Project Description

Who we are

Woodpecker Court exists for the purpose of improving the life chances of children and young people, where circumstance may have led them to struggle to develop in readiness for adult life. It provides activities and experiences utilising the outdoors to deliver formal and informal education, designed so that experiences out of the classroom bring context to classroom-based delivery. The aims are to improve outcomes for Children, Young People and their Families in terms of skills, knowledge, self-confidence and therefore lifelong prospects.

The objectives are to deliver informal education in the outdoors in combination with qualification delivery, developing a sense of confidence, self-esteem, resilience and therefore the essential employability skills to secure a successful destination, preventing them from becoming NEET. We are working with Kent County Council’s Virtual School, West Berkshire’s Virtual School, Goodwin Academy, Folkestone Academy, Dover Christchurch Academy, The Elms School, Skills Training UK and Hadlow College.

What we offer

We offer a “Forest School” type of environment for KS3 through to KS5 learners. We promote a sense of community by bringing learners of all ages together under the parachute for a breakfast cooked on the open fire, cooked by learners, giving the opportunity to unload the world outside, ensuring a purposeful learning environment can take place. We return to the parachute for lunch. There are two sessions in the morning and afternoon, split between classroom delivery and participation in the informal programme. The outdoor learning includes wood craft, horticulture, animal care, site maintenance, team building, bush craft and cooking. These experiences are explicitly linked to Functional Skills English, Maths, Enterprise, Employability, Personal Development, Occupational Studies for the Workplace, and for those seeking to become vocationally focused, Professional Cookery and Animal Care. We are funded by KCC, ESF and contracts with schools. We offer this package across the Key Stages as follows:

  • KS3 – Engagement programmes only with no formal learning, one or two days per week, contracting to mainstream and special schools, as a self-esteem raising / reengagement / exclusion prevention tool.
  • KS3 – We are actively talking to partners at the moment about adding a KS3 formal learning package as an alternative to PRUs.
  • KS4 – Engagement and formal learning programmes for a substantial part of a learner’s week, where mainstream or special schools can no longer engage the learner. This is aimed at reengaging the learner in learning, preventing exclusion, and generating outcomes in English, Maths and vocational subjects that enable successful transition into KS5.
  • KS5 – NEET prevention full time learning programmes aimed at learners who cannot engage with 6th form or FE. Like the KS4 offer, the aim is to reengage the learner and for them to gain the outcomes required to progress into a destination and not become NEET.

Success and outcomes

Our website contains a number of case studies of individual learners and attainment and progression data. Last year 17 out of 18 learners on the KS5 programme achieved a successful destination. All were NEET upon entry to us. This included a young man who was a 3 year school refuser within the Medical Needs Service, who on arrival would not speak. His big moment was passing his first ever exam. He finished the year with a set of friends, fully socialised, with qualifications in English, Maths, Employability, Enterprise and Occupational Studies. He is now studying Professional Cookery and wants to become a Chef.

We are looking to develop

We have an established method of working that brings results. Our rural setting, balance of formal and informal learning and therapy where required, means vulnerable learners can achieve and sustain a destination. We are endeavouring to expand the model across a wider range of qualifications, such as the partnership we are developing with Hadlow College for Animal Care. Additionally, we are seeking more subcontracting relationships to ensure sustainability. We have a low-cost model that works both morally for vulnerable learners as well as commercially. We are continually seeking more partners to grow our offer, while maintaining our ethos, to ensure we meet the changing needs of society.


If you want to know more please contact me on the details above. The best way to understand our ethos and offer is to come and visit us, which we would welcome on a pre-arranged basis.

If you want to take a look at the website, it is

Woodpecker Court | Wigmore Lane | Eythorne | Kent | CT15 4BF

Tel: 01304 830958
Mobile: 07720 800391