Welcome To White Trees Independent School

WhiteTrees Residential is the hub of our care service and along with our schools forms the core of our business, we provide for the young people’s needs whilst they are with us.


Executive Head Teacher

Laura Bull

At White Trees school we focus on providing specialist onsite and offsite education services. What we do is very bespoke to the child’s needs and we would expect you to have specific questions around your child’s requirements, I would like to extend an invitation to speak with you to answer these questions and can be contacted on the number or e-mail address below.

To start our introduction the White Trees pupils have put an Acronym together which I would like to share:

W onderful
E xcellent
L ovely
C lever
O utstanding
M agnificent                                 

What we do is very bespoke to the child’s needs

We would expect you to have specific questions about your child’s requirements, I would like to extend an invitation to speak with you to answer these questions and can be contacted at the number or e-mail address below.

White Trees School

White Trees Independent School is a specialist provider of educational services delivering a nurturing environment that supports pupils’ needs enabling them to experience a rounded and balanced education. 

Open for Business Since 2013

Based in Hertfordshire we were originally opened in 2013 for 6 pupils. This has since grown to take 59 pupils and from one site to three. This makes us an especially important part of the WhiteTrees Group which we plan to grow in parallel with the housing and residential expansion, plus, the local area authority needs, to accommodate more young people.

Pupil Centric Education

We put the pupil’s educational requirements first and don’t try to fit them into a generic system that has already failed to identify and support their educational needs. Many of our pupils have been let down and disappointed time and time again.  

Pupil Assessment 

We understand that past learning may have included episodes leading to disaffection and that many young people arriving at White Trees might have undiagnosed learning difficulties. We offer a full service of educational psychological assessment and an individual programme for each child which, where appropriate, includes a vocational study to help our young people to be ready for opportunities for employment. We aim to ensure that learning can be creative, adventurous, fun, diverse and, most of all, successful.

Pupil Engagement

White Trees has been able to engage with all its pupils and offers an education to meet the most complex of their needs. To do this, we have created and focused daily on three main  areas of support:

    • Meeting the pupil’s emotional needs first
    • Creating positive relationships 
    • Delivering a high-quality curriculum, planning, and teaching experience

We have a range of bandings to cover the level of service we provide, to find out more please contact us and we will be pleased to create a plan specifically for your needs and share the detail of our banding approach.

How we work

Our referral processes.

When dealing with our clients the essence of how we work is personal contact and flexibility, that said here is an overview of our typical referral process.

  • SEN (Special Education Needs) caseworker approaches the school, usually by emailing the Head Teacher. 
  • An invitation to consult to consider a placement for a pupil is made.  
  • Further information is regularly required from both sides and communicated via email.
  • If the Head Teacher is going to formally consider a placement, then a visit by the Pathway to the Classroom Lead will be made – for us to meet the prospective pupil and the family.
  • Head Teacher will formally respond within 15 days.
  • If a placement is considered appropriate and needs can be met a formal offer will be issued.  that will include the length of time the offer is open for.
  • Once a placement has been considered and formally accepted, an admissions agreement will be issued with a formal start date. 

Flexible Classroom Solutions On and Off Site.

White Trees offers both on and off-site learning locations; students on site could be in a classroom of up to six other pupils,
whilst off site would be 1 to 1 or 1 to 2. 

Our goal is to encourage inclusion and work towards our pupils learning in one location together.

This as a key teaching within the school, to enable a young person to become socially resilient to normal day-to-day learning and life in general. 

A Typical Day for our teachers and pupils at White Trees School

8.30 am

Staff members are expected to arrive, many of them will be there well before then.  Every morning the team will have a morning brief to discuss the students, logistics and to share information from the Homes. The morning brief is imperative to the smooth running of the day, as it allows staff to pre-empt behaviours and have contingency plans in place.  

8.45-9:15 am 

The classrooms are set up ready for the students to arrive, our staff undertake a safeguarding sweep of the school to ensure any potential sharp or dangerous items are identified and locked away.  Breakfast will be prepared by the onsite cooking Teacher.  Tutors who are working off site with their pupils will leave by 9am and head to meetings with their pupils.

9.15 am

Pupils arrive, they will be greeted by staff and all members of the team will be engaging with them and ready for the day.  Pupils will eat breakfast together with the staff team. Following breakfast many of them will play a game of table tennis or table football before the lessons begin.  Tutors working off site with their pupils will have a bespoke timetable designed for them and do what is appropriate to start the day, they do often finish with Physical Education at the end of each day.

9:45 am

Lessons begin, they are made up of half hour Periods throughout the morning, this is to keep the student’s concentration levels optimal.  


Students will have two 20-minute breaks and a half hour lunch break.  

1.00 pm 

Due to the importance we place on physical education and the benefits it has for our pupils mental health, every afternoon we take part in a PE Lesson.  We have a wide selection available including, Swimming, Badminton, Basketball, Football, and Hockey.  In addition, the pupils can also attend the Gym and follow bespoke fitness programmes dependent on their goals.  These PE Sessions take place at local gyms and sports centres so being able to drive is essential.  

3.00 pm

Pupils will finish their day and the team will meet to review the pupils .  It’s a great time to be able to reflect on the day, highlight any positives and any areas which need improving.  After the meeting has finished staff will spend the remainder of the time preparing for the next day and completing the Learning Journals for Each pupil.  The learning Journals evidence the work the students complete and link to our pathways and the National Curriculum. 

Staff are required to stay until 4:30pm but many will stay later dependent on their workload or what is being prepared in School for the Next day.  

A day In general

Due to the escalating behaviours of some of our young people it is imperative that we are able to offer small class sizes and 1-1 support in some cases.  The ever-changing dynamics of a day means you will be on your feet and very active throughout the course of a day.  

Staff at WhiteTrees are regularly supported by SLT and Directors which helps to create a great sense of being involved in a tight knit team.  Staff are required to support each other to ensure boundaries are set, in order to keep the young people safe.  

Pupil Pathways

The teachers at White Trees School have created a curriculum and education plan in the form of a Pupil Pathway. The Pathway covers the full national curriculum and is designed as a 5-year curriculum in a wide range of subjects. The Pathway program leads directly into further qualifications and in addition accounts for pupils with below age-related levels, incorporating objectives from upper KS2. The Pathway also includes a deep and wide offer of learning and development beyond academic, vocational or technical abilities through PSHCEE (Personal, Social, Health, Economic & Citizenship Economic Education) and Social Skills pathways. Pupils learn about career paths, social skills, character, attitudes and other areas that will support them to succeed in life after they leave White Trees. 

Pupils, at the end of Year 9, are given the opportunity to choose their options/qualifications for KS4 – they can choose 4 subjects to study in addition to their compulsory subjects (see options table, column highlighted in yellow).  Other certificates/opportunities that are available are listed and when combined offer a rounded approach to the child’s education. 


In order to develop pupils beyond the academic, vocational and technical skills on offer we work diligently and robustly to support and develop our pupils’ emotional needs, their understanding of the world and their ability to cope, contribute and succeed in their community once leaving school. 

This is simplified into our three levels of approach:

  • A therapeutic approach (pre-emptive and reactive)
  • Social, emotional and behavioural interventions (educational, pre-emptive and reactive)
  • Education and experiences

White Trees Independent School Options

White Trees currently offers qualifications in: 

• Functional Skills (English, Maths, ICT)
• Options of 14 BTEC’s
• Duke of Edinburgh
• Paddle power star award canoeing
• Paddle power kayaking
• NICAS climbing level 1
• ASDAN Short courses in Life-skills challenge, Animal Care, Personal Finance
• GCSEs (English, Maths, Science)

Values, attitudes, and personal development

Social and emotional development is central to our curriculum and ethos. Breakfast, break time, lunch and PSHCEE are focal points for the facilitation of this development; however, it is acutely important that social and emotional learning is embedded throughout the entire day. 

Developing our pupils’ social skills and teaching them about healthy living, preparing them for life in modern Britain and enabling them to make positive life choices is of considerable importance. A weekly formal lesson of PSHCEE is not enough in a school setting such as ours, which is why we have an embedded values-centred curriculum and family-style mealtimes where possible. 

We also link PSHCEE and Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural Development (SMSC) across the curriculum. 

We aim to develop all pupils’: 

Spiritual Development (s)

  • Ability to be reflective about themselves 
  • Use of imagination and creativity in their learning 
  • Willingness to reflect on their experiences

Moral Development (s)

  • Understanding of right and wrong 
  • Respect for the rule of law in modern Britain 
  • Understanding of the consequences of their behaviour and actions

Social Development (s)

  • Use of a range of social skills in different contexts 
  • Willingness to participate, learn to cooperate well with others and being able to resolve conflicts effectively 
  • Understanding of and engagement with the fundamental British values of democracy, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs 

Cultural Development (s)

  • Understanding and appreciation of the range of different cultures within school, in London and in the United Kingdom 
  • Knowledge of Britain’s democratic parliamentary system 
  • Positive participation to artistic, sporting and cultural opportunities 
  • Improving understanding of and showing respect for different faiths and cultural diversity

British values

WhiteTrees School incorporates the promotion of its values through PSHCEE lessons and at any other appropriate opportunities throughout the school year. Each half-term we highlight a different set of values, explore what they mean and why they are important for us as a school and as part of a wider community

Our WhiteTrees education values: 

  • Form the basis for learning conversations around the school 
  • Contribute to the planning and content of discrete and formal PSHCEE lessons 
  • Teach PSHCEE formally at KS3 & 4, following our own Scheme of Work in accordance our whole school values curriculum which emphasises:
    • Developing our confidence and making the most of our abilities, including setting ourselves goals and celebrating achievements 
    • Preparing to play an active role as citizens and developing our awareness of the importance of the communities to which we belong 
    • Developing a healthy, safer lifestyle and knowing how to stay safe online 
    • Developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people

Behaviour & Personal Development

As a school that caters for pupils with extremely complex needs, often the result of experiencing trauma during their early years, it is imperative to identify the root cause of any behaviour in order to support their social and emotional needs. Therefore, it is of the highest importance that policies surrounding behaviour and supporting emotional needs are flexible, effective and centered on building positive relationships and being endlessly positive. 

Some of our pupils may also have histories of rejection and exclusion from previous educational settings. To support them and meet their needs, they are often taught by us 1:1 in satellite locations and work towards being able to access a small classroom environment when they are ready. 

To ensure this is effective, we have a well organised and supportive team who use a combination of strategies to support, encourage and reward behaviour that is conducive to learning and focuses on achievements and values wherever possible.

Many of our pupils have not experienced secure attachments throughout their early years and developing positive relationships with staff members can help to make up for some of the social and emotional development that has been missed. 

Each pupil is supported differently but the key principles for all support include:

  • Unconditional positive regard for our pupils and everyone we work with
  • Caring relationships with staff that are underpinned by positive support, appropriate boundaries and empathy 
  • Consideration of any need that is not being met and the possible years of difficulty that has led the pupil to their current situation and level of need
  • Communication that is clear, consistent and positive (or in some cases, appropriately passive)
  • Consistency in support, interactions and (high) expectations for behaviour and learning – being predictable is very important
  • Co-operation with pupils to explore their emotions and reflect on how they may have been feeling and working together to overcome challenges or difficult behaviours

These principles are important whether pupils are supported in classrooms onsite or at a satellite location using our ‘Classroom in a Bag’. 

WhiteTrees “Class Dojo our Classroom
in a bag”

Class dojo is a classroom based, electronic positive behaviour management tool, where we evidence and award pupils with points rewarding them when they demonstrate desired positive behaviour.  

At the end of the day/week their points are displayed in a pie chart, where it acts as a visual representation of their achievements for the week.  It is a secure set up where only key professionals, staff and parents can access/view the progress – on receipt of an invitation.  

Integration with Local Communities

Meeting our pupil’s complex needs is of paramount importance, we passionately believe that education knows no boundaries and can be provided anywhere, not just within the four walls of a classroom. We focus on developing the ‘whole child’ not simply academic progress or the goal of achieving qualifications. This ensures our pupils are truly made ready for life after school by developing their social skills, character and attitudes to help them be positive members of their communities. 

We work hard to encourage community involvement, whether helping a local café by maintaining their allotment or inviting the Fire Service and Police to present informative talks to the pupils.

Success to Date

We have succeeded in developing a pathway for education delivery for each of our pupils and in some cases progressing pupils on to further education, employment or providing additional training for those who were unable to access other forms of education.

This success is credited to our team, building relationships with our pupils, our  nurturing environment, the extensive work on the pupils social and emotional needs, close working partnership and communication with parents/carers/external agencies plus the extensive planning and logistics considered  daily.

We liaise efficiently with the teams around the pupil, ensuring those who have EHCP’s (Education Health Care Plan) are reviewed annually, meeting their personalised outcomes/aims and completing PEP’s (Personal Education Plan) to a high standard. Furthermore, we regularly assess the pupils to determine where they have gaps in their knowledge and understanding – therefore creating bespoke Schemes of Work to bridge those gaps. 

We are a School Champion with Stonewall

Stonewall was founded on 24 May 1989, one year since Section 28 became law. Section 28 was a piece of legislation that banned the ‘promotion of homosexuality by schools and councils across the UK and led to total suppression of LGBTQ+ identities in schools.

Becoming a Stonewall-approved school will support our teachers by supplying them with resources, support, and teaching aids to deliver a broad and diverse curriculum. It also provides the opportunity for staff to be trained and provides prospects for continual professional development.
Lessons will be incorporated during RSE and taught over significant sustained periods of time, with progress evidenced by pupils’ individualised learning framework. Our PSHCE Lead will break the RSE pathway down into what will be taught at which Key Stage.
Our Head Teacher, Laura Bull commented ” We are proud to be a Stonewall School Champion, we are committed to providing a robust quality of education – with equality and diversity being at the forefront of our practice” 
For further information on Stonewall please visit their website: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/schools-colleges

Testimonial from parent

Having a child with complex needs is challenging and sometimes you can feel quite alone. Since our son has been attending WhiteTrees school I cannot express how happy I am with his progress and educational growth.

WhiteTrees has been like a big family to us who have genuinely cared for our son and their other students and want the very best for each and every child to reach their full potential.

I feel so supported as a parent and the regular communication between home and the school has been outstanding.

Laura Bull the head teacher of WhiteTrees really goes above and beyond and has been a massive support for not just our son but to me too, it is good to feel supported and be part of this wonderful school community.

Parent of child attending the school

Working with us

We are constantly looking for good team members to join WhiteTrees education. Your working journey can be as varied as you like and span a whole range of job functions within our group disciplines and not just within the schools. 

We encourage self-development and progression through a mentoring program and provide a structure of learning that we support and reward once the various levels are achieved.


Executive Head Teacher – Laura Bull
Contact e-mail: laura.bull@whitetrees-school.com

Contact Us

Use the form to contact us and a member of our team will get back to you asap. 

White Trees Independent School

13a London Rd
Bishop's Stortford
CM23 5NA

White Trees Independent School Enquires