Why Oakhill?

Oakhill School is a private day nursery, primary school and secondary school in Whalley, Ribble Valley.

We get asked so much about our school – from academic achievement to extra-curricular activities and our friendly, family ethos, that we’ve compiled our FAQs to help you navigate and get all the answers you need to choose the right school for your family and their needs.

Class sizes range across our 12 different year groups from Reception to Year 11, but on average our class size is currently 15. We find this is an optimum number for teaching staff to achieve personal relationships with every pupil whilst still enabling plenty of diverse and valuable friendships to form and thrive across different year groups.

Manageable class sizes mean every one of our pupils is known, is heard and has their individual needs met on a daily basis.

‘Our class sizes mean that there is always time to listen if someone needs to talk. This is critical to our success. No-one feels dismissed or undervalued – we make everyone feel priceless.’

Not at all! We have a wide range of academic abilities at Oakhill and each child is assessed according to their own strengths and areas for improvement.

Whilst we’re very proud of our gifted pupils, we pride ourselves on adding value from each pupil’s starting point, ensuring that each child is working to achieve and beat their own targets, not someone else’s.

2020 saw that in 80% of cases, our students reached the ‘if challenged’ grade and in 41% of cases, even higher. This means they have achieved at a level two or three grades above what they were expected to achieve, irrelevant of their abilities when they started with us.

‘I could not have done this well in another school. The teachers have gone above and beyond for me and I have gained real success in my GCSEs. I feel so confident now, knowing that I can really do it.’

Year 11 student

Whilst Oakhill isn’t recognised as a special or alternative school, our class sizes and close relationships mean that we’re able to add value to the learning of children of ALL abilities. From gifted and talented to those with more complex learning needs, we have a wide range of academic abilities at Oakhill. Each child is assessed according to their own strengths and areas for improvement.

Many of those with academic limitations have over the years excelled in our more creative activities such as music, art, sport and drama – that’s the Oakhill Advantage.

We add value from each pupil’s start point, ensuring that each child is working to achieve and beat their own targets, not someone else’s and not those set by an authority without knowing the child in question.

2020 saw that in 80% of cases, our students reached the ‘if challenged’ grade and in 41% of cases, even higher. This means they have achieved at a level two or three grades above what they were expected to achieve, irrelevant of their ability level when they started with us.

‘I used to feel so anxious picking my son up from school and now I look forward to collecting him. I have never experienced this before in other schools which means they never saw the potential that Oakhill saw in my child. They have made a world of difference.’

Here at Oakhill School, sport is so important to us that we’ve invested heavily in recent years into our school’s sports facilities;

  • Indoor Sports Hall with spectator seating and sprung floor
  • Professional standard badminton and tennis courts
  • 5-a-side football pitches
  • Fully equipped Technogym® fitness suite
  • Netball, football, rugby and cricket facilities

We regularly host competitions for schools in the Ribble Valley and beyond due to our facilities and free onsite parking.

We find positives in delivering PE and sports lessons to mixed year groups and regularly enter a mixed year group into local competitions, often ranking very highly and bringing home a trophy and medals or certificates.

Visit Oakhill Leisure to find out more about the facilities.

Yes! Thanks to our breakfast club and a whole host of after school activities, every day of the week is jam-packed from 7.30am until 6.00pm.

We find this works well for our busy families, allowing a flexible drop off and pick up time outside of the usual school day. Whether you’re working or have plans of your own, you can rest easy knowing that the children are in safe hands and enjoying one of up to 50 extra-curricular activities on offer.

We even have our own private buses to offer a safe and bespoke journey to school.

School Trips

Oakhill School trips are plentiful and legendary! Due to our manageable class sizes, we can be agile in the planning of spontaneous trips to the local area (if it’s a nice day and we’re learning about rivers, we’ll set off and see one) and can offer extraordinary trips in the UK and abroad each year. For example, in recent years we’ve had trips to Berlin, Barcelona and Rome and various locations for our popular annual ski trip.

In addition, we have a packed Duke of Edinburgh’s Award calendar, enriching the pupils’ understanding of nature, teamwork and their own limits and capabilities.

Of course! Our Chef and his catering team prepare a varied, healthy and home cooked menu from Monday to Friday. We take pride in every child feeling comfortable and confident in their menu choices and those with a Halal or Kosher diet will eat alongside their friends. We’re also experienced in catering for those with allergies or intolerances without them feeling any different to anyone else.

Communication really matters at Oakhill. We’re always saying we’re like a family and we want you to feel that too. When a new pupil starts at Oakhill, we gain a whole new family of children, parents/carers and grandparents and relatives. Everyone can become a part of our community.

We’re just as interested in your children as you are and we need to know them as well as you do, meaning regular two-way communication is a must.

We communicate via;

  • Face to face planned and ad-hoc meetings
  • Daily homework diary for note to and from staff and home
  • Weekly Principal’s Friday News
  • Social media posts and groups on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin
  • Printed School News each term
  • SMS and Whatsapp alerts and reminders
  • Regular Parent’s Evening and reports

Because we’re close-knit, you’re always welcome onsite to chat to staff, look around and feel like a part of the school.

For those wanting more involvement, there’s our Association for parents, grandparents and relations of our pupils to feel like a part of something supportive and fun, helping with things like trips, hands on activities and our fundraisers, like the Christmas Markets and Golf Days.

‘The relationships between staff and families are what make Oakhill special. These relationships build and grow over the years as we work together to nurture young adults who are ready to move on to their next step confidently.’

There’s plenty of time outside of the school day for our young people to interact using smart phones. We’re very proud of our strict ‘no phones’ policy within all areas of school. We find that children learn, play and interact better in the absence of phones. If phones must be brought to school, they are turned off and stored securely by staff throughout the day.

Every pupil at Oakhill School from Year 3 (age 7-8) is presented with their own iPad which is used to enable their learning. We continuously teach pupils in the set up, ownership and use of this technology. Many class activities are carried out on these iPads and they can be used to complete any homework or to work remotely from home.

‘When I first realised I couldn’t have my phone I wasn’t sure, but now I really enjoy using my breaks and lunchtimes to talk to people, instead of just checking my phone. There is plenty to do during the day so you really don’t miss it.’

Our pupils leave to follow the path they’ve chosen once they’re 16. For many, this may be further education and A levels in a sixth form and on to higher education. Others are keen to enter the world of work and will choose a vocational future such as an apprenticeship.

Whatever the future holds for our Year 11s, we always wish them well, proud that we’ve instilled in them the best that Oakhill has to offer. Our GCSE students have the chance to lead the school and take responsibility, developing independence and maturity.

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Keep up-to-date with Oakhill School

Ensure you receive Oakhill News and never miss any invitation to our events by making sure we hold the right postal and digital details for you.

Subscribe to Mailing List