Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a mainstream or special school?

We are an Independent Special School. We are an alternative and nurturing learning environment for children who have been failed by mainstream and whose particular needs are difficult to meet in a conventional school setting. We are registered with the DfE and inspected by ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate).

Does that mean your school is full of badly behaved children who have been expelled from school?

No – not at all! Our children are all different and have had different school experiences. What they all share, however is that they were unable to learn effectively or thrive in their previous schools. They may have been bullied, have specific learning difficulties like Dyslexia or Dyscalculia, have Attachment-related difficulties, sensory integration issues or have social & emotional problems which meant they couldn’t cope with their school. We do not cater for children who exhibit high levels of aggressive, violent or sexualised behaviour.

Are you a Free School?

No. We are a charitable (not for profit) independent school. That means we are a fee-paying establishment and are independent of Government or Local Authority control and funding. We are also a member of the Independent Schools Association.

What do fees cover?

Aside from all books, textbooks and learning materials, we provide an educational experience that is different from and additional to that of other schools. We have very small class sizes with one Qualified Teacher and one TA in each. All of our children have their own Key Worker and our Educational Psychologist visits the children weekly. Most children have regular 1-1 support for literacy and numeracy and dependent on the needs of the child may have individual or group Occupational Therapy, Speech & Language Therapy or Play Therapy. We have Outdoor Learning and Duke of Edinburgh Awards programmes and lots of trips and activities with visiting specialists including yoga, boxing, climbing, orienteering, art, music etc.

Does my child need an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) to come to Beech Lodge?

No, but the majority of our pupils have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and are placed and funded by their LEA's. We provide bursaries and financial assistance to families who self fund.

Will my Local Education Authority pay the school fees?

We work with over 10 Local Education Authorities that place and fund pupils at the school including RBWM, Buckinghamshire, Slough, Wokingham and Oxfordshire. Lots of our pupils are funded by their LEA but it really depends on the policy of your LEA and you would have to check first. To be funded your child would need to have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), be registered with us, have been through our admissions process and offered a place at the school.

Do you follow the National Curriculum?

Yes. However, it has been enhanced and adapted to have an emphasis on children developing good skills in literacy and numeracy with cross-curricular links across subjects. Constructive use is made of IT and the natural environment.

Do your pupils take GCSE’s or equivalent qualifications?

Yes. All children have the opportunity to study for GCSE’s or equivalent qualifications (ASDAN’s / AQA’s etc) plus vocational qualifications. They study over a three year, rather than two year period to ensure that they are truly ready to sit the exams.

Where will the children go after Beech Lodge?

Our ultimate goal is to prepare our children for the next stage in life and to be effective members of society. That may mean a place at college, a return to mainstream education, the workplace or an apprenticeship. Our links with the neighbouring 6th Form College – BCA means we anticipate the majority of our children will go on there to study for a vocational qualification or apprenticeship.

My child has a diagnosis of ASD – would you consider her?

Yes. We are a fully inclusive school and will consider all children who are failing to reach their potential at their current school. However, we are not an autistic-specific school and depending on your child’s needs it may be that we are unable to provide the particular educational tools and expertise that would maximise her learning potential as well as other schools, do who specialise in ASD.

Does Beech Lodge have an area of expertise?

What Beech Lodge excels at is working with children who require a lot of nurturing, over-learning and patience to unlock their potential. Children with social & emotional difficulties, specific learning difficulties, sensory integration difficulties, attachment and trauma-related difficulties, and those who are looked after or previously looked after children are all areas of considerable strength and knowledge.

Lionheart is our dedicated specialist provision for children with Dyslexia and related learning differences.

My child has continual 1-1 support at his current school – will he get it at Beech Lodge?

No. Nearly all of our children have had continual 1-1 support at their previous schools and it has been because they were falling behind in class. Our children are placed in very small classes where they are all working at the same or very similar levels to each other. It is important that our children work together in small groups as it facilitates social and peer-group interaction as well as increased confidence and self esteem essential for developing the whole child.

What are your future plans for growth?

We will always be a small school with a high teacher/pupil ratio as that is what makes the learning experience at Beech Lodge so successful. We anticipate when full being around 100 children. The school has already exceeded all of our expectations in terms of interest from parents, educationalists and LEA’s – there is clearly a need for alternative schools like Beech Lodge. Once we are full and bursting at the seams maybe we will consider opening more schools in other parts of the country!