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Chelmsford New Model School
Woodlands Campus, Patching Hall Lane, CM1 4BX, UK Chelmsford
+44 (0)1245 355854


Woodlands is a special school serving the needs of pupils with severe, profound and complex learning difficulties, from the ages of 3 to 19. Our response to these needs creates the very special learning opportunities of Woodlands school.

We believe in life long learning and social inclusion. We aim to develop in pupils the posititive attitudes towards, and the skills of learning. We recognise the importance of being able to transfer the skills into new and varied settings. We encourage independent learning.

The school is located in a leafy green suburb of Chelmsford, within walking distance of a range of amenities offering immediate access to the community.

At Woodlands we aim to develop confident and skilled learners who, as adults, will become active members of their community. We take a holistic view of our learners’ progress towards this aim by placing the cross curricular skills at the heart of the school. Our emphasis is in promoting…

  • personal, social and health skills

  • communication skills

  • mathematical skills

  • physical skills

  • problem solving skills

  • information and communication technology skills

  • study skills


Nurturing potential

The early years are crucial for learning. Every opportunity needs to be taken to enrich children's experiences. For children with special difficulties there must be an additional focus on individual needs.

At Woodlands nursery we address and promote the unique qualities of each and every child in our care.

We captivate the emergent curiosity inside every child by providing stimulating and safe environments for co-active learning. Children experience an enriching curriculum that is specially adapted to harness this learning.

Supported activities

Each child is supported to partcipate in a variety of early learning activities. These are skilfully planned to engage every child in the government's Early Learning Goals. Much of this happens through fun and discovery.

Specialist facilities

Bright and stimulating, specialist and supportive, our environment includes....

  • self contained nursery suite,
  • separate outdoor play areas,
  • sensory room, sensory garden,
  • swimming and hydrotherapy pool,
  • interactive library,
  • sports and movement hall,
  • complex needs room

Learning team

In the nursery every child has individually designed learning goals in line with information gathered by our team of specialists from a range of professions. Our team includes special needs trained teachers, nursery nurses, advisory teachers, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and school nurse.

We work closely with doctors and educational psychologists.


The New Model Special School

Special schools in Essex are about to change. Woodlands is one of four schools designated as being a Pathfinder school. The role of a Pathfinder school is to design new ways of providing learning such that social inclusion is both the means and the end result of the education process.

The New Model Special School (NMSS) is where this newly organised vision of learning will be take place. Guiding aspirations for the NMSS are…

  • a positive family life leading to as independent an adult life as possible
  • the opportunity for paid employment
  • the ability to have social and leisure pursuits in the community
  • to have friends who can provide support
  • to be able to access and use community facilities
  • to have family, friends and key people in the community to support their independence and participation.

With these aims in mind, successful learning will mean that young people can function well in a variety of contexts and as a consequence the school will support learning in the home and in the community settings that will feature in their lives. Education, particularly for older students, will often need to take place outside of the school boundaries. At the centre of this process will be an individual learning plan that will bind together elements drawn from different disciplines and agencies towards a common end of the students’ self-efficacy. Multi-agency working will, therefore, become a central principle of how the NMSS will operate. Learning to use your learning in different ways and in different places will be the central principle for empowering and measuring progress.


Capturing and developing the curiosity and fun of learning through exploration and discovery is the essence of good teaching. Building on the foundation of the Nursery, the main school establishes the principles of how to learn. Pupils experience a variety of stimulating topics, taken from the National Curriculum.

They are challenged to focus their attention, to collaborate with their peers, to problem solve and to work as independently as possible. By making the learning activities relevant, practical and stimulating, we give pupils opportunities to make their learning personal and meaningful.

  • Choice
  • Forward
  • Friendship
  • People
  • Real Life

  • primary schools in Chelmsford, secondary schools in Chelmsford, schools in Chelmsford

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