Oakwood Children’s Home

Located in Durham, Oakwood Children's Home provides a homely, nurturing environment for up to seven young people to grow and develop to become independent individuals with ambition and drive. With the support and guidance from an experienced staff team, our young people dream big and reach milestones that help them to grow, learn and achieve.

We provide a stable, holistic and nurturing home environment for our young people. Our aim is to help, support and encourage young people to maximise their potential through our dedicated staff team who provide support and guidance to each individual, with extra input and support from our psychologists and therapists that attend the home on a regular basis.

Our integrated therapeutic approach allows young people to access education onsite at Oakwood Learning Centre, where a small group of young people access a rich and diverse curriculum that over time helps to develop the whole person.

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Welcome from the Home Manager

Hello and welcome to Oakwood. Here we have a friendly and positive team that work very hard to make your time with us is as fun and happy as possible, while also helping you to learn and develop new skills that will enable you to become the best that you can be.

As a team, we think that fun and laughter is key to being positive and we always look on the bright side, our glass is always half full, we know and accept that everyone has ‘bad days’ but we work on having more good days than bad.

We like you to know how things work and therefore we have a list of house expectations that we all work to which helps to keep Oakwood a happy place.  Actions have consequences both positive and negative and we work on a very clear individual rewards scheme to help you with your progress.  We like to know your thoughts, so will often ask for them, as we want to make sure that you are happy and if there are any ways we can improve how we support you we will be sure to discuss them.

Oakwood is one big team where staff and young people work on the principle that “team work makes the dream work”.  We will support and encourage you to become involved with local groups whether they are sport, craft or arts, as we want you to make friends and develop lots of skills.  Every step of the way we will be there to encourage and help you succeed at whatever you choose to do.

We provide a stable, holistic and nurturing home environment for our young people.  To maximise their potential, dedicated support and guidance is tailored to each individual from our team of experienced and qualified staff, with extra input and support from our psychologists and therapists that attend the home on a regular basis.

We believe that every child and young person is of paramount importance and therefore their individual needs and requirements are always taken into consideration, whilst strategies are set up to enable them to develop and make positive steps to move forward.

At A Glance

  • All children’s homes have high staff ratios which allows for the provision of highly personalised programmes for all young people. At night time there is a waking night staff and a member of staff sleeping-in.
  • High quality home environment with every young person having a bedroom with en-suite facilities.
  • As required, young people have the support of our speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, educational psychologists and psychiatrists.
  • Highest level of safeguarding implemented in every home and supported by Witherslack Group central safeguarding support staff.
  • Each home is supported by Witherslack Group’s Clinical Team who provide a combination of direct targeted interventions with young people, staff support and training, and attendance at statutory reviews.
  • An education champion present in each children’s home to facilitate strong coordination between school and home.

Our Care

Care Model

For children who require 52 week care, we are proud to be able to provide them with a home environment that will give them the stability, support and encouragement they need. We offer an integrated package of high quality 52 week residential care and education, in conjunction with our schools, that consistently allows children to realise their potential, both academically and socially.

Each children’s home provides a superior group living experience within a welcoming and warm domestic setting. Young people have their own en-suite rooms and all homes are furnished and equipped to the highest of standards.

Our passionate, experienced and skilled staff team support each young person to develop their social and independence skills, which allows them to consistently achieve and develop. Additional support is available, as required, from our comprehensive team of therapeutic professionals.


All young people are supported in maintaining contact with parents/carers, family, friends and other significant people in their lives. The nature of this contact is determined by the young person’s Placement Plan and is agreed with the placing authority. We are able to negotiate additional support on an individual basis if required; for example, by facilitating attendance at meetings and providing supported travel.


Young people are actively encouraged and supported to participate in a range of activities which take into account their race, culture, language, religion, interests and abilities.  Witherslack Group Children’s Homes strive to integrate the young people in our care into activities and groups within the local community. Young People develop their confidence and self-esteem from participation in activities they enjoy, learn how to use local amenities and have the opportunity to widen their social experiences by mixing with other young people outside of the home environment.

Our Education

24 hour curriculum

We believe that in order to maximise educational opportunities it is essential that teaching and care staff work co-operatively in an attempt to provide a meaningful and relevant 24 hour curriculum. Education is not limited merely to the classroom; education is a continuous process which occurs throughout the waking day. That is not to say that education can not be enjoyable or fun; there are many educational activities which occur naturally in our work with young people.

A simple trip to the shops is an excellent opportunity to practice skills in both numeracy and literacy. The use of money is an obvious example of supporting number work and encouraging young people to read signs and notices in shops also promotes social literacy. Many of these tasks are routinely completed, whilst others may need to be engineered in order to address specific deficit areas in a young person’s educational development.

We recognise the importance of staff working together co-operatively with care and teaching staff, who liaise on a regular basis. Key Workers have regular planned meetings with each young person’s teacher/tutor in order to review Individual Care and Education Plans (ICEPs). These close working relationships are designed to promote multi-disciplinary working and a consistent approach to the education and care of young people.

Social Development

Through our approach to improving a young person’s social relationship skills, we recognise that social development cannot be separated from other learning experiences whether they be aesthetic, creative, moral, physical, spiritual, recreational, etc. Moreover, formal learning, social and leisure clubs, ad hoc activities, group work, and indeed all situations and environments within and external to the home are appropriate to enabling children and young people to improve their social skills.

Our Therapeutic Support


We undertake a holistic baseline assessment during the first 6 weeks of placement to ensure our initial planning is correct and to take account of the response of the young person to our provision. This involves a multi-agency team of therapists, teachers, residential support staff and parents/carers. We use Conner’s Profiling, standardised English and Mathematics assessments and speech and language and psychological assessment. Where appropriate, we involve our clinical psychiatrist in this process. This gives reliable and comprehensive baseline assessment enabling us to accurately assess progress, progression and ‘value added’.

Our Therapeutic Model

Our commitment to delivering outstanding therapeutic support to all young people is based on attachment principles. We believe that unless a young person is able to feel emotionally secure they are less likely to fulfil their personal, social and educational potential.

We have an extensive Clinical Team which is able to offer young people within our schools and children’s homes a truly personalised and comprehensive package of therapeutic support. Each of our children’s homes is supported by our own on-site therapists for a minimum of two days a week, with further support, as required, from our Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Therapists.

Our unique approach to supporting young people allows us to achieve uniquely outstanding outcomes, which in turn enable our young people to go on and aspire and succeed in their futures.

Integrated Therapeutic Provisions

In addition to children’s homes we also offer Integrated Therapeutic Learning Centres which provide an individualised approach to meeting a young person’s therapeutic, education and care needs. Young people attending the Integrated Therapeutic Provision live in the children’s homes, which are located on-site. There are close links between the home and the onsite learning centre to ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved for each young person.

This fully integrated care, education and therapeutic provision consists of a children’s home and separate learning centre all on one site. The learning centres are staffed by a range of qualified Teachers and Teaching Assistants and offer the full national curriculum with highly personalised and structured educational support.

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