We are delighted to announce that TCES Group CEO and Schools’ Proprietor Thomas Keaney was named ‘SEND Leader of the Year’ by nasen (National Association of Special Educational Needs) at a glittering ceremony last Friday. Hosted at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London, the ceremony recognises and celebrates those who help ensure children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) can reach their full potential.
Thomas was nominated for the award for his twenty-some years of work in transforming the lives of over 3,000 of pupils with the most challenging and complex needs. He founded TCES Group in 1999 and the organisation is celebrating its 20th birthday this November, but Thomas has been working with vulnerable children and young people for much longer, starting his career in social work.
Thomas (top, fifth from left), stands among fellow award winners
TCES Group started as a social care company, before transitioning into one of the larger providers of independent education for pupils with co-morbid social and emotional mental health (SEMH) needs or an autism spectrum condition (ASC). He is proud to have never permanently excluded one of them.
Thomas said: “I think I’m the luckiest person in the world and privileged to be working with these incredible, talented young leaders who, despite challenges that would knock the rest of us down, display resilience and humour and their amazing personalities on a daily basis.
“My staff should be rewarded for sticking with and never giving up on our pupils despite often extreme provocation. They make our schools the amazing places they are and indeed working with these teams is surely my greatest achievement.”
Chief Executive of nasen, Prof. Adam Boddison said: “It’s an honour that we as a charity are able to bring together a host of people from across the SEND community in order to celebrate and reward some of the most inspirational work that has taken place over the last 12 months.
“This is the third year running for our awards ceremony, which gives us the opportunity to say thank you to those people who make a real difference to the lives of children and young people with SEND and who dedicate their time to helping them fulfil their potential.”