At OAKLEY HOUSE PREPARATORY SCHOOL we aim to offer sympathetic help to children whose learning difficulties affect their ability to achieve their potential in a mainstream classroom, our priority being to restore confidence and to develop a positive attitude to learning by providing specialised teaching within an atmosphere of support and understanding for each child’s specific needs.

Our focus is the following:
  • To rebuild self esteem
  • To foster an enjoyment of learning
  • To provide a complete education
  • To help each child identify his or her own goals and targets
  • To identify and reach potential in strengths
  • To remedy weaknesses
  • To improve language skills
  • To reach a functional reading age as soon as possible
  • To teach strategies and skills to assist with spelling
  • To achieve his or her potential in, and to foster an enjoyment of mathematics
  • To motivate each child
  • To stretch without overstretching
  • To return pupils to mainstream schooling when ready
  • Criteria for acceptance
    Applicants should be of average ability, or above, and have an assessment from an educational psychologist indicating that they have learning difficulties. As a small specialist school with a very limited number of places, we carefully assess the suitability of each child before making a decision as to whether we can offer a place. Oakley House will not offer any child a place unless the staff feels confident that they can help him or her. Oakley House will not accept children who have emotional or behavioural problems which might seriously inhibit their progress or compromise the learning of others.

    Assessments
    Apart from the psycho-educational assessment (to determine potential), it may also be necessary for a child to have a scholastic assessment (to determine actual functioning) on enrolment. If deemed necessary, a Speech and Language Therapy assessment and an Occupational Therapy assessment may also be requested. All assessments are additional costs. If your child has had any of these assessments within the last 12 months, copies of the written reports are required. The results of these assessments will determine the starting point of any individual programmes.

    Curriculum
    Our curriculum provides a specialised, multisensory approach with an emphasis on basic literacy and numeracy skills combined with access to the full National Curriculum. To ensure our children receive an enriching school experience, the learning areas of Art, Music, Drama, Physical Education and Computer Studies form part of our weekly timetable. Study skills are an important part of our curriculum and include learning techniques, memory strategies and organisation skills.

    Individual programmes of learning
    Children are carefully assessed and individual literacy, numeracy, perceptual and/or behaviour targets are drawn up, appropriate to each child’s specific needs. Progress is closely monitored and programmes are regularly reviewed.

    Specialised therapy
    Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy, on an individual basis or in small groups, will be arranged for those children who need it. Therapists consult for Oakley House in their private capacity and there is therefore an extra cost to parents for these therapies.
    Remedial therapy is provided for those children needing intensive small group instruction and extra support. Most therapy sessions take place at the school during the school day.
    Class teachers and therapists work closely together to ensure continuity is maintained. Therapists are part of our multidisciplinary team and they are involved in all case discussions and feedback meetings with relevant parents.

    Specialist staff
    All staff are fully qualified in their own field and experienced in teaching children with learning difficulties. At Oakley House every teacher’s objective is to remedy each child’s challenges as far as they can whilst giving them a confident enjoyment of learning.

    Extra mural activities
    Oakley House offers a variety of extra mural activities in the afternoons, for example:
    Soccer · Cricket · Karate · Playball · Drama · Modern Dance · Hip Hop · Steelband · Computers · Lego Club · Baking · Arts and Crafts · Drama Club · Experibuddies.

    Teacher / child ratio
    Small classes ensures individual attention and a caring and supportive environment.
    A ratio of 1:15 in Grade R and 1:10 in Grades 1 - 6, enables teachers to work towards developing each child’s strengths as well as guiding them to use compensatory strategies to overcome areas of weakness.

    Homework
    Homework reinforces the work done in class, it alerts the teacher to work that is not fully understood and it teaches independence and self discipline. It is an important part of educating the whole child. Parents are required to supervise and assist the child wherever necessary. It is essential that reading takes place each evening and we issue specific guidelines to parents on how to listen to reading. Reading and record books (plus other homework) must return to school each morning so that follow-up can take place. The homework diary is a valuable means of two-way communication between parent and teacher and must be checked for messages on a daily basis.

    Medication
    The normal procedure is for any necessary medication to be given by parents at home. However, arrangements can be made for special circumstances to prevail – as in the administering of Ritalin, for example. Where it is agreed that medication is kept and administered at Oakley House, a relating schedule will be completed and signed by the administering staff member.

    Uniform
    Oakley House children wear a comfortable uniform which can be purchased from the school’s secretary.

    Snacks and lunches
    We believe that a child’s diet has a direct influence on his or her ability to concentrate effectively. Teachers carefully monitor the lunch boxes to ensure that none of the following is brought to school:

  • Sandwich fillings with too much sugar e.g. jams, chocolate spreads
  • Sweets, cakes, chips, etc.
  • Fizzy drinks, Oros, flavoured milk, juice, etc.
  • The children are only allowed to drink water at school and parents are required to provide a labelled water bottle for this purpose. Exceptions to the above may be made for birthday celebrations, but this must be prearranged and will be at the teacher’s discretion.

    Discipline
    It is essential that all children at Oakley House are made aware of the importance of good, well-mannered behaviour. Oakley House has a Code of Conduct and an incentive/encouragement scheme and every effort is made to reinforce whatever school rules are in place at the time.
    Generally speaking we believe that action and reminders to prevent poor behaviour are much more desirable and effective than a stream of punishments. The children are always encouraged to take ownership of their behaviour and to help devise solutions to any problems that arise.

    Stationery
    Parents are required to provide their child’s personal stationery items, for example pens, pencils, colouring pencils, notebooks, files, etc., as well as all textbooks and workbooks required in the grade. A stationery list is available on enrolment. A separate photocopying levy is payable each year and this goes towards costs of individual printing and academic handouts and modules throughout the year.

    School calendar
    Oakley House operates according to the WCED school calendar unless otherwise informed.

    Notice period
    Should parents wish to withdraw their child from Oakley House, written notice must be given not later than the first week of the child’s proposed final term, failing which the fees for the following term will be payable in full, whether or not the child returns to school.

    Oakley House Preparatory School reserves the right to make amendments to the above information from time to time as and when the need arises.

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