Acorn Centre

The Acorn Centre

The Acorn Centre, previously known as Dukinfield Children’s Centre, is a separate and distinct part of Oakdale School and offers information, training and support around Early Years and Special Educational Needs for practitioners within Early Years settings and families of children with additional needs.

How does the Acorn Centre support practitioners within PVIs?

We provide professional development opportunities and support at the Acorn Centre for the Private and Voluntary and Independent Sector.  We offer and development and support package each school term.  It consists of

Come & See excellent practitioners supporting children with additional needs / disabilities accessing continuous provision and directed activities during a school morning. Focus for the session –

• How children with differing needs (a range of complex needs), can access continuous provision.

• How children with differing needs are supported through the use of continuous provision.

• The use of total communication strategies to support access to continuous provision.

• The use of staff as facilitators for learning in particular finding the balance between independence autonomy and support.

• Proactive management of behaviour

Come and See sessions will provide practitioners with the opportunity to directly observe, question and experience High Quality Early Years Practice in a real context.  Observe outstanding practice delivered by real teachers in a range of settings with time for discussion and reflection.

Development and training opportunity for half a day or twilight session for a maximum of 10 practitioners.  The development and support opportunities offered to PVIs have included ‘An awareness of the importance of positive behaviour management’, ‘An introduction to the use of visuals’ and ‘An introduction to Autism and associated learning difficulties. 

We also offer a large scale twilight training.  This supports a maximum of 60 practitioners.  A twilight opportunity in 2016 enabled practitioners to develop skills and knowledge about Sensory Processing.

All development and support opportunities are planned from questionnaire feedback from PVIs and evaluations of the support offered for future ideas of training.

We also offer a bespoke package of support with a lead practitioner visiting PVI settings to work in partnership with PVI Managers, Tameside EY team and Pupils Support Services, CLASS/BLIS/Sensory team to offer a coaching style approach within the setting

For further information please contact Vicky Jarvis at Oakdale.

vicky.jarvis[at] or 0161 367 9299

Please search on Tameside EY training web page within Tameside local offer for an up to date development and support booklet with booking form for the opportunities.

What is Stay & Play at Acorn Centre?

The Stay and Play sessions provided at the Acorn Centre support a multi-agency approach working with parents / carers and other agencies. As part of the session we provide a play plan which focusses on one area of development.  A number of different play ideas that can support with achieving the target are modelled. The Stay and Play opportunities have supported play activities with the parent / carer and child, sharing the fun ways to support their child at home and helping them to learn and develop.  The play plan is regularly reviewed with the parents in order to record successes, note progress and support next steps.   In addition this helps parents to develop their thoughts about aspirations for their child’s future.  

How can I make a referral?

A referral can come from the Tameside EY SEN panel.  Please see local offer for the SEND EY Pathway of provision and support.

A lead professional running a CAF or a multidisciplinary plan, do and review process person centred approach for SEN support can make a referral to Acorn Centre.

Please see attached stay and play information and referral form.

What is Sunbeam group?

The Sunbeam group was established after the Sunshine group based at Rowan House finished.  The Sunbeam group supports parents, families and carers to meet other families in a similar situation and have a coffee and a chat, whilst building new networks of support.

Acorn Centre staff provide opportunities for signposting, sharing good advice and practice, as well as a range of activities for the children.

Sunbeams group is held every Tuesday Afternoon 1pm-3pm, term time only at the:

Acorn Centre
Yew Tree Lane
SK16 5LD

(turn into Yew Tree school the Acorn Centre is at the bottom of the car park)

You can contact staff on:

0161 367 9299 asking for Julie or Jane

Mobile 07966717007

Email:      jane.young[at]

Supporting community groups

The Acorn Centre has provided the venue for a variety of community groups including Ducklings from T21 Network, Vision and Hearing Impaired Mums and Tots group, Toddler Talk sessions, Tameside Carers Centre assessments, Tameside EY Sen Panel and Paediatricians medical appointments, and dietician clinics.

Can I hold a family support group at the Acorn centre?

If you would like to hold a group at The Acorn Centre and support local families within Tameside to support their child/children with additional needs, we would love to hear from you.

Please contact Vicky Jarvis at Oakdale School

vicky.jarvis[at]  or 0161 367 9299