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Oakwood School & Assessment Centre, Belfast

About Us


Oakwood School and Assessment Centre is a controlled special school, owned and maintained by the Education Authority, Belfast Region.  It admits boys and girls aged from 3-8 years who may have severe learning difficulties.

At Oakwood School we aim to provide for our pupils a happy, caring, stable environment where each child will have the opportunity to develop all their intelligences, intellectually, emotionally and physically.

We believe that well-planned and well-resourced activities, which allow for progression in a child’s thinking and understanding, can prepare children for their future lives. It is very important that there is creation and flexibility to help develop a learning environment in which the child will actively pursue their interests with the support and guidance of adults.

We encourage our pupils to develop body awareness through sensory stimuli and explore the immediate environment. The pupils all develop a range of play/leisure skills and learn to work with others. We feel it is important that our pupils learn to express themselves verbally or non-verbally and they are taught to explore language freely.

We encourage the pupils to explore their feelings and find out about themselves; develop co-operation, care, consideration and control. Our pupils are taught to appreciate the value of books, begin to solve problems, exercise choice and make decisions, develop a range of motor skills and explore fantasy worlds of their own creation

At Oakwood, we believe that:-

  • all pupils have an innate ability to learn, we aim to nurture and develop this ability.
  • pupils have differing learning styles and processes and that teachers need to be aware of and tailor their teaching to meet individual needs.
  • pupils learn at differing rates and so teaching and programmes needs to be individualised.
  • pupils learn best when they experience success.
  • pupils learn best when they are safe, secure and happy in their surroundings and with their teachers.
  • pupils need to develop all of their 10 intelligences and that our teaching needs to give equal value to these in order to develop the whole child.
  • each child is special and that human relationships are the foundations for all learning and teaching.

In order to provide an environment where quality teaching and learning experiences are nurtured we adopt teaching styles that are stimulating, appropriate and relevant and holistic

We teach the pupils through a variety of methods including whole class teaching, group teaching, 1:1, structured teaching, TEACCH, PEC’s, multi-disciplinary and sensory. We also offer opportunities for our pupils to learn in different ways.

These include:

  • play based learning;
  • investigation and problem solving;
  • research and finding out;
  • group work
  • pair work;
  • whole class work;
  • independent work;
  • questioning;
  • use of the computer;
  • educational outings;
  • creative activities;
  • watching/responding to multimedia productions;
  • role playing
  • designing and making things;
  • participation in physical activity;
  • reflecting on what has been learned

Once a child starts Oakwood they become as part of the Oakwood ‘family’ and each child is valued as an individual.  Oakwood staff try at all times to see the positive, not the negative, in any situation and praise and reward all achievement no matter how small and, by so doing, help to build positive attitudes towards school and learning in general. With this at the forefront of our practice we aim to provide a school which links parental expectations with both realism and understanding and to provide high quality education to each and every child according to their unique ability.