Careers overview


Introduction of our careers provision and key partners

Oakwood Specialist College is an Independent Specialist College for young people aged 16 – 25 years with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

At Oakwood we place great importance on ensuring that all our learners are fully supported to achieve their optimum career/life outcome and provide early career development and support that is aligned to their additional needs.

CEIAG (Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance) is designed at Oakwood to prepare students for life by providing the knowledge, understanding, confidence and skills that they need to make informed choices and plans for their future learning and career and future.

Oakwood Specialist College work closely with a range of employers as well as the local community. If you are interested in working with us to further extend the range of opportunities available to our young people please contact Dan Miliffe (Head of Careers and Futures) –

Some of our key employer partners to date include:

  • Coreus Construction Group
  • Waitrose and partners
  • Vistry homes
  • Train4all
  • Greendale Farm
  • Organic Arts Farm
  • Dawlish Garden Trust
  • SMART Building Supplies
  • No Limits Café
  • Omnium Radio CIC
  • Farm effects
  • Powderham Castle
  • Killerton House
  • Westbank & Seachange
  • Tesco
  • Sainsburys
  • Taylor Wimpey (Oakwood’s industry partner)
  • Ride On
  • The Beacon Centre
  • Teignbridge council
  • Okehampton Castle

We also work closely with the below organisations:

  • The Heart of Southwest Careers Hub
  • Careers Southwest
  • Disability Rights UK
  • Careers and enterprise company
  • Great Western railway
  • Platform
  • Severnside community rail partnership
  • Devon and Cornwall rail partnership
  • Building greater Exeter
  • Building Plymouth
  • Onsite Bristol
  • Future Smart Careers

The Gatsby Benchmarks and good careers guidance

Good career guidance can have a profound impact on social mobility, as it ensures that each and every young person, whatever their needs, background or ambitions, knows the options open to them to fulfil their potential. This is particularly important for the more than one million young people in England recognised as having SEND. Far too often these young people can be held back by negative stereotypes and assumptions about their limitations.

Oakwood students are provided with close support and regular guidance meetings to ensure that students feel empowered, supported and able to achieve their aspirations. This includes guidance meetings with our Head of Careers and Futures as well as Careers South West.

The Gatsby Benchmarks define what world-class career guidance looks like. During Gatsby’s pilot of the Benchmarks, experienced SEND practitioners and national advocates were brought together to form a SEND working group. Drawing on their expertise of developing careers programmes in different settings, in both special and mainstream schools and colleges, they gave the clear message that it would not be appropriate to define a separate set of Benchmarks for students with SEND.

For further help and support, you can talk to an impartial advisor at the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900.

Feedback from last Academic year

Philosophy on feedback

As part of our approach to reflective practice Phoenix Learning and Care recognise and embrace the importance of developing a culture of continual learning and development.  We welcome feedback on our achievements and the opportunity to share best practice, however we equally understand the importance of learning from our shortfalls. As such we welcome hearing about where we may have not lived up to our high standards and we truly value the opportunity to reflect and learn about areas that we need to develop further.

Within the last academic year we have received the following number of compliments and complaints.  


If you would like to provide feedback to the school or wish to make us aware of a compliment or complaint then you can email the school direct.

Alternatively, you may contact our Operations Director for Education, Darren Jackson on:

We treat all concerns appropriately and all complaints are investigated thoroughly following our complaints policy and procedure which can be found within the Policies section of this website.  


Our proprietors Phoenix Learning and Care, welcome enquiries for placements in any of our services.

Please call us on 03330 150331 or email

We will provide an initial response to all enquiries as soon as possible, advising the options available and indicative dates of admission.

The referrals team can discuss the local offer and where appropriate, put you in contact with the respective Registered Manager or Head Teacher to discuss the practical areas in greater detail.

The Young Person and/or Student are openly encouraged to visit along with parents, guardians or Social Workers to see if the placement is suitable.

Once the placement is confirmed, we work to ensure a smooth transition including the completion of required documentation.


We work closely with our children/young people, their families and professionals to create bespoke programmes of learning for students, which are tailored to their educational and social and emotional needs, supporting them to achieve their full potential. This means that we deliver a personalised curriculum, which, where possible, acknowledges the national curriculum and meets the individual needs of our students, whilst also supporting them to meet the outcomes identified in their EHCPs.

To achieve this, every student has an individual education plan which identifies their areas of need and how we can best address them, both in terms of staff approach and the curriculum that they are provided.  Our goal is to provide access to the best academic outcomes possible as well as preparing our students for adulthood and the next stage of their education by equipping them with the skills required to achieve personal success.