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  • Woodlands School
    Woodview Learning Community
    Picklecombe Drive
    Off Tamerton Foliot Road
    PL6 5ES
  • Head: Mrs Andrea Hemmens
  • T 01752 300101
  • F 01752 300 102
  • E [email protected]
  • W
  • A state special school for boys and girls aged from 2 to 19 with complex physical and sensory difficulties and medical needs.
  • Read about the best schools in Devon
  • Boarding: No
  • Local authority: Plymouth
  • Pupils: 85
  • Religion: Does not apply
  • Open days: We offer tours to parents who make contact after checking that their visit will be relevant. Prospective families should contact the school office to make an enquiry.
  • Review: View The Good Schools Guide Review
  • Ofsted:
    • Latest Overall effectiveness Good 1
      • Effectiveness of leadership and management Good 2
    • 1 Short inspection 8th February 2023
    • 2 Full inspection 3rd December 2013

    Short inspection reports only give an overall grade; you have to read the report itself to gauge whether the detailed grading from the earlier full inspection still stands.

  • Previous Ofsted grade: Good on 1st December 2010
  • Ofsted report: View the Ofsted report

What says..

On our visit we couldn’t help but smile; the children at Woodlands are happy. There was a real sense of calm, but also fun – what better way for a class to go to the library than on the ‘library train’? We watched one class set off with a choooochoooo! Music is used as a learning tool in most classes using sound beams and resonance boards. These are also used in assemblies, which are fully inclusive, a real challenge, but with signing and excellent sensory planning, it is achieved daily. ‘We have a completely different child. She was…

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Other features

All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.


Unusual sports



What The Good Schools Guide says


Since 2007, Andrea Hemmens. Joined Woodlands in 2004 as an IT teacher before taking on the senior teacher role, and then head teacher post. Originally from Scotland, Andrea grew up in Birmingham and has gradually worked her way down to the south west. Previously at Mill Ford School, Plymouth for 11 years, and before that at Warleigh Manor Behaviour Support School, Bath. Named as one of the top 10 ‘coolest headteachers’ in the Plymouth local paper, Andrea always knew she wanted to teach in special schools, never mainstream. She was one of the last to take a teaching degree course specifically in ‘teaching children with severe learning difficulties’ at the then Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of the West of England). She has never looked back. She loves the challenge, the diversity, and the...

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Please note: Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Who came from where

Who goes where

Special Education Needs

We are a foundation school, offering education for 86 children between the ages of 2 and 19 years with complex physical and sensory difficulties. Many pupils also have medical needs and other difficulties that may affect their learning. Our school is a resource for the whole of the South West peninsula; our pupils come from Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall to learn. Children’s health is supported by the Specialist Community Nursing team and a range of staff from the NHS, Childrens’ Integrated Disability Team, Livewell South West and staff from neighbouring authorities. Our staff work closely with therapists to get the best outcome for individual pupils. We provide a range of opportunities for very young children and their parents or carers to come into the school, use the facilities and share their experiences with other people. We offer an inclusive service to our families; providing support for more than a child’s learning and development. We guide families through various support assessment processes. Our Family Team offers help in a variety of ways; improving communication, guiding families to services, support and opportunities. Our assessment nursery caters for children from the age of two, to attend sessions to develop their skills, some in readiness for inclusion and possible mainstream education. Our teaching provision is dynamic and all pupils have individual learning programmes which is based upon their Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). We promote high quality practice in supporting those with physical difficulties in schools across Plymouth through our successful Outreach Team. Our commitment to having high expectations for every child, an enabling curriculum and a strong emphasis on independence and self-actualisation, ensures our pupils leave school not only with a range of qualifications but also the skills for a fulfilling life. A similar approach is taken for staff: we have Investors in People status and a responsive training programme which demonstrates our commitment to developing staff skills supporting pupils’ experiences at school.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment Y
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty Y
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment Y
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability Y
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty Y
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty Y
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment Y

Interpreting catchment maps

The maps show in colour where the pupils at a school came from*. Red = most pupils to Blue = fewest.

Where the map is not coloured we have no record in the previous three years of any pupils being admitted from that location based on the options chosen.

For help and explanation of our catchment maps see: Catchment maps explained

Further reading

If there are more applicants to a school than it has places for, who gets in is determined by which applicants best fulfil the admissions criteria.

Admissions criteria are often complicated, and may change from year to year. The best source of information is usually the relevant local authority website, but once you have set your sights on a school it is a good idea to ask them how they see things panning out for the year that you are interested in.

Many schools admit children based on distance from the school or a fixed catchment area. For such schools, the cut-off distance will vary from year to year, especially if the school give priority to siblings, and the pattern will be of a central core with outliers (who will mostly be siblings). Schools that admit on the basis of academic or religious selection will have a much more scattered pattern.

*The coloured areas outlined in black are Census Output Areas. These are made up of a group of neighbouring postcodes, which accounts for their odd shapes. These provide an indication, but not a precise map, of the school’s catchment: always refer to local authority and school websites for precise information.

The 'hotter' the colour the more children have been admitted.

Children get into the school from here:

most years
quite often
sometimes, but not in this year

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