NWLIS in Context: Schools’ Proprietor’s Vision
Thomas Keaney’s Vision as CEO and Schools’ Proprietor
My personal vision sees our schools as inclusive, thriving, socially and emotionally healthy communities – this vision is driven by my deeply held belief that human beings thrive in positive environments.
North West London Independent School (NWLIS) is part of TCES Group, which is a social enterprise business where society profits. The social mission of developing our pupils as tomorrow’s leaders and maximising our pupils’ well-being and future opportunities is more important than profits, which are reinvested back into the social mission and purpose. This reinvestment includes high staff to pupil ratios of 2:6 and a substantial clinical offer and Therapeutic Milieu delivered by a large team of specialist clinicians and therapeutically informed and supported staff.
Pupil Voice and participation
At NWLIS we believe in the empowering of pupils who often feel marginalised and who need to actively shape their lives and ongoing education as citizens and take an element of control in their futures.
We believe that the often unnoticed pathway to removing barriers to learning and increasing self-esteem and success lies within the pupils themselves. We have to allow our pupils to discover their own voices by giving them a real voice to begin with. This challenge cannot be symbolically met by our school and organisation but must be the central tenet of everything we do. Our pupils must feel empowered to have a strong voice and this voice must be listened to. Evidence of this voice must be seen in the full participation of our pupils in the running of the school and their involvement and full engagement in every aspect of school life.
Parent Voice and participation
At NWLIS we recognise that the empowerment of parents through real parental voice and engagement can be a very effective channel for encouraging mass engagement and enabling a school community to be formed. As in many organisations, the active parents are not necessarily representative of the parent body as a whole, with the parents who the school needs to engage with often under-represented. Our School Parent Voice and Participation champion is building relationships with parents and carers, which reduces their marginalisation and helps them to actively participate in the life of the school.
Inclusion Quality Mark
Our school is uniquely driven by a vision and principle of real inclusiveness in our school community where all pupils (not just the most able) are a vital part of promoting diversity and the breaking down of all stereotypes that could create division within our school community. NWLIS was awarded the IQM award in April 2017.
We are close to establishing a national model of excellence around inclusion, with our ultimate goal being the full inclusion of our SEMH and ASC pupils together in our school and the reduction in bullying at every level. This essential inclusion work is done through individual relationship mentoring as well as group work with multiple groups including; Student Council, Anti-Bullying Council, Community Council, Group Process, Tutor Groups, Group and Celebration Assemblies, Leadership Group Training and Group Therapy.
Schools’ Arts Mark
NWLIS is working towards the Schools Arts Mark which is a national award scheme managed by the Arts Council, England for recognition of excellence in arts and cultural provision. We are showing a real commitment to the development of students and teachers in the arts and we plan to demonstrate excellence in the arts within our school and across TCES Group.
NWLIS is providing a new programme of Leadership Training for all pupils. We believe that the often difficult and sometimes traumatic upbringing of some of our pupils instill in them strengths and talents that if channelled properly will lead inevitably to different aspects of leadership. Developing leadership potential has benefits for the individual, their group, the whole school and their communities beyond TCES Group. Leadership development for pupils can shape the positive and promote harmony as well as ensuring a strengths based approach in relation to our pupils by all parents/carers, staff and stakeholders.