I had been looking for schools that could meet my son’s needs and I was starting to wonder what I would do as the only suitable schools were already full. I was told about a new school that was opening in Birmingham called Arc Oakbridge School.
We met with the head teacher Phil before even seeing the school and that's when I knew this was going to be the right place, his compassion and dedication shone through.
Walking in the door is when I knew I had done the right thing. You totally forget where you are. The school is small and ideal for children on the autistic spectrum and they even have a dog called Edie, who is always happy to greet visitors and loves a fuss.
Edie has been a key part in helping my son and she even came for the tour with us. Each room is designed with low arousal in mind. No busy over stimulating walls, quiet areas for the children and individual work stations.
There is a small outdoor area that the children can access and we were told about the ideas and plans and design this with the young people they have of things to do with this space. There is going to be a horticulture area where the young people can grow fruits and vegetables which can be used to produce fresh and healthy meals throughout the week.
On the first day of my son's transition he went out to the outdoor area with Edie the dog and ran around, he looked like he didn't have a care in the world! I couldn't be happier with the setting and neither could my son.
My son has days where he still gets anxious about going in to school but all the staff at Arc Oakbridge are fantastic and support him to maintain a “normal” academic day but at the same time constantly easing his concerns and worries.
All the staff, not just the teachers, but the whole team are heavily involved and they help my son out whenever he needs it which is lovely. My son loves the school and he wants to do well, which for me is something I didn't expect from him. The setting is completely different to his previous school but in a wonderful and positive way.
I would highly recommend this school, in fact I have already have and will continue to do so.