Dibden Park School

Known locally as ‘The Manor’, Dibden Park School was built 125 years ago by a family who imported and exported tobacco from Southampton docks.

Outcomes First Group bought the building in January 2023 and started work to renovate it into a school. Matthew Robinson was appointed as Head Teacher in May 2023 and immediately started to interview everyone on Teams from his kitchen table because he wasn’t allowed to go to the school during the renovation works.

Ofsted arrived on the 18th of July and everything moved at such a fast pace. Everyone started on the 4th of September and completed the company induction before gathering at the school for further training.

“I am overwhelmingly lucky to have such a tight-knit and high-performing team. The team is made up of mixed experienced SEMH colleagues and teaching assistants who have never worked in a school before but simply displayed their eagerness to work with amazing pupils.

We’ve used our environment to create an amazing educational setting. Within 10 minutes of being in the car, we’re in the middle of the New Forest, at the beach, or the outdoor education centre where Simon White, our Outdoor Education Leader, takes our pupils climbing and to do archery.

We’ve even brought the forest into the school by designing our school uniform to match it. We have New Forest animals on the walls and our classrooms are named after New Forest towns and villages. The aim is for pupils to get involved in the community their class is named after and engage with that community.

Our pupils interact with each other all the time, with younger children having breakfast and lunch with older children and the last lesson being an enrichment activity, which is mixed too. We’ve seen relationships blossom because of this approach.”

Matthew Robinson, Head Teacher

One of the schools proudest outcomes so far is regarding a year 9 pupil. Dibden Park School was her 9th school and she had previously been out of education for 18 months.

At the beginning, her mum would have to join her in the classroom, then gradually, she moved into the canteen and now mum stays at home while her daughter is at school full time. Her progress has been remarkable, and she is now attending school full-time without her mum’s support.

“Lola is really a different child since attending Dibden park. She has grown up so much and seems to be able to self regulate much more easily, she thoroughly enjoys her time at school and is ready and waiting every morning to go. Its lovely to see her so positive and keen to go to an educational setting, with staff that support her and that she trusts… I can’t thank you all enough.”


What’s next for Dibden?

Matthew shared the next steps for Dibden “We’ll be growing our pupil numbers. We currently operate a primary model (one teacher per class who teaches everything), and as our pupil numbers grow, we will roll out a secondary model of education (different teachers for each subject). We opened our doors with 8 pupils in September and now we have 17. We aim to grow to 60 pupils over the next 2 years.”

You can find out more about Dibden Park School and their offer here.

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