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

Our leaders, therapists and educationalists work seamlessly together to teach and proactively support pupils who have endured (and endure) adverse childhood experiences, including trauma, toxic stress and associated mental health difficulties.

Drawing upon innovative methodologies, our effective and consistent provision aims to break the cycle of adversity for pupils and their families. 

  • The safety of our pupils is our absolute priority; it always comes first
  • Our multi-disciplinary team works together as one, supported and challenged by an expert governing body
  • Our therapy-centred, values-driven curriculum facilitates pupils' holistic progress over time
  • Our endlessly positive, 'structured but flexible' approach improves pupils' behaviour over time
  • As a responsible, ethical and aware organisation and employer, we are committed, including as Stonewall Champions, to equality for all.


Nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of our pupils. Our designated safeguarding lead 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 ONLINE SAFETY policy EVERY CHILD's RIGHTs

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 is our drama therapist. Drama therapy works with the pupils' 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 and storytelling, using objects, art materials, poetry and creative writing.

  • PLAY


    Tim Hudson 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


    Therese Vella is our speech and language therapist. She conducts assessments of pupils’ communication skills and plans personalised one-to-one and classroom interventions as needed. 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


    Joy Hunt 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. Joy 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.



    Sally Madley is our integrative counsellor and psychotherapist. She offers a flexible therapeutic approach based on the needs of the individual pupil. Counselling is a form of ‘talking therapy’, but rather than offering advice, a counsellor encourages the pupil to talk about what’s bothering them in order to help manage difficult feelings and find ways of coping. Sally works in a child-led way and may use creative approaches to help pupils express themselves without verbal communication. Sally works across classrooms, in scheduled 1:1 sessions and on a drop-in basis to encourage pupils' emotional regulation.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

    EDUCATIONAL Psychology

    Becky Hills is our educational psychologist. She works closely with both therapists and teachers in order to assess our pupils’ needs, develop strategies to addresses them, and help staff implement these strategies. Becky regularly meets with our families, providing another vital link between home and school and encouraging the consistent use of successful techniques with individual pupils.

  • 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.

Laura Quick leads teaching, learning &
assessment across the schools

Latest (09.17 to 12.17) percentage of current
pupils making at least expected progress in… 

  • Skills for life 96%
  • More than expected 35%
  • Emotional wellbeing 87%
  • More than expected 41%
  • Reading 94%
  • More than expected 28%
  • Writing 94%
  • More than expected 26%
  • Mathematics 91%
  • More than expected 24%
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