View from the classroom I

n our ever-popular View from the Classroom feature this month, we speak to

Renee Florentzou, Head of School, Learning for Life Campus, West Lea, to find out more about the work the school does helping its pupils ‘learn for life’, and how the skills taught at the school help them build confidence and allow them to move on to further education and ultimately the world of work.

Tell us about your school West Lea is a school in Edmonton, based over three campuses – Meridian, Haselbury and Learning for Life – catering for pupils aged 4 through to post-16 with special educational needs. Everything we do is focused on providing ‘learning for life’, where everyone is valued and included. Our ethos is centred on innovation, independence and inclusion and our aim is to equip each pupil with a ‘suitcase’ of skills to help them build the confidence and expertise to progress onto further education and into the world of work.

What do you consider your school’s strengths to be? We provide personalised learning, practical experience and hands-on opportunities that give

our pupils a pathway to independence and provide ‘learning for life’. This journey isn’t just for our pupils either; it is engrained into every aspect of the school and the wider community. Real impact and successful outcomes are only possible when there is a true synergy between our ethos and a parent's aspirations for their child and this is something that we pride ourselves on. What guides our ‘learning for life’ is our

passports. Within these passports are five key areas, based on research and evidence-based practice, that young people need to build skills around in order to become sufficient adults. These include factors such as community engagement, self-care and daily living, managing medication, travel and work skills, as well as social and communication skills. We use these passports throughout their school life, both inside and outside of the classroom, and as our students build these skills and tick-off elements within each area, they receive a stamp and get certificates. We then have a graduation at the end of the year to celebrate all of the life skills they have achieved throughout their time at West Lea. The unique learning methods offered at West

Lea, aim to address the societal issue around low employments rates for people with special educational needs and disabilities. We aim to ensure that those who come through the school

16 January 2020

are equipped with the right skills as well as the knowledge and confidence to thrive in both society, and the employment market. For us, this isn’t just tokenistic; for children,

finding and securing a job can be an incredibly difficult process, not least due to the current

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