Woodpecker Court

45 Wigmore Lane, Eythorne, Dover, CT15 4BF

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About us

Woodpecker Court is an alternative education provider with specialist post 16 status. We are set in a rural location. We believe that every student is different and treated as an individual and therefore vary our practices to support them holistically. We aim to improve outcomes by providing all of our students with the necessary skills to equip them to sustain their onward destination after leaving us. We have a calm, safe and friendly environment that all of our students together as a community maintain.

What makes us different?

We offer our post 16 courses in animal care, catering, or occupational studies, enterprise and employability, alongside functional skills English and Maths. Many post 16 vulnerable learner programmes fail because the delivery is formal in a classroom. This has not worked for the previous eleven years, so why repeat the process? Block by block, we will enable a young person to tolerate then work with others, show resilience to failure and bad weather. They can have the time and space to express their frustrations in the outdoors. They can fail safely, then learn to succeed. They can develop good peer and staff relationships, and maintain them over time. Then, and only then, do we deliver the formal learning because then students are ready to achieve. Our outdoor experiences are explicitly linked to formal learning objectives. For example, quantities of animal feed are linked to profit margins, having an impact upon Maths.


We provide engagement programmes for learners aged 11-16 by working collaboratively with local schools. Our programmes are run in the great outdoors from our 15 acre site that encompasses woodland, paddocks, classrooms, workshops and at the heart of our community our parachuted fire circles. These engagement programmes offer the chance for schools to prevent exclusion and promote reengagement by changing the environment completely around the young person. We develop resilience, self-esteem and positivity through introducing routines and developing a sense of community. This is achieved by a daily breakfast and lunch, cooked by the young people themselves, using bush craft techniques, meaning they have to work with others to achieve. They then devise their own programme in wood craft, forestry work, horticulture, animal care and bush craft and team building activity, that both engages them and generates a culture of success. All learners have a key worker who tracks their progress through their Personal Learning Plan, which includes data on soft and hard outcomes. We work on a bespoke level according to the aims of the referrer and needs of the young person and their family.

Student support

We believe that every student is different and treated as an individual and therefore vary our practices to support them holistically. We aim to improve outcomes by providing all of our students with the necessary skills to equip them to sustain their onward destination after leaving us. We have a calm, safe and friendly environment that all of our students together as a community maintain. 

All of our students either have an Education Health Care Plan or have exhibited a struggle to access education. We deliver both formal and informal education to enable the students to either re-engage in school if they are 11-16 or support our post 16 students in transitioning to a sustained destination thereby improving lifelong prospects. We facilitate forest schools and day activities, as well as access for the community, families and other Youth Organisations to the great outdoors.  

‘If I did not have Woodpecker Court I would be struggling with my social skills and I would not have the confidence that I do now because staff help me with not just my confidence but my Maths and English too. Without the staff and the community that this college has I would not have the opportunities that I have now and the things I have leant from the team at Woodpecker Court.” - Student​

“My son currently attends Woodpecker Court, he is in his second year of education with them. Woodpecker Court has provided an environment that enables him to feel safe, supported, and able to learn without feeling like he is ‘trapped’ within the standard confines of a stereotypical classroom. The staff here are competent and able to work with a patient, flexible and inclusive approach, using person centred approaches for each pupil which caters to their diverse range of needs. Being able to actually look forward to spending his day surrounded by staff who are experienced and understanding and working in the outdoor environment has given my son the ability to feel normal again, not to feel different just because mainstream comprehensive didn’t suit him.” - Parent

“I think Woodpecker Court is the best school I’ve ever been to, they have helped me a lot and the teachers are amazing and it's a nice place to be. I also see it as a safe place to be. Since being at Woodpecker Court I’ve been able to do cooking outside for myself, students and staff. I’ve also done wood work and been able to sit and do my work in a class room. I just want to say how good Dom has been to me he’s a very nice and enthusiastic man and without Woodpecker Court I wouldn't be where I am now" - Student