TCES Group Latest News & Events

29 Jun 2018

Official opening of East London Independent School’s state-of-the-art building by Dame Esther Rantzen DBE

East London Independent School’s new state-of-the-art building in Stratford, east London has been officially opened by Dame Esther Rantzen DBE.

The respected TV presenter and journalist joined pupils, parents, staff and special guests on Friday 29 June to see how the school has extended its site by redeveloping a church building that dates back to 1775. The £1.5m redevelopment means the school will be able to almost double its intake from 38 to 70.

During the opening event, Dame Esther Rantzen and other guests toured the school and saw that the refurbished church now boasts six new classrooms, as well as a double art room and state-of-the-art classrooms for science, ICT and food technology. There is also a new school hall, two sensory rooms, and an excellent outside space.

To accommodate it all, the single storey church building has been converted to two storeys, retaining all the existing windows that now cast light both upstairs and downstairs. The school’s specially designed low-arousal, autism-friendly environment suits all pupils at the school, regardless of their individual needs.

The school is part of TCES Group. The social enterprise has been supporting young people aged 7-19 years with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) or autism spectrum conditions (ASC) for almost 20 years.

Uniquely, at TCES Group schools, pupils of all abilities and disabilities learn alongside each other in a general education setting supported by a skilled team of educators.

In June 2018, the school was awarded the Inclusion Quality Mark Award (IQM). IQM is the only national award for inclusion and provides validation of current practice in UK schools. The school has also been rated Outstanding by Ofsted.

Dame Esther Rantzen DBE said:

“It was a privilege to open this remarkable school building and see the amazing new spaces that have been created to support pupils with special education needs. This building represents the school’s commitment to integration, and their inclusive approach means that more young people in east London will be educated locally and get the support they need. I’m sure staff and pupils will enjoy and benefit greatly from their new facilities.”

Thomas Keaney, CEO and Schools’ Proprietor of TCES Group, said:

“By converting this church, we’ve shown what can be achieved when you remove labels and dare to be ambitious. The new school building complements our unique and innovative approach to education. It will enable us to support more young people with a range of different and often complex needs.

“Although it is often necessary to label children initially to ensure that they can get the support they need, we strongly believe that they should not then be segregated and divided according to their support needs. Labels are debilitating and can hold back children and young people. 

“Our inspiring new school building will enable us to seamlessly bring together pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs or an autism spectrum condition and ensure that they can achieve the very best in life.”

14 Jun 2018

East London Independent School achieves IQM award

In June 2018 East London Independent School was awarded the Inclusion Quality Mark Award (IQM). This means that both our London Schools are rated Outstanding by Ofsted and have been awarded the IQM. Essex Fresh Start and Create London will be working towards this next academic year.

The IQM scheme allows for the exploration of all aspects of education within the school, with the process affording a complete snapshot of school life. The IQM award provides evidence of all the incredible hard work that is ongoing at ELIS.

“IQM delivers industry-leading standards and assists schools to develop the prestigious IQM scheme award. IQM is the only national award for inclusion and provides validation of current practice in UK schools.” IQM website, 2017.

View East London Independent School’s IQM report here

Here are just some of the many positive comments about East London Independent School, taken from the IQM assessment report:

“The staff were confident in their knowledge of the pupils which meant the pupils were on task and motivated to learn in the classroom.”

“The teachers’ planning was meticulous in the lessons observed to ensure differentiation had an impact on the progress of the pupils with clear Learning Objectives and Success Criteria.”

“ELIS makes outstanding use of the space available. The outside area is very well thought out with excellent outdoor facilities including horticulture area, play area for table tennis, space for a sensory garden for those who wish for reflection time and an enclosed court area for games. The main building is very inviting with a sense of purpose in every classroom. There is a dedicated Science lab, Food Tech room, Art room, Music room and library as well as a fully resourced Sensory Room.”

“It was evident that the curriculum was geared towards enabling the pupils to become independent; teaching them skills for life across a broad range of subjects and opportunities. This organisational approach by teaching in stage not age means that pupils feel safe in an atmosphere balanced to suit each pupils’ needs.”

“During the morning of the IQM visit, a very powerful message was outstandingly put across in an assembly regarding our actions and the importance of respect for oneself, one’s community and the world. All the pupils who were present were fully engaged and showed skills of self-reflection, empathy and were able to focus and listen.”

“The dedication of the staff for the pupils at ELIS means that pupils have the best opportunities for inclusion and for success in life.”

06 Jun 2018

TCES Group appoints former Google director to help drive exciting cultural and technological developments

TCES Group has appointed Thomas Davies as a Non-Executive Director as part of the organisation’s drive to provide an excellent education to children and young people with special educational needs. He will also work with TCES Group’s leadership team to develop its corporate strategy and meet its vision of becoming an employer of choice.

Thomas is the founder and CEO of Temporall, an executive advisory and technology company that specialises in culture by design. He is also a former global director at Google, and has 20 years’ experience in the technology sector, specialising in corporate strategy, market development, organisational culture and innovation.

During his ten years at Google, Thomas led the UK&I cloud business as country manager, then became director of Northern, Eastern and Central Europe, before leading the global partnerships team.

TCES Group is a social enterprise that has been supporting children and young people from 7-19 years with an Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) or Social, Emotional or Mental Health (SEMH) plus complex needs for almost 20 years. The group prides itself on uniquely integrating its pupils with real inclusion at the heart of everything it does.

Thomas Davies said:

“I’m honoured to be joining TCES Group and working with the leadership team to drive cultural change and develop a sustainable strategy for future success. I believe that a strong and positive organisational culture can lead to great things, and for pupils at TCES Group this is particularly important. I’m looking forward to working with this unique social enterprise to ensure we take advantage of exciting developments in digital technology to provide an excellent education for young people with special educational needs.”

Thomas Keaney, CEO and Schools’ Proprietor of TCES Group, said:

“We’re excited to welcome Thomas to TCES Group and I’m looking forward to working closely with him to explore the exciting ways we can use his expertise to improve the quality of the education we offer to young people with ASC and SEMH. Thomas has a wealth of experience that will benefit us greatly, including being a former global director at Google. He will help ensure that TCES Group continues to innovate and becomes not only a leading provider of specialist education but also a leading employer in our field.”

24 May 2018

Post-16 pupil Myles attends film acting course at prestigious Pinewood Studios

North West London Independent School Post-16 pupil Miles recently attended a film acting course at Pinewood Studio’s Actors Studio.

It was an inspirational day in which Myles not only learnt a huge amount about acting in front of the camera in a professional studio, including the technicalities involved in film directing, but got to tour the Pinewood lot where they are currently building sets for the next Star Wars film. He also got to see props from Assassins Creed and the original storyboards for Tomb Raider.

Miles was set the ambitious task of having to learn a script, rehearse it in an hour and then perform it in front of the camera, camera crew and audience, and rose to the challenge brilliantly. He will receive an edited version of the scene to put toward his acting show reel.

This was another success for NWLIS’s Post-16 ‘World of Work’ program and expansion of their Creative Arts curriculum.

11 May 2018

Essex win coveted trophy in annual football competition

Wednesday May 9 heralded the return of the TCES Group schools and Create Services annual football tournament in Brentwood, Essex. The weather was fortuitously timed: clear blue skies and warm sunshine allowed for perfect pitch conditions.

Staff members’ immense hard work and organisation paid off with the creation of a memorable day for all who participated.

For the first time, Create Essex fielded their own team – in addition, conducting themselves extremely well – but it was Essex Fresh Start School in Clacton who won the tournament, beating Witham 3-0 with Essex Fresh Start School Witham taking second place. A special well done to North West London who only lost out on a place in the final on goal difference. 

Well done to all pupils who demonstrated admirable sportsmanship and of course to the staff whose contribution both on and off the pitch made the event possible.  A special thanks to Hollie who helped HTLA Nicky Palmer organise in the run-up to the event, and of course to the referees. Roll on next year!



11 May 2018

Clacton Nurture Group learn about effects of pollution to local beach

KS3 Nurture Class at Essex Fresh Start School in Clacton took advantage of the recent good weather by stepping out of the classroom and onto the beach. Sea pollution plays an important part of the pupils’ curriculum, where they’re learning what the impact of environmental damage has on our aquatic ecosystem. Pupil Mikey has put together a poster with his thoughts and advice, as well as participating in a beach clean-up by picking up litter. Mikey is pictured with staff from the Environment Agency who were also working on the beach, below.

Pupil Mikey’s pollution awareness poster, below.


11 May 2018

Essex Fresh Start pupils attend Firebreak course

Pupils from all three services at Essex Fresh Start School recently took part on the Firebreak course.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service write: “The Firebreak programme aims to promote a culture of safety and team work and citizenship by teaching a range of vital life skills whilst undertaking the various disciplines of the Fire Service.

The course provides a learning environment that combines practical skills and scenario based training, with classroom centred theory/discussion workshops.

During the intensive week long fire station based course, the students gain confidence and develop vital life skills, while experiencing the techniques used by fire-fighters in their working
lives. It aims to reduce the risky lifestyle choices by young people and raise awareness of the consequences of fire, fire setting and hoax calls.

The scheme is incredibly diverse, and has been successfully used for those on the gifted and talented register as well as a confidence building tool for those with a history of youth offending,
school exclusion, or associated disruptive behaviour or backgrounds.

The Firebreak Course can clearly evidence that our interactions directly and positively impact on ‘breaking the cycle of negativity.'”

Essex Fresh Start School were able to secure funding for our pupils to take part in this week long training which was a huge success.


04 May 2018

North West London Independent School music teacher launches ASDAN Expressive Arts course

NWLIS music teacher Asher Felix, also a professional music producer and world renowned DJ has now launched his ASDAN Expressive Arts Course at the school. Ash has inspired pupils for years on their personal journey as creative artists at the school, and building on his success of delivering AQA qualifications is now delivering the course that he hopes will lead these young artists on to success in their chosen art form. Working as part of the creative arts team at NWLIS, Asher is producing the first album for Y12 Myles. With his newly equipped Music Studio – part of the incentive backed by Head Teacher Katrina Medley and CEO Thomas Keaney- Ash is finally able to produce tracks which highlight his pupils’ talents to their full potential.

Myles has released his first track produced by Ash on multiple internet platforms and received some excellent feedback and interest from radio stations.
Not only has Myles produced the stunning artwork to promote his songs – having achieved an A in Graphics in Art and now working toward an A-Level, he is also directing and editing a music video to accompany his first release ‘Hard times’ which he hopes to premiere at the integrated arts performance at NWLIS in July.

Our outstanding creative arts programme will be culminating in a multimedia spectacular that will showcase the talents of NWLIS pupils from technical ability (lighting, costume and scenery) to the performance talents of our pupils. The integration and use of creative arts is key to our philosophy and has made a huge impact on the everyday lives of our pupils both in terms of behaviour and academic engagement and progress. Said Teaching Assistant Cy Henty, “with the support of our Business Co-ordinator, Head Teacher and Central Services we can only continue to grow. There is a feeling amongst the staff that we can help make our pupils’ dreams a reality.

27 Apr 2018

‘World of Work’ programme successes for Post-16 creative arts pupils at NWLIS

Two North-West London Independent School pupils have utilised their artistic talents to create some exciting opportunities in the worlds of performing arts and animation.

Y12 pupil Michael recently spent the day on a ‘world of work’ visit to animators Mummu in London’s Hoxton. Michael first visited in 2017 and received a standing ovation from the animators after showing them his work and they asked that he return this March, so they could watch his latest animations and see how his techniques had developed.

Michael had taken on board a lot from his first visit and was able to not only show them three new animations, but the stages of development from mood board, to storyboard to screen. He spent the day with professional animators who demonstrated and worked 1:1 alongside him to develop his skills using the industry standard After Effects software and teach him valuable techniques that he can take forward in order to further his goal to work in the industry.

Post 16 pupils are fortunate to be supported by the SLT and Business Manager at NWLIS who have constantly helped both to fund and ensure that our World of Work programme is facilitating these incredibly talented pupils to follow their dreams of becoming professional creative artists in their chosen areas.

A second Post 16 pupil Myles, also in Y12, has been given the opportunity to attend the prestigious Actors Studio at Pinewood Studios on May 17 to learn screen acting. This will not only go towards Unit 1 of his Gold Arts Award but help him to learn some of the techniques required to pursue his dream of becoming a television and film actor. Myles’ creativity knows no bounds: in addition to screen acting he is also writing and recording rap songs for the new ASDAN Expressive Arts Award – and he’s produced some stunning album cover artwork to accompany! Myles has also filmed and edited a rap video for his first song release which he hopes to premiere at our NWLIS Performance in July.


Staff at animation company Mummu watch pupil Michael’s progress