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Courtlands School

Courtlands Special School Academy caters for primary aged children who have Moderate Learning Difficulties, Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH), and other complex needs. Within this there is a wide range of needs, such as children with mild medical issues, developmental disorders such as ADHD and Dyspraxia, Autism and speech and language difficulties.

Contacts details

Address:Courtlands Special School
Widey Lane
Telephone number: 01752 776848
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Courtlands is committed to providing our children with an outstanding educational experience regardless of their individual learning, behavioural, development or social challenges. We will provide a sanctuary in which individuality, independence and the joy of learning are celebrated. Learning the skills for a happy and prosperous life will be at the heart of all we do. We will teach our children the value of the relationships between all members of the school family, the wider community and our environment and provide them with a truly special curriculum. We will support all our children to build bridges over any barriers, and overcome their difficulties in learning through innovation and application of industry best practice. 

When we are assessing a pupil for a place at Courtlands, we look first for evidence from the following criteria: 


All pupils will have an Education, Health and Care Plan. We can take requests for EHCP assessment places form the Local Authority in exceptional circumstances.  

Primary Need/Diagnosis

Identified Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs and Moderate Learning Difficulties, including associated Communication and Interaction needs.  

Cognition and earning

  • Our pupils have a moderate learning difficulty which means that they will be working well below related expectations.  
  • Our pupils require significant strategies, high levels of additional adult support and personalised scaffolding to access independent learning.   

Communication and Interaction

  • The communication leaves of our pupils vary. Some of our pupils are pre-verbal, but many can communicate verbally in ways that are appropriate to their developmental age.  
  • Our pupils require support with receptive language.  
  • Our pupils require support with social interaction.   
  • Our pupils, with access to appropriate information and strategies, aspire to be an independent member of society.  
  • Our pupils have sensory processing need(s) that can only be met with specialist adaptation or resourcing.   

Physical and Sensory

  • Our pupils are mostly independent regarding their intimate and personal care. Some of our pupils require support with this which we can cater for alongside teaching the necessary knowledge and skills to eventually become independent.  
  • Some of our pupils have mild hearing or sight impairments, or mild physical needs, but this is not the main reason for their specialist provision.  

Social, Emotional and Mental Health

  • Our pupils can regulate themselves in some structured situations with significant effort or adult support. 
  • Our pupils can be enabled to understands manage their emotions in line with their developmental needs, to maintain socially appropriate behaviour communication in a range of situations and settings.   

This is not an exhaustive or fully comprehensive list but communicates the focus of our school setting: 

  • We educate primary aged children (4-11) with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs, Cognition and Learning needs and moderate learning difficulties.  
  • We follow the EYFS curriculum and a bespoke curriculum rooted in the national curriculum. 
  • We teach students who are on a pathway to a specialist secondary provision or in some cases, a mainstream provision with additional support.  
  • We offer a blended academic and wellbeing curriculum personalised to the needs of each child, within the context of their developmental and chronological age.   
  • We educate pupils in groups that are typically 6-10 with a minimum adult:pupil ratio of 1:4.  
  • We make all possible adjustments to our physical environment and learning resources to meet the needs of students to access and achieve within their EHCP Outcomes.  

A full-time place at Courtlands will provide

  • A school day from 9am to 3.10pm that provides a broad and balanced range of social, academic and personal development opportunities to stretch, challenge and engage students with a range of educational ability, aptitude, needs and areas of interest.  
  • Students are taught in groups of between 6 to 10 based upon their learning needs, social interaction skills, SEMH needs and EHCP needs. Each group will have a minimum adult/student ratio of 1:4.  
  • A class timetable personalised to enable access to sensory breaks and additional support relevant to individual needs as required.  
  • An outdoor environment that enables development of motor and social skills. 
  • High expectations regarding learning and social behaviour, communication and interaction with a focus on developing skills and strategies to thrive independently in a real-world setting.  
  • A regular and consistent curriculum focused on wellbeing, physical and mental health, relationships, safety and citizenship.  
  • Targeted provision to support pupils throughout their time at Courtlands including access to further support when needed, such as: Occupational Therapy, Play Therapy, Speech and Language and Educational Psychology support.   
  • A holistic learning schemata rooted in the national curriculum, modified to meet the needs of the Courtlands pupils.  
  • A transition package when joining Courtlands and when moving on to their next provision.  
  • A blended academic and therapeutic curriculum tailored to the needs of each pupil to include  
  • A total communication approach, including consistent use of visuals throughout the school. 
  • A therapeutic environment and resources with all staff trained in de-escalation and specialist support strategies for students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs.  
  • All possible adjustments to our physical environment and resources to meet the needs of pupils.  
  • If eligible for school transport, this will be provided by the local authority you reside in.  

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All the children who attend Courtlands have special educational needs and have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). If a parent thinks that their child has a further additional need or their current needs need reviewing, then they should contact the class teacher in the first instance who is responsible for SEND provision in their class. Following this, a member of the school's SEND team will support if necessary and work as a team to address and support any additional needs that have been identified. This may involve seeking guidance from outside agencies. Any new information received from doctors or other agencies will be shared with relevant staff and added to the individual child's provision.

Plymouth uses an orange 'Local Offer icon' to show services that define themselves as suitable for children and young people with SEND. These are part of Plymouth's SEND Local Offer. We recommend that you contact the service provider to make sure the service is suitable for your child or young person.

Age range
  • Early Years - 0 to 5 years
  • Primary - 5 to 11 years

  • Based: Plymouth
    Childcare Type:
    • School
    Age ranges:
    • Special needs school - 3 to 19 years
    Wheelchair access information: Yes
    Dietary needs information: Yes
    Special needs information: Yes

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