Meet the Team


Principal – Robert Bates

My name is Rob Bates and I am the Principal here at Acorn Park.

I have always been clear in my 28 years of working in this sector of employment, the Children and Young People come first and that is non-negotiable.

We strive to provide an education that stimulates our Children and Young People, allows them to create identities, be innovative in their thinking and progress to sustainable outcomes.

We provide our Children and Young People with a home, not a house, not a unit, not a room, but a home, and what we should provide is what we would expect our own children to receive and more.

The strapline on the Acorn Park website is one of the things that made my decision easy to come here, ‘making a difference everyday’ my hashtag on my own twitter page, has always been ‘make a difference everyday’ that should be standard.

Our Children and Young People deserve the best, we should not and will not become complacent in our responsibilities to ensure our Children and Young people are safeguarded and made to feel safe.

We have a great team of staff here at Acorn Park and together we want to create a place that is a first choice for those needing the Education and Care we offer.

Please feel free to contact me if you wish to chat, I am passionate about what we do here and maybe in some way you can be part of that.


Head of Education – Arabella Hardy

Arabella has worked with young people across a broad spectrum to support them in finding the best possible outcomes and employability status that they can achieve. She is experienced within the special educational needs sector and takes a holistic approach to education, whereby children aren’t just encouraged to achieve their academic potential. They also learn vital skills that will help them engage in learning and prepare them for life.

“The immediate thing that attracted me to the school was the location and the grounds enabling the students to have the space and freedom that they need.

Acorn Park is a wonderful school where all students are accepted, respected, supported and encouraged to be the best that they possibly can be and to develop and celebrate their individual future aspirations and lifelong goals.

From walking through the gates I immediately realised that I wanted to be part of the Acorn Park School community. The trans-disciplinary approach to education, care and therapy all working seamlessly together is fundamental when working with children with so many different complex needs.

I enjoy being part of a committed senior leadership team with all staff from teachers, high level teaching assistants, learning support assistants, duty managers, seniors, support staff and the excellent therapy team, domestic and facilities, all working together for the common goal of all the students.

I think the children best sum up why I come to school each morning, in our last Ofsted inspection the students said the following;

“We are proud of our school and we like coming to school, as school understands our Autism and the range of challenges we experience and how to best support them in our learning.”