Rachel Preston / Acorn Assistant Head

Acorn Assessment Centre

The Acorn Centre is based on two sites; one at Queenswell Infants School in Whetstone and one at Colindale Primary School. Acorn comes under the management of Oakleigh School & Early Years Intervention Centre.

The Acorn Assessment Centre caters for pre-school children who have a wide range of Special Educational Needs / Disabilities (SEND). These include children with specific medical conditions, physical disabilities, social and communication disorders, sensory impairments, autism spectrum conditions and/or other learning difficulties.

The children’s needs are assessed over a period of time, whilst also receiving multi-disciplinary intervention to help them make progress and achieve their potential.  The on-going assessment informs the Statutory Assessment process if necessary and helps determine the resources the children will need in their next educational placement.

The children follow the Early Years Foundation Curriculum which is broken down and adapted to suit their individual learning needs. Alongside this the staff implement targets given by the Speech and Language Therapist, Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist who work alongside Acorn staff at different times across the week. 

Parents are involved in setting and working on targets and outcomes with the staff. Each child has a Personal Learning Plan, which is formulated collaboratively with families and professionals; this is reviewed and updated at three monthly intervals, or in line with the Educational, Health and Care Plan assessment process.

We have input from a Drama and Movement Therapist and/or a Music Therapist who are able to work with individual children or facilitate parent /child sessions following the acceptance of a referral to the service. In addition to this children will have the opportunity to access either a hydro-therapy pool based at Oakleigh School or an offsite swim at a local pool once a week, soft play area and opportunities for a sensory environment.

We also have a Family Support Worker who is able to offer home visits to Acorn families to help and advise parents and carers about any issues the families may have. Class teachers, along with the support of the Assistant Head, will be keyworkers for the children on the Early Support Programme, if their families wish.

Children who come to Acorn have the opportunity to attend five days a week for 3 hour sessions (either in the morning or the afternoon), making up 15 hours of nursery entitlement. Due to high demand for places at Acorn, we encourage children to attend all 5 sessions. We will take into account individual family circumstances however; the expectation is that each child attends for a minimum of 3 sessions a week.

Parents/Carers are encouraged to visit the Acorn Assessment Centre closest to their home if the professionals involved with their child feel this may be a suitable pre-school placement. Referrals to Acorn usually come via early years professionals. Admissions are discussed at the Acorn admissions panel which is held in the Spring term each year.

Acorn will also offer support to families through the delivery of workshops throughout the year. These workshops will focus on different areas of learning and development and will be developed in response to need identified by parents/carers. They may include 'communication including behaviour', 'toilet training', 'sensory processing', ‘a session led by our Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist' and 'sleep'.

For further information regarding the Acorn Assessment Centre, please contact Rachel Preston, Assistant Head, on 020 8205 6393 (Acorn Colindale Office), 020 8445 2818 (Acorn Queenswell Office) or 07827 993154.

Acorn Admissions Policy - September 2020