New autism specialist school now open

Glasgow school first secondary in the UK to be named a “digital school”

Kelvinside Academy has won the race to become the first senior school in the UK and Ireland to earn a prestigious Digital Schools Award. Digital Schools Awards commended the Glasgow school’s ambitious and innovative approach to education, which has created a strong digital culture and solidified its reputation as a centre of modern learning and teaching.

A brand-new specialist school to support children and young people who are on the autism spectrum has now opened.

The school, Brookways School London, in North Cheam, Sutton, is the latest to be opened by Kedleston Group, providing education and support for boys and girls who may have complex needs.

The independent specialist school offers places to children aged between seven and 16 with autism, including Asperger’s Syndrome, higher functioning autism, social emotional and mental health issues, ADHD and other challenges.

Head Teacher Melanie Whitfield is an experienced ASC practitioner and her vision for Brookways is for it to provide a vibrant learning space where up to 40 children can achieve their full potential. Additional therapeutic support such as including occupational therapy and speech and language therapy will be available “in-house”.

She said: “We are very lucky here at Brookways. We have a really experienced team who have worked extensively with young people on the autism spectrum and their families to create educational environments and plans which suit the individual needs of the child.

“Before opening Brookways, we worked with our architects and building teams to ensure we created learning spaces which are calm and welcoming, and which take into account the sensory and other needs of the children learning here.

“Classes here at Brookways are small and the curriculum, broadly following the National Curriculum, is tailored to individual needs and interests, but with a focus on supporting children to achieve meaningful qualifications and learning skills to support life outside of school and to move into further education and work. Social and communication skills are embedded in the curriculum with timetabled lessons focusing on social skills, turn taking, listening and responding.”

The award, promotes excellence in digital learning and teaching across the curriculum and aims to equip pupils with cutting-edge digital skills that can be transferred to the world of work. The body, which initially recognised only primary schools, made Kelvinside Academy’s junior school one of the first Digital Schools last year. Now the Awards have been rolled out to secondary schools across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland, with Kelvinside Academy again leading the way.

Rector Ian Munro said: “We are thrilled to have been recognised as the first ever Digital School in the UK and Ireland. It’s a huge honour. “At Kelvinside Academy, we have a desire to innovate across all areas of education, and we work hard to be as open-minded and curious as possible, so we can embrace new methods and technologies. This gives our pupils the tools to make an impact in an ever-changing, inter-connected world.

”Our head of eLearning Joanna Maclean has been instrumental to this success as she has been the driving force behind digitally enhanced learning at Kelvinside.”

Backstage bid for university status

Yorkshire’s Backstage Academy is set to become the UK’s first live events university. Specialising in live events education, degree courses run by Backstage Academy at Production Park in South Kirkby are currently validated by the University of Bolton.

Backstage Academy has already earned itself a world class reputation for training production managers, sound engineers, lighting designers, guitar technicians, riggers, carpenters and tour managers with students experiencing first hand life on the road during their studies and graduates getting jobs with leading world venues and acts. Now the academy has embarked upon the two-year Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP)

process to enable them to award degrees in their own right. If approved, the university could be up and running by 2020, making it not only the first university for Wakefield, but the first for live events in the UK/world.

Backstage Academy MD, Glen Rowe, said: “The process takes a long time, but things are going really well and, when complete, we will have the world’s first live events touring university.”

The new university will be dedicated to the live events industry with courses likely to range from a general overview of touring production to specific areas such as sound and lighting. Plans are currently being drawn up for new world-class


facilities for the university which will be located at the heart of Production Park, where Backstage Academy currently is, alongside independent companies specialising in tour production, staging and set design. January 2018

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