Specialist Therapeutic Schools

We ARE Octavia House Schools

Since 2012, our independent therapeutic special schools have provided innovative, specialist provision for pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. Today, we are widely acknowledged as leading the way in providing outstanding specialist provision for some of London's most complex children.

As an all-through provision for pupils aged 5-16, we provide genuinely personalised learning and therapy programmes within safe, stimulating and nurturing environments. We have high expectations, a culture of ambition and a therapeutic, values-centred approach. As a result, we rapidly develop pupils' emotional wellbeing, willingness to learn, social and life skills, behaviour for learning and academic progress. 

We continue to meet the needs of an increasing number of unique children and look forward to welcoming you to our equally unique schools. 

James Waite
Executive Head

OUR Vision & Values

Together, the multi-disciplinary team at Octavia House Schools leads outstanding specialist therapeutic provision for pupils with complex social, emotional and mental health needs.

  • We offer high quality specialist provision to families whose children have complex social, mental and emotional health difficulties
  • We provide a therapy-centred curriculum that re-engages children with learning and enables them to make rapid and sustained progress
  • We facilitate improvement in pupils' behaviour as a result of our safe, nurturing environment and endlessly positive, flexible approach
  • We listen, respect and value all of our stakeholders equally
  • We support our multi-disciplinary team to ensure high morale, strong work ethic and professional excellence
  • We promote the holistic health of our pupils through our healthy schools programme and values-centred curriculum
  • We are a responsible, aware and ethical organisation, employer and member of our community
  • We work as one


Nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of our pupils. Our head of safeguarding is Joanne Evans. As a child protection specialist and safer recruitment trainer, she is the first point of contact across our schools and oversees our robust approach to all aspects of safeguarding, including child protection. 

safeguarding policy e-safety policy

Joanne Evans leads safeguarding
across the schools

  • Pupils' behaviour improves considerably as a result of being in the school
  • Pupils' personal development is good. In particular, their behaviour improves considerably as a result of being in the school.
  • The quality of teaching is good, enabling pupils who have not attended school for some time to make good progress.
  • The curriculum meets pupils' needs and includes both academic and therapeutic elements.
  • The school's leaders have ensured that teaching and pupils' achievement are good.


Our seamless approach to the provision of therapy means that therapists and teachers work as one to maximise impact on pupils' social, emotional, behavioural and learning outcomes. 

We are very proud to offer the following wide range of therapies... 

Emily Barlow leads
therapy across the schools

  • ART


    Audra Williams is our art therapist. Art therapy is a form of expressive psychotherapy that uses the creative process of art-making to improve a pupil’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. In art therapy the pupil has the opportunity to express themselves using art materials such as paints, clay, drawing on paper, mask-making and sand play.

  • drama


    Sarah Steadman and Emily Barlow are our drama therapists. Drama therapy works with the pupil’s creativity, imagination and personal expression. It aims to encourage confidence, self-exploration, social communication and to realise potential. In these sessions pupils can express themselves and explore experiences in an indirect way using sand, role-play, storytelling using objects or art materials, poetry and creative writing.

  • PLAY


    Steph Marriott is our play therapist. Play therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses play to communicate with and support pupils in their self-expression, to explore their thoughts and feelings and make sense of life experiences. Play therapy sessions may include using sand, arts and crafts and a range of toys including animal and human figurines and sensory toys.

  • Speech & Language Therapy


    Rosalyn Addai is our speech and language therapist. Rosalyn plans personalised one-to-one and classroom interventions following assessment of pupils’ communication skills. Speech & language therapy focuses on areas including attention and listening, social communication, emotional literacy (using words to express feelings), receptive language (understanding spoken language), expressive language (using words to express ideas), speech production (pronouncing target sounds/words accurately) and speech fluency (speaking without hesitations or stuttering).

  • Occupational Therapy


    Paula Godfrey is our occupational therapist. Occupational therapy can help pupils with various needs including their physical, sensory, cognitive and motor skills. This, in turn, can work to enhance their confidence and self-esteem. Paula looks at the skills needed for pupils to learn and complete everyday tasks. She assesses and addresses any issues that might be getting in the way. This includes, for example, one-to-one and whole-class interventions to support pupils’ handwriting, their processing of information or being able to stay calm and concentrate.

  • Dance & Movement Psychotherapy


    Anna Wood is our dance and movement therapist. Dance and movement therapy is the use of movement to support the emotional, physical and social integration of pupils. In a dance and movement therapy session pupils explore their own movements and physicality - they may choose to use props and toys, soft play and sensory objects to assist them.



    Kristjana Thorarensen is one of our specialist counsellors. Counselling is a ‘talking therapy’ but instead of offering advice, a counsellor encourages the pupil to talk about what’s bothering them in order to help find ways of coping. Kristjana works in a pupil-centred way and is also a trained play therapist and may use play to help pupils express themselves without verbal communication. She is also a specialist in attachment theory and disorders (the deep, enduring emotional bonds (or lack of) between children and their caregivers).

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy


    The therapy team work using a pupil-centred approach, which means they use various techniques to suit the individual. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one of these approaches; it looks at how we think about a situation and how this affects the way we act. It is a ‘talking therapy’ that can help pupils manage their problems by challenging and changing the way they think and behave. 

  • Mental Health Services


    Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) offer assessment and treatment when pupils experience emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. We work exceptionally closely with CAMHS, including with their specialist psychiatrists and psychologists. This enables us to ‘fast-track’ assessment, support and treatment for our pupils and their families.

  • Emotion-Focused Family Therapy


    Emily Barlow is our family practitioner. Emotion-focused family therapy (EFFT) works to encourage parents to be their child’s behavioural coach (to support their child in their behaviour patterns and transitions) and emotion coach (to support their child to approach and manage their emotional pain) over time. The final stage is to support the parent to facilitate relationship repair between them and their child.

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& Progress

Our schools provide a broad, balanced, relevant and values-centred curriculum, based on the national curriculum. We promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, social, mental and physical development of the child, whilst also preparing them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in modern Britain.

Verity Ferrant leads teaching, learning &
assessment across the schools

Latest (July 2016) percentage of pupils
making at least expected progress in… 

  • Skills for life 87%
  • More than expected 43%
  • Emotional wellbeing 92%
  • More than expected 64%
  • Reading 90%
  • More than expected 59%
  • Writing 84%
  • More than expected 41%
  • Mathematics 92%
  • More than expected 41%
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