Making a difference
authority – a process which can be difficult as Dave
and lindsay Taylor found out, when they applied for
was the first
a place for son Benjamin in 2004. The couple moved
from london to Hampshire to be near the school, but
had to go to a tribunal as their local authority refused to
fund their son’s education at Treloar’s.
mr Taylor remembers it as an unpleasant experience
to be granted
and they had to home-school Benjamin, who is now
13, until the panel granted their funding. a mainstream
specialist status for
school or state special school was not an option
because of Benjamin’s complex needs. He suffers from
quadriplegic cerebral palsy, cannot speak, and has a
physical and sensory
gastrostomy, which requires him to be fed via a tube
in his stomach.
needs. Helen Kaut
Benjamin likes the fact that he is not the only
disabled teenager at the school and that able-bodied
reports on the work of this
people are in the minority, as mr Taylor explained: “at
Treloar’s it’s just normal. He also thinks that it is just a
fantastic special school
safe place that enables his education. and the therapists
who are there do such a fantastic job that he actually
enjoys being at school.”
lessons finish at 4pm and from 4.30 to 5.20pm
ir William Purdie Treloar, a former students can take part in extra-curricular activities
mayor of london, founded Treloar’s such as music, drama and sports, including boccia or
School and College in 1906. His vision table cricket. Boarding students can also participate in
was to create a hospital and college for evening activities such as sports and discos.
london’s disabled children, in those Benjamin loves swimming in the school’s pool,
days a pioneering concept. Two years something he would not be able to do elsewhere without
later he acquired the buildings and the the hoists to get him safely in and out of the water. He
first children benefited from Treloar’s educational and also likes the fact that he is not talked down to.
medical provisions. His father knows that his son may not achieve
Today, Treloar’s caters for 40 different types of nationally recognised qualification including entry level assistant head Gill Bushby said: “What i like about GCSEs because of his complex communication needs
disability, in most cases cerebral palsy and muscular certificates and GCSEs. working here is the ability to really get to know the – he communicates by pointing with his eyes. However,
dystrophy. The school has 92 students aged eight to 16, Treloar’s staff consists of 23 teachers, 26 therapists, students. Because you’ve got small classes, you can since Benjamin has joined Treloar’s he has improved
while 160 students attend the college which is situated and four learning support assistants (lSas). it has plan for each student’s needs, personalise a timetable, noticeably. His favourite subjects are history, science
at a different site in Holybourne. its own medical officer and deputy and a 24-hour and really feel you’re making a difference.” and geography. His reading has improved and he can
Some children are residential boarders between medical centre with a team of nurses. in 1987, Treloar’s Treloar’s focuses on what students can do, not what communicate clearly to the people working with him.
monday and Friday, while the rest attend Treloar’s introduced its own on-site rehabilitation Unit which they can’t. Staff are dedicated to meet the individual The Taylors think of Treloar’s as an extended family
during the day. Treloar’s teaches the national curriculum, invents, builds, fits and repairs bespoke mobility and student’s needs by first creating an individual learning and have made friends with other parents. mr Taylor
and offers its students the opportunity to obtain a communication equipment for students. Plan. This is shared and discussed with the parents at likes the fact that Treloar’s teaches the curriculum and
termly meetings. praises its teaching methods and the access it gives his
Taking the lead: HTI
The classes are very small, with between five and son to new technology.
11 students, depending on the complexity of their “Benjamin needs to feel that he is having fun in
needs. Every class has lSas, occupational therapists, the classroom. His teachers have been able to integrate
physiotherapists, and speech and language therapists to fun with learning very well. The integrated, multi-
What makes a good teacher?
help them during the lessons. lessons last 40 minutes, disciplinary approach is absolutely fantastic and he
with many breaks for the students to return to the is currently trialling an eye-gaze technology called
boarding houses for their personal care routine. The myTobii, which basically correlates the pattern of eye-
lunch break is 90 minutes, to enable plenty of time for movement with a camera embedded in a screen. it’s
Anne Evans asks
– sometimes conflicting – agendas, policies and students who rely on support for feeding. like learning a new language. Benjamin is very good at
priorities come into play. There are clearly defined Treloar’s has students of all abilities and this year it and seems to be making really good progress.”
that most illusive
goals, but no clearly defined boundaries. 11 students achieved GCSEs. The school is proud This year, Treloar’s School received an “outstanding”
Working in these complex situations requires that it has trained seven Paralympians, including three grade in every category in its Ofsted report and also
empathy and there is no better way of developing medallists in last year’s Beijing Games. achieved the status of specialist special school for
empathy than by stepping into someone else’s Treloar’s prepares students for life after school and physical and sensory needs.
shoes. Placements within partner agencies enhance makes sure they can live as independently as possible. Head Harry Dicks attributes these achievements
understanding of alternative cultures, pressure in the summer term it runs careers workshops for mainly to the staff. He said: “They are very committed
a FEW weeks ago i read a fascinating article about points and challenges, as well as the legal and school leavers, prepares them for interviews and makes and highly professional. We have a very good
the Harris Federation whose sponsor and boss of funding issues involved in the provision of extended funding applications to go to college (a place at the recruitment policy and very good training programmes.
Carpetright, lord Harris, has achieved a stunning services. school does not guarantee direct entry into Treloar’s it’s a very friendly place and we have a big multi-
turnaround in nine south london schools. He in short, they stretch the skills and understanding College, some students pursue other options). disciplinary team that works together extremely well.”
attributes his success to three things: good teachers, of the individual and strengthen relations. What the school provides first and foremost is in addition to teaching, Treloar’s reaches out to
strong discipline, and smart uniforms. i know that forging meaningful partnerships with confidence as ms Bushby points out: “The main thing other schools and helps them to assess their disabled
On the face of it, the correlation between good business has been a challenge for many schools and is to build up their independence and their confidence students’ needs, so they can stay in their community
teaching and pupil achievement is obvious. But what, this is where “brilliant brokerage” will make all the so even if they’ll never live completely on their own, and attend local schools. in 2011, Treloar’s Trust plans
exactly, makes a good teacher in these challenging difference. they feel able to give instructions to a carer, they feel to reduce the number of school students to 76 and move
times of seismic change? How do you develop at HTi, we are applying our minds to exactly able to express their opinions about things. if they are the school onto its college site in 2011, so both school
these super beings and super teams responsible for what brilliant brokerage entails and one thing is for very bright students, they feel empowered to make sure and college will form a single institution. SecEd
nurturing the aspirations, talents and skills of the sure: it will involve brilliant partnerships with many that they are considered for university and for jobs.”
citizens, parents, employees and wealth generators other education business organisations, as well as The school and its college are not maintained and • Helen Kaut is a freelance education journalist.
of tomorrow? new professional development offerings to promote rely on public support to sustain them. Patrons include
an effective CPD strategy needs to factor in interaction between schools and businesses. roger Black mBE and michael aspel.
a much broader range of considerations than ever i was delighted to see that anthony Salz, co-chair Parents can apply for funding with their local www.treloar.org.uk
before: the personal growth of the individual; the of the new Education and Employers Taskforce,
contribution to departmental and school improvement, endorsed the value of secondments as a means of
leadership and management; the development of building cross-sector relations, both for teachers and
multi-agency, community and business relationships; business employees. We have been offering these for
and above all, the impact it has on young people in almost 25 years!
raising aspirations and attainment and broadening my advice is to start small, be focused and
opportunities to understand and experience the world keep it manageable. Consider the staff who would
around them. benefit most from business-related professional
if we are to develop young people with innovative development – for example careers advisors, staff
minds, we need to make sure that teachers have responsible for delivering Diplomas, or the school
innovative minds too and that means pushing leader with responsibility for developing business
development experiences beyond the comfort zone relationships.
of education. Define development needs, objectives and
Every Child matters (ECm) and the government’s outcomes. Be realistic about time allocation and
recommendations and new framework for business whether staff can be released into a partner business,
education partnerships are two good cases in point. or whether development needs to be delivered on site.
Professor John West-Burnham talks about the need Even an hour a week of coaching and mentoring,
to continuously develop and change our personal and or a day a month spent with the business partner can
professional mindscapes; stop thinking about direct yield many benefits to children, staff and the school.
routes from a to B and explore the highways, byways more importantly, that initial, low-key but focused
and alternative routes; question, challenge and commitment will provide a springboard for deeper
confront the status-quo and prevailing orthodoxies. engagement.
This sort of mindscape is essential to delivering ECm
outcomes in partnership with other agencies. • Anne Evans OBE is chief executive of HTI, an
Effective partnership working is no easy task. independent social enterprise working to develop
We are into a whole new ball game when different exceptional school leaders. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Special education: Students enjoying life at Treloar’s School in Hampshire (here and above)
12 SecEd • December 3 2009
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