A specialist school in North Cheam which has been “transforming children’s lives” has celebrated its first birthday in style by hosting a VIP visit.
Brookways School supports young people with an autism spectrum condition and celebrated its milestone anniversary earlier this month. To mark the occasion, they welcomed VIP visitor Anna Kennedy OBE at a special end of term event.
The visit marked the culmination of what has been an exciting first year for Brookways. Since welcoming their first student in February 2018, the school has been also found to be “good with outstanding features” by its regulator Ofsted.
Inspectors found that parents, students and placing authorities were “overwhelmingly positive” about the work of the school and for some families the school’s work has “transformed their child’s life”. The curriculum, they said, is “creative, engaging and bespoke” and carefully designed to meet the needs of children with an autism spectrum condition as well as those with a disrupted educational history.
Students said they loved learning at Brookways and comments from parents included: ‘This school has given me my child back’, ‘My child’s a different child since attending here’ and ‘We have a future now.’ The Ofsted inspectors found that students, sometimes for the first time, “feel comfortable enough to be themselves, to focus and to learn.”
Award-winning Head teacher
There was further reason to celebrate when Headteacher Melanie Whitfield was named as the winner of the prestigious UK Autism Hero Awards in its Top Education category. She was shortlisted from hundreds of entries into the awards and was one of just three finalists in her category.
The UK Autism Hero Awards were created by the Anna Kennedy Online Charity as an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the excellence taking place in the world of Autism.
Following the awards Melanie invited Anna to visit the school to meet the young people who learn there.
A Special Visitor
Anna was awarded an OBE for her services and campaigning work for autistic children and adults. As part of her visit she was given a tour of Brookways by the school’s newly elected school council members and also enjoyed individual presentations from each of the classes. The children were then thrilled when she helped to present certificates at the End of Term Assembly.
Anna said: “It was a real privilege to meet the children and to hear all they had to say about their school. They clearly love learning at Brookways. It is fantastic to have seen a school which is so focused on supporting the individual needs of young people with an autism spectrum condition, in a setting which has been designed specifically to give them the best environment to learn in. It’s hugely evident that the combination of dedicated and trained staff, carefully designed environment and bespoke teaching are doing wonders for the children at Brookways.”
Head Teacher Melanie Whitfield said:
“It has been wonderful to work with the young people and their families here at Brookways over the past year and we’ve had a very exciting year already. We were thrilled to welcome Anna Kennedy to the school. The children loved showing her their school and telling her all about the fantastic successes they have been achieving, It was a very special day and a perfect way to celebrate our first birthday. We’re excited to see what the coming year brings for us!”
Main picture shows Headteacher Melanie Whitfield (left), Anna Kennedy (right), Paul Brosnan and one of Brookways' pupils.
Brookways is part of the Kedleston Group of schools and offers a specialist educational environment to support young people with an autism spectrum condition. To find out more about the school visit www.kedlestongroup.com or call 0800 024 6985