Forest School

British Forest Schools were developed and adapted from an original concept devised in Sweden in the 1950s which became popular and spread throughout Europe. The Forest School ethos is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences. Overley Hall became a Forest School in 2008 and we have qualified Forest School Practitioners amongst our staff. Within our grounds we have two woodland areas containing a wide variety of trees, flora, fauna, fungi and a large pond to explore. It is particularly in these areas and throughout the grounds where specially tailored forest school sessions are carried out for all young people placed with us. These classes form part of the school timetable, though forest school sessions also take place during weekends and school holidays. Forest School sessions can be particularly advantageous for young people with autism and learning disabilities who often respond positively to multi-sensory activities and opportunities to experience outdoor learning alongside indoor classroom sessions.


Hyrotherapy Pool

The main building contains the school’s own heated hydrotherapy pool fitted with light and audio sensory equipment.


Sensory Rooms

Overley Hall School has three sensory rooms including white & dark relaxation spaces all fitted with light and audio sensory equipment.


Walled Garden

Our large, walled kitchen garden is used to grow fresh produce all year round, some of which is used in the school kitchens. In addition, we keep chickens. The children and adults in our care are given opportunities to be involved in the maintenance of the garden and care of the chickens; this can help individuals to develop a wide range of skills and knowledge, both practical and personal, from team and social skills, to biology and horticulture.

In 2013, Overley Hall was awarded a Heart of England in Bloom Gold Award in the ‘School Grounds’ category and we were very proud to achieve the highest score in the region.

Images of presentation ceremony HERE.

A great deal of work is done on the grounds by our weekly Garden Club for visiting adults with learning disabilities from across the county. The Garden Club is ably led by horticultural expert, Martin Ford.

More details on Garden Club HERE.

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Coach House & Soft Play Room

Overley Hall’s converted Coach House is used for a wide range of events and activities, from special occasions and assemblies, to indoor sports activities and performances.

It is regularly used for in house staff training and can be hired by external organisations as a training or meeting venue; if you are interested in hiring the space, please contact us HERE.

Part of the Coach House has been converted into a large soft play room housing extensive soft play equipment, a swing and ball pit.


Farm Shop

Overley Hall Farm Shop is designed to give children and adults with learning disabilities many and varied opportunities to be involved in every part of the process of creating produce and products to be sold in the shop;    from planting, growing, tending and harvesting, to crafts, woodworking, cooking, baking and more. In addition it will build positive links with local communities and create valuable opportunities for our students and residents to interact with members of the public and further develop their social, numeracy, organisational, team working and many other skills whilst running the shop.

The focus of the products sold in the shop will be mostly ‘Home Grown’ and ‘Hand Made’ and the stock will change with the seasons, including  fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits and salads grown in our gardens , as well as decorative seasonal items, potted plants, preserves & chutneys, cakes, biscuits and more. As part of the development process of creating the shop we will be taking our temporary ‘pop up’ version to various farmers’ and other markets, fairs, festivals and events. We will inform you of these as they arise.

Work commenced on the 4th February 2015 on our new Farm Shop. Follow its progress on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Overley-Hall-Farm-Shop/303123633195334


Cinema/Performance Studio

Our on-site cinema space has many functions that benefit the children and young people placed with us.

It is fully equipped with audio-visual facilities, including retractable screen, sound system, various lighting effects and movable auditorium seating. As a screening room it can be used for educational and leisure purposes for students to participate in social group activities such as watching programmes, films and playing computer games together, birthday parties and other special events, etc. For some students it can be used as an initial step towards attending film screenings at larger public cinemas.

As a studio space it can be used for classes, rehearsals, small scale performances and sensory sessions/play.

Future development plans include the installation of interactive sensory equipment.

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