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Fernbrook College

Fernbrook College is committed to empowering young people.  We work hard to enable our students to make better choices to support their education and life chances. We provide the opportunity to reset, rebuild and restart a young person’s journey in their education.  We aim to provide them with the skills to be prepared for the challenges they will face and move on to successful destinations.

We work proactively with the local secondary schools to offer early intervention for young people who are finding navigating a large mainstream setting challenging.  We have different packages available for each KS and different referral routes.  This ranges from a tailored short term placement with the goal of re-integrating back to their mainstream school to a longer term solution that then leads on to a move to a new school or college placement.

Fernbrook staff set high expectations for personal development and learning. We promote a culture of high aspiration that is pivotal to the progress and achievement of our young people.  At Fernbrook we aim to work collaboratively with students, parents and carers to meet the needs of our learners, whether this is a curriculum pathway that leads to 5+ GCSEs, a vocational learning experience or a more bespoke offer that is focused purely on a young person’s personal development.

We recognise there may be a necessity to support our students, on what can be an emotional journey. We have trained and dedicated staff to support, mentor and develop a young person’s emotional literacy and maturity through our ELSA and THRIVE programmes. Amongst the special services we employ at Fernbrook we have Therapeutic Arts, Speech and Language therapist and specialist support assistants.

We work hard to live by our EOTAS vision, mission and values.  We believe in young people and strive to build individual confidence so they can believe in themselves. If you would like to arrange a visit to Fernbrook, please contact our central office.


Fernbrook Packages

Fernbrook admissions are through 3 routes.  A termly respite package, a CARE place (child at risk of exclusion) or following a permanently exclusion (PEX) from their mainstream school.  Our aim is to provide schools with early intervention and alternatives to avoid permanent exclusion at all costs.


KS3 Respite package


Schools can request a place in week 4 of each term.  There will be 5 places available each term.  These students will form part of a bespoke group and begin at the start of a term.  They will be placed on a programme that explores there SLCN, emotional literacy and SEN needs.  This has been written by educational psychologists and our speech and language therapists.  Their will be an induction assessment prior to entry, a review meeting at week 2 and a big picture review at the end of the term.  Students will return to school with a passport that identifies communication needs and strategies and a pupil profile outlining other learning needs, early help and behaviour strategies.  The end of the programme will close with a big picture meeting, outlining next steps to support the young person.  This might include a recommendation for a young person to convert to a longer term CARE placement.


CARE place

Schools can refer to EOTAS to request a CARE place – a ”child at risk of exclusion”.  This is a longer term placement where it is considered a young person will need more intervention and support than a 6-week Respite place offers.  It offers the next step for early intervention and is an alternative to a permeant exclusion. The CARE placement can only be offered with agreement from the parent/carer and virtual school for CLA (Children Looked After). They would be offered a full time EOTAS place with the recommendation that in the future a managed move to a new school or application made for a statutory needs assessment.  


KS4 Alternative Curriculum


This transition and admission process for a long term KS4 placement would be the same as that for KS3.  All KS4 students who come through panel will be considered for a Fernbrook package or an Oakfield place dependent on the needs of the young person. There are three distinct pathways.  Students will be dual registered, but can be converted on to EOTAS roll if this is agreed by EOTAS, the parent/carer, referring school/virtual school and is in the best interest of the young person. 


1 – 5+GCSE (English and Maths – 3 options)

2 – 4+GCSE (English and Maths – 2 options + vocational pathway)

3 – Oakfield project place with an emphasis on vocational options, youth work and personal development, small group or 1:1 tuition.


Oakfield is our KS4 alternative curriculum pathway. It offers a curriculum that places emphasis on vocational options and youth work as well as access to qualifications in English and Maths.  A school can request an Oakfield place through the panel.  A package will be agreed depending on the needs of the young person and the school. 



Statutory place – Permanent exclusion

The local authority is legally responsible to ensure education following any permanent exclusion within 6 days.  Swindon local authority commission places through EOTAS in order to meet this duty.   If a young person is permanently excluded the exclusion officer contacts the admissions team to arrange a meeting so that the excluded pupil can begin their induction within the prescribed six days.


Every effort is made to provide full time education within six days from the exclusion.  This will be dependent on induction and information transfer regarding students’ needs and safeguarding information. In some cases, a student will be recommended for a fast track reintegration to a new school. This will then go to the FAP panel to be agreed. If this is not possible, the student will be admitted to EOTAS.