Specialist education provider recognised in two national awards

Life programme team at TCES East London

The LIFE programme team at TCES East London celebrate being shortlisted in the Children and Young People Now Awards 2021. - Credit: TCES

A specialist education provider has been recognised in two national awards for its work to prepare pupils for adulthood and employment. 

TCES was judged to have the most innovative special needs intervention for its LIFE programme at the 2021 National SEND Awards.

The independent group runs two schools, including TCES East London in Stratford, and services including Create Learning in Custom House and Barking.

LIFE - which stands for leadership, independence skills, future options and employability, empowerment - has also been shortlisted in the personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) category of the national Children and Young People Now Awards.

The programme offers pupils opportunities to be recognised for what they can contribute, to take on new responsibilities such as peer mentoring and have a timetabled space to explore their dreams, goals and aspirations.

National SEND Awards chair Richard Daniel Curtis said:  “The judges felt the embedding of peer mentoring as personal development opportunities for pupils who have so often experienced failure was a very innovative approach and one that has been well thought out as a progression route for their young people.”

Former TCES East London pupil Maison Clay trained as a peer mentor through the LIFE programme before going on to become a full-time staff member at the school.

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Maison, who is an alumni learning mentor and also part of the TCES marketing team, said: “I know what a difference the LIFE programme made to me.

“I arrived at TCES East London having been excluded, feeling like I would never find a school that would accept me for who I am and the things I could offer to a school. 

“Training to be a peer mentor let me turn a corner and use my experience to help other pupils who were struggling.”

The programme has been developed entirely by teachers and other professionals working within the TCES schools. 

TCES chief executive Thomas Keaney said: “For most pupils, our LIFE programme provides the very first opportunity they will have had to gain a positive perception of themselves as someone who can lead change, support others and contribute their talents for the benefit of the whole school community."