How is Oakleigh structured?

Oakleigh School and the Early Years Centre consists of 4 sections:

  • Pre School Teaching Team
  • Pre School Inclusion Team
  • Acorn Assessment and Early Intervention Centre
  • Oakleigh School

Oakleigh is commissioned by Barnet's Children's Service to lead and manage the work of the Pre-school Teaching Team and The Pre-school Inclusion Team, which provide early intervention to children from birth to 5 years old, support to their families and early years settings. Oakleigh School and Acorn Assessment and Early Intervention Centre provide for pupils that have severe and complex learning difficulties in Oakleigh, and a wide range of learning difficulties in Acorn.

For more information on our Early Years Centre see:

Acorn has 6 classes (2 on the Oakleigh School site and 4 on the Colindale School site). Oakleigh School has 12 classes organised into Early Years, and Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 class groups. We try our best to keep children within their Key stages although in exceptional circumstances this may not be possible.

For a full overview of how Oakleigh is structured please download and view:

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How are the children organised?

We try to be extremely flexible here, to make sure that the needs of the children currently in school are always best met in terms of curriculum and peer group.


Whilst the children are grouped in classes as described, it does not end there. The timetables within each department are organised to enable flexibility in teaching.

If children have specific needs that might be best met within another class grouping for some sessions, this will be facilitated.

What are the staff ratios?

Each class has a full time equivalent of six to nine children, with one teacher and two learning support assistants.

Additional assistants are employed in all classes to help support individual children for specific activities when more help is needed.

The Assistant Heads and Support Teachers have teaching roles in school, and the many students and volunteers we have, together with the other professionals in the team, help give the children the attention they need.

How is the day structured?

Children arrive in school at 9.10 am, and at 3.20 pm they are either collected or put on the buses to go home.

Each class has its own timetable, which covers all the curriculum areas. A copy is sent home to parents/carers with sessions particular to an individual child.

Lunchtime for children starts at midday, and is part of the teaching day. It is usually over by 12.45 pm when the children will have some structured play time and access to lunchtime clubs outside if appropriate. The afternoon starts again at 1.30 pm.

What about toilet training?

This is an important area of our work. Children are taken to the toilet as and when they need to, and they are quietly withdrawn from the classroom. Independent children go when they ask, but, for example, those on a toilet training programme might be taken very frequently and there are many variations in between.

How many teaching hours in the week?

Children at Oakleigh receive over 25½ hours teaching a week, and this does not count registration, collective worship, the informal teaching that goes on during their morning break and after-lunch play sessions.

Inclusion and Outreach

Opportunities for children are made throughout the school day to ensure that they are part of the whole school community. Our links with other schools (see later) enable them to be part of the wider community. Oakleigh is seen by the London Borough of Barnet as part of the continuum of provision for children with special needs, and so uses the skills and expertise of the staff to help train staff in mainstream schools support their children with special needs as part of our Outreach role.

Links with other schools

We have strong inclusion links with local nurseries and mainstream schools in our Learning Network. Some of our children go with our staff to join in sessions, and their children come to Oakleigh to work with ours. We plan to give every child at Oakleigh some opportunities to have inclusion with their mainstream peers. We also have links with other special schools; in particular, Northway School, for primary aged children with moderate learning difficulties, and Mapledown School. Mapledown is Barnet’s secondary school for children with severe learning difficulties and the majority of our children transfer there at the age of eleven.

The Educational Psychologist

There will already have been an Educational Psychologist (EP) closely involved with your child. Oakleigh has its own EP who works with school staff and parents/carers in various ways. For example, the EP contributes to the Statementing process, the Annual Reviews and re-assessments; and can also help parents / carers with various problems at home such as poor sleeping patterns.

The Educational Psychologist can be contacted either through school, or on 020 8359 2000.

Students, visitors and volunteers

We often have students in Oakleigh to help them gain relevant experience for whatever course they are following. All students are given an induction talk and are given a set of guidelines to follow. They are monitored by their college/school and are also assigned a school mentor. Students are always under the direction of our school staff.

We have frequent visitors who make an appointment to see Oakleigh at work. They are shown around by a member of staff. We feel that it is part of our community role to show others the work we do with our children and how capable they are, and to help them become more understanding and realistic in their expectations of people with special needs.

We have a band of volunteers who come into school regularly at specific times. These people are much needed, but are never given sole responsibility for a child. All volunteers are given an induction talk and visit by the one of the Assistant Heads, and are given a set of guidelines to follow. If you or anyone you know would like to be a volunteer, even for just an hour a week, we’d be delighted; just let us know.

Play, Sport and Recreation

Play, Sport and Recreation

Play is seen as an important part of our curriculum and is encouraged both formally (during PE sessions) and informally (at playtimes). Children are encouraged to learn the pre-requisites for sporting activities such as co-operation, hand/foot/eye co-ordination, and games with simple rules such as short tennis or quick cricket. We have extensive grounds which are used for this purpose. Oakleigh has close links with the Barnet Sports Partnership, which keeps us informed of all local events that children with special needs can successfully participate in. Tottenham Hotspurs and Barnet Sports Development coaches sometimes work with groups of pupils. We represent Barnet at the London Youth Games in the Boccia Tournament (simlar to Bowls). We have achieved National Healthy Schools status.

Dinnertime and After School Clubs

All the pupils have opportunities to attend our dinner time clubs, and currently one after school club per week (3.30pm to 5pm). They have opportunities for hydrotherapy, arts and crafts, soft play, football, multi sports, cricket, roller skating and dance.

Oakleigh Opportunities for Play Scheme (OOPS)

OOPS is run by a separate management committee, but uses the school facilities and many of the staff. OOPS provides a playscheme during all the main school holidays, usually for approximately 20 days over the year. You will receive booking forms home whenever a playscheme is operating – it is very popular so send back your forms promptly.