of the aims of the school and motivating new pupils.

All children are individuals, with individual needs, wants and wishes

  • Education & approach is  individualised
  • A broad and engaging curriculum is offered
  • Acceptance of individual differences is embraced
  • Boundaries are reinforced,  with explanation, thus aiding self-regulation

We promise our students that we will:

  • Assess their needs and attainment, producing appropriate IEPs
  • Provide education and guidance to help them achieve their goals and wishes
  • Support their emotional, social  and academic needs
  • Work with other professionals and the LA to provide for their needs, enabling them reach their potential
  • Assist them to continue into post 16 education, training or employment
  • Ensure their voice is heard in PEP, transfer and review meetings

Our Values and Aims

We want all of our students to achieve the skills and qualifications they need to be successful in life, and to make safe and satisfying choices. Educating our young people in an imaginative and dynamic manner has always been our aim, and we have tried many ways in which to provide high standards and outcomes. We very much promote a ‘can do’ approach to our work, students and teaching team and we understand from our students that they enjoy education at Woodspring and for many this is a new experience.

They understand me. They get me to think about the way I behave and give me a chance to turn it around. – pupil, aged 12

We continue to support the 'Every Child Matters' agenda and this is reflected in our adoption of the five outcomes.

Woodspring School Equality and Diversity Objectives 2017/2018:

The Equality Act 2010 requires us to publish specific and measurable equality objective(s). Our equality objective(s) for 2017-18 are:

  1. To reduce the attainment gap for children looked after
  2. To promote diversity and equality throughout the school and within the wider community
  3. To continue to ensure British Values and Equality and Diversity are embedded across the curriculum

Be Healthy

We provide opportunities where pupils can learn how to be physically and emotionally healthy.

  • Our pupils follow a range of physical activities, including outdoor education.
  • Our individual programmes and general ethos help pupils develop skills and strategies to manage conflict and acquire resilience, emotional confidence and social competence.
  • We provide specialist and appropriate sexual awareness and substance abuse education through our PSHE programme and in partnership.

Be Safe

We provide a secure and stable environment where students feel cared for.

  • We have a robust anti-bullying policy.
  • Our high staff/ student ratio ensures that pupils are constantly supported in a safe and nurturing environment.
  • Our PSHE and Citizenship programmes ensures that each student is aware of the wider picture of anti- social behaviour, its human impact and the consequences of crime.
  • Staff receive regular training in Child Protection and Health & Safety.
  • We aim to equip our students with ability to make informed decisions in all aspects of their lives

Enjoy and Achieve

We ensure students enjoy school and achieve personal, social and academic development. Sensitive and systematic assessments and monitoring ensure that our curriculum is adapted and responsive to the individual needs of each student; it allows for additional support where needed.

  • Our skilled and experienced staff deliver a broad curriculum which is adapted and differentiated to meet the needs of each student.
  • We use a range of stimulating teaching and learning styles to ensure our students want to come to school and want to learn.
  • Accreditation is important. All students have access to a range of national qualifications.
  • We acknowledge and celebrate success at every level.
  • Progress is constantly monitored and reviewed, and targets are clear and shared.
  • Students know what is expected of them and are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Practical activities provide an important balance and enrich the academic curriculum.

Make a Positive Contribution

To develop self-confidence, responsibility, and enterprising behaviour.

  • Students actively contribute to decisions affecting the school community and a school perfect is elected by the student body.
  • We have clear and consistent boundaries aiding students to make important decisions about their own behaviour and positive behaviour is expected, encouraged and rewarded in its own right and as an expression of social consciousness and moral responsibility.
  • Students are encouraged to take part in charity or community projects, such as Comic Relief and Breast Cancer Awareness
  • Recognition of individual worth and development of improved self-esteem are at the heart of everything we do.

Achieve Economic Wellbeing

To prepare pupils for further education and employment.

  • Students are given means to be included in society through educational and vocational qualifications, emotional resilience, practical training and work experience opportunities.
  • Students learn to be economically aware and active in preparation for adult responsibilities
  • We liaise with colleges, careers agencies and employers to ensure our students know about and are in a position to take up opportunities to further develop their skills.
  • Teaching is organised to focus on the acquisition of the key skills of literacy and numeracy.
  • Subjects are regularly offered for study through modular cross-curricular programmes that both capture the interest of pupils and serve as a key focus for enrichment activities of many kinds. North Somerset itself is a rich resource, historic, geographic, religious and architectural, for research and investigation.
  • The use of ICT is an essential resource for encouraging pupil engagement, supporting independent working.


Individual education plans offer our students a wide range of subjects within and in addition to the National Curriculum.

Our bespoke programmes encourage each student to access full time education, allowing them to reach their full potential, however our creative approach allows us to be flexible, providing programmes from as little as one day a week initially.

Each student is assessed on entry and an integration programme agreed at the first  planning meeting with the student and relevant professionals, as appropriate. As most of our students have spent a considerable time out of education and have also often had negative experiences, we spend a great deal of time in liaison with parents, care staff and other professional colleagues, gradually building up to a full timetable and national curriculum.

All students follow appropriate key stage literacy, numeracy and science programmes, together with Citizenship, PSHE, DT and sport . These subjects are supplemented by environmental activities and outdoor education.

I like all of the different stuff we do, not just lessons in the classroom – pupil, aged 12

We encourage all our key stage 4 pupils to take GCSEs and/or Functional skills  in years 10 and 11, but also provide vocational and ASDAN training or work experience improving their options for further education and future careers. In addition we offer the NVQ level 2 qualifications in variety of subjects.

We are delighted to announce that Woodspring School achieved an overall exams pass rate of 89.5% for the year 2013/2014, 2014/15 was our first year of GCSE exams, 71.4% of students passed.


AQA Functional Skills

Functional Skills qualifications are built around developing practical skills to help build confidence and gaining the most out of work, education and every day life. Assessment is primarily by task based scenario questions. In earning qualifications in Maths and English, learners are gaining the opportunity to develop these vital skills, ensuring they’re well equipped for success in employment, further or higher education and life. Often a student’s first accredited qualification, these courses can be used in preparation for GCSE.

AQA Functional Skills English – This specification aims to ensure students have good communication skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. It assesses whether students can use these skills in everyday situations.

AQA Functional Skills Maths – Developing mathematical skills involves learning to solve increasingly complicated problems. This qualification allows students to develop their problem-solving skills, numerical abilities and the mathematical confidence that will help them thrive in a rapidly changing world.

All students entered for Functional Skills Level 1 exams Passed for the year 2013/2014


ASDAN’s Personal Development Programmes offer imaginative ways of developing, recording and certificating a wide range of young people’s personal qualities, abilities and achievements, as well as introducing them to new activities and challenges. All the programmes link to nationally recognised qualifications. Students are required to plan and review their work at key points, explaining how they have developed their skills in six areas: Teamwork, Learning, Coping with problems, Use of Maths, Use of English and Use of IT.

Students select a number of challenges from the 13 modules that make up the Personal Development Programmes and then compile a portfolio of evidence to show what they have done. The module titles are:

  • Communication
  • The Community
  • Sport and Leisure
  • Home Management
  • The Environment
  • Number Handling
  • Health and Survival
  • World of Work
  • Science and Technology
  • The Wider World
  • Expressive Arts
  • Beliefs and Values
  • Combined Studies


We encourage all of our key stage 4 pupils to take GCSEs/iGCSEs in Years 10 and 11, but also provide other routes through education. Year 9 pupils will choose their GCSEs before entering Year 10. We offer a range of subjects, however these can be increased at any time due to pupil subject interest.

Individual subjects:

English: Our English syllabus is in line with the National curriculum. Key stage 3, students acquire vital skills to allow them to progress to either AQA iGCSE English, Functional skills level 1 or 2, or ASDAN Modular awards. Topics include, fiction, non-fiction and creative writing. Texts are sourced from both heritage and contemporary literature. The range of subject material allows for cross-curricular links with history, PSHE, Citizenship and provides the opportunity to gain insight into different cultures and understanding of historical context. As with all subjects we carefully map the progress of pupils allowing us to provide tailored learning programmes to meet the individual needs of our students, thus assisting them to fulfil their potential.


Maths: Students work in line with National Curriculum expectations at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. They are encouraged to work independently and as part of a team in developing their problem solving skills and also look to real life applications for the maths they are learning. In terms of qualifications, they can achieve Functional Skills level 1 and 2 and also GCSE maths, depending on their personal targets.


Science: Students study the three main disciplines (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) in line with the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3 and 4. The aim is to make the subject as practical as possible, including developing their investigative skills, to enable students to see the relevance of the theory that they are learning. Students also have the opportunity to study aspects of Environmental Science through field work. We provide GCSE science at Key Stage 4 and Environmental and Food science ASDAN options.

PSHE: We feel that all of our students should be armed with the knowledge to make informed decisions regarding their behaviours and relationships. There are multiple links with Citizenship in providing understanding of equality and diversity and respect for both self and others. Our Sex and relationship education is age appropriate and provides not only an understanding of biological process but also emotional and psychological motivations and impacts of sexualised behaviours. There is a focus on risk in relation to alcohol and substance misuse and CSE, ensuring that students have the necessary knowledge to protect themselves and others from harm. We provide help and advice to students on an individual basis as necessary and all students are aware of the available support both through PSHE lessons and school information posters.

Citizenship: Our citizenship programme for both Key Stage 3 and 4, is wide ranging and inline with the national curriculum. We aim to prepare students to become active citizens of democracy. Subject areas include: self and others, increasing awareness and acceptance of equality and diversity; Identity, focusing on nationality cultural identity, similarities and difference, Human rights, covering discrimination, legal standing and the right of the child. There is a strong focus on Britishness, responsibility, communication, participation and legality. We aim to Promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

Careers Education: We work closely with students, parents, carers and Careers South West to provide appropriate and specific careers advice to our Key Stage 4 pupils. We aim to provide all pupils with work placements thus providing experience in their chosen areas of employment. We also provide tailored assistance in completion of application forms, interview preparation and C.V writing. Key stage 4 pupils will undertake research projects regarding career opportunities and necessary education/academic attainment needed to reach their goals. We support our students every step of the way through transition to either further education or the workplace.

Modern Foreign Languages: Within our small school we offer access to modern foreign languages through themed days. Our two main taught languages are Spanish and Italian. We explore the different countries that have adopted (and adapted) these two languages and the cultures that surround them.

RE: Religious Studies is not taught as an explicit subject, but is embedded in Citizenship, Current affairs and PSHE. These subjects embrace faiths and beliefs of differing cultures and how they change and progress over time. We feel this is an intrinsic part of understanding and excepting equality and diversity within our society. We also investigate different cultures and beliefs during collapsed timetable activities.

DT: At School all students follow the requirements of the National Curriculum in Design and Technology. We offer design and make projects in a range of materials including Food, Resitant Materials and Textiles, we balance the use of new technologies with traditional skills.

Art: Our art curriculum includes use of different mediums, understanding and appreciation of artists from different cultures and historical periods. We consider art to provide a creative outlet for our pupils. This allows for development of thinking and creative skills together with building self-confidence and self -expression. The benefits of art and creative expression are well known and can lead to improved problem solving skills and increased concentration. Art is enjoyed by all of our pupils and we offer engaging and challenging projects in which all can achieve.

PE: The principle aims of physical education in School are to help the children enjoy and understand the importance of physical activity. We also promote an awareness of health and strive to develop an understanding of the importance of exercise in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. All children in the school are offered a minimum of 2 lessons of  PE and the option of  outdoor education for full time pupils.

Term Dates

Term Dates 2016 – 2017

Summer 2

5th June 2017 – 21st July 2017 (37 days)

24th July Staff inset (1 day)

Total educational term days 195

Staff inset days 5

Term Dates 2017 – 2018

Autumn 1

5th September 2017 – 20th October 2017 (35 days)

INSET 1st & 4th September

Autumn 2

30th October 2017 – 19th December 2017 (37 days)

Spring 1

4th January 2018 – 9th February 2018 (27 days)

Spring 2

19th February 2018 – 25th March 2018 (25 days)

INSET 19TH February

Summer 1

9th April 2018 – 25th May 2018 (34 days)

7th May Bank Holiday

Summer 2

4th June 2018 – 24th July 2018 (37 days)


Total educational term days 195
Staff inset days 5


Woodspring School
Ebdon Lane, Bourton
Wick St, Lawrence
Weston-super-mare, BS22 7YA

Gareth Thomas, Head of School: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 01934 707578
Kiks Sheppard, Head of Education: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 07584 671240
Christine Cameron, Chair of Governors: 01452 399190