We are delighted that you are interested or have chosen Oak Grove College for your young person. Here you find some useful information if you are beginning your search or have a place confirmed.


Oak Grove College is a Generic Special School for 11-16 years old and Complex Needs College for 16-19 years old, which means we can make provision for a wide range of learning needs and disabilities, however all students attending Oak Grove College must have an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP), maintained by their local authority.

West Sussex County Council’s Special Educational Needs Assessment Team (SENAT) makes final decisions on placing students at Oak Grove College, in consultation with the college and families.

The Process:

Parents and carers wishing their young person to attend Oak Grove College should make their preferences known to the WSCC SENAT Team, and in most cases to their existing school’s SENCo, if their young person is already attending another setting.

SENAT then consult with us, and other possible settings, sharing paperwork, Annual Reviews, EHCPs and other information to help establish if we can meet a young person’s needs. In some circumstances, we sometimes visit prospective students in their settings as well, though not in every case.

Oak Grove College then responds to each consultation along 3 broad lines:

  1. Can we meet needs, as described in the EHCP, and offer suitable provision?
  2. Can we offer a meaningful peer group, of students of a similar age, and with similar developmental, verbal, social and academic levels?
  3. Can we physically accommodate the young person in the college, with an available space in an appropriate class?

Class Sizes and structure:

Our class sizes vary depending on the needs of the students therein; some students needing higher levels of support and smaller groupings, some benefiting from opportunities to work in larger groups, with more independence. We always aim to keep our class sizes small and our staffing ratio high, to ensure best practice SEN provision. For this reason, despite the high demand for places at Oak Grove College, we cannot always accommodate every young person whose family wishes them to come to us. We are always mindful and careful to ensure that class sizes remain at acceptable levels. The physical size of the classroom also limits the number of young adults we can fit and we will always aim to protect our students from the risk of class sizes growing beyond a reasonable capacity for them to thrive.

All our students have a learning disability, and associated developmental delay. A large proportion of our student population has ASCs (Autism Spectrum Conditions), and we can support a wide range of learning disabilities (moderate, severe, profound and multiple), as well as speech and language, social communication and sensory processing disorders. With the assistance of our Special School nursing team we also support some complex medical and physical needs, though students with these needs will also have a learning disability or delay as well.

The majority of our students are working significantly below age-expectation in a range of developmental areas. We recognise that there is a need for provision in the local area for students who are functioning cognitively at age-expectation, but who have social and emotional difficulties, anxiety, social skills deficits or behavioural difficulties. We are not generally able to accommodate these students, as there is a high likelihood that they could be isolated in our setting, without a meaningful peer-group operating at their social, verbal, developmental and academic level. Equally, whilst we can accommodate and support students who present with challenging behaviours associated with their learning disability, we are not a specialist provision for social, emotional and behavioural conditions, and cannot accommodate students if this is their main category of need.

The majority of our new students join us at the start of the year, in the Autumn Term. There are occasions when spaces open up throughout the year, and it is possible for students to be allocated these mid-way through the year, in accordance with agreement from the WSCC SENAT Team.

Our admissions process runs through the year, and we offer prospective families the chance to visit Oak Grove College, see our provision and ask questions, with tours running throughout the year.

If you would like to have a tour, please contact Dee Griffiths – to book a space.

We look forward to meeting you and to showing you our college.

KS2-KS3 Transition

During the summer term, in consultation with primary schools, visits are made from and to Oak Grove to meet and spend some time with students. This includes some lessons, transitions to and from lessons and breaktimes.

When Year 7 tutors have been announced they also visit their new class members in their primary school as well as holding meetings for the student and their families in school to share any important information and concerns.

Each student is considered carefully and where appropriate a bespoke transition plan is made to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.

Letters are sent to adults and adapted for students, so everyone feels part of transition. We send out data and information collection sheets at the start of the summer term so that we are able to communicate fully with our new cohort.

West Sussex County Council have worked in conjunction with schools to produce a section on The Local Offer all about how to support with transition.

Transition to secondary school | Tools for schools (


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