TCES Group Latest News & Events

30 Jul 2020

Lockdown art wows legends of stage and screen

It’s not every day you get to have your dancing judged by ballroom icon Len Goodman or have Bond actor Colin Salmon comment on your skill at creating powerful characters, but that’s exactly what’s happened for TCES pupils.

Pupils have wowed a team of celebrity judges with their incredible works of art created during lockdown.

The ‘Art of the Possible’ competition was created by TCES Head of Arts Faculty Paul Morris, currently in the running for a National Pearson Teaching Award for his work with SEND children, as a way for children to manage their anxiety and feel a sense of creative calm during lockdown and COVID-19 uncertainty.

Musical theatre legend Elaine Paige, who judged the craft category, says: “Judging the incredible work that TCES pupils have produced during lockdown has been a real honour. It’s clear from the detail, the careful planning and the quite extraordinary use of texture and colour that creating these pieces has been utterly absorbing for the pupils, and it   seems to be that it allowed them to tune out from the anxieties of the last few months.”

Elaine was joined on the judging panel by ballroom icon Len Goodman, Bond actor Colin Salmon, illustrator Fiona Hawthorne and TCES Patron Dame Esther Rantzen.  


The Art of the Possible attracted entries from TCES pupils in a broad range of categories from dance to photography, animation to illustration.  Each entry has been included in a professional virtual art gallery for all to enjoy.

CEO and Schools’ Proprietor Thomas Keaney says: “We recognised the need to pull out all the stops to engage our exceptional pupils with SEND during lockdown. Our children’s experiences mean they often struggle to have a strengths-based perception of themselves at the best of times. This competition was us saying to our pupils that their art is a talent that defies labels, it deserves to be seen, and it deserves to be judged by incredible individuals who have all excelled in their chosen art form.”

Y7 pupil Lee from TCES North West London, who won ‘Judge’s Choice’  in the Art category for his piece entitled Black and White Angel, says: “I enjoyed entering and seeing my work in a virtual exhibition. It was fun to work with fabric paints.”

Y9 pupil Bly from TCES North West London says: “I really liked that my work was reviewed by professional artists.”

TCES’ Patron Dame Esther Rantzen says: “With this competition TCES has shown once again that they can create brilliant projects to support and empower some of our most vulnerable children. The teachers managed to take the time to create this wonderful opportunity for pupils to showcase their art, while at the same time dealing with all the other challenges of COVID and that is testament to their extraordinary commitment. I congratulate all the artists for their stunning pieces, and the staff for their creativity and thoughtfulness.”

Artist Fiona Hawthorne and her actor husband Colin Salmon say: “Thank you for allowing us the privilege of being part of this art competition – we commend the students and teachers for working together to make art, and for giving it a platform for audiences to see.”

Competition categories, judges and recipients of Judge’s Special Prize in each category as follows:

Judge’s Special Prize for craft, judged by Elaine Paige: 


Judge’s Special Prize for photography, judged by Dame Esther Rantzen: Aadam

Judges’ Special Prize for art, judged by Colin Salmon and Fiona Hawthorne: Lee

Judges’ Special Prize for digital art, judged by Colin Salmon and Fiona Hawthorne: Diaz

Judge’s Special Prize for performing arts, judged by Len Goodman: Samim

20 Jul 2020

Parent satisfaction shows the positive impact of TCES Distance Learning

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a huge impact on the education sector – specifically for TCES Group, it has resulted in the creation of an entirely new method of lesson delivery and new bespoke packages for ASC and SEMH pupils.

We have launched our TCES Home Learning service, and pupils have adapted to working at home with the help of our Distance Learning Portal

To ensure we are delivering the highest standard of education from a remote distance, we surveyed our parents back in April to see how our pupils and their parents/carers are getting on, and if we could make any changes to better suit their needs. 

Following this, we have recently surveyed our parents and carers again – and the results have shown that satisfaction has increased, and that TCES Group has adapted superbly to the challenge brought on by the pandemic.

Curriculum satisfaction has increased from an already impressive 88% to 95%, and pupil engagement has also improved from our previous survey conducted in April. Confidence in teachers has risen from 82% to 88%, and fewer parents and carers feel the need for support in assisting the home learning environment. All parents and carers have received regular contact in helping to deliver distance learning.

Helen, a parent at East London Independent School, sent her thank you to “all the staff who are working very hard to pull home schooling resources and lessons together.”

Similarly, Carly, whose son attends Essex Fresh Start, admired “they have always made my son’s learning very personalised, and continued to be mindful of his specific needs throughout.”

If you are a parent or carer of a TCES Group pupil, or have worked alongside TCES Group during this time, we are still open to feedback on our Home Learning and Distance Learning packages, and would gratefully receive any positive thoughts on what has helped you via

01 Jul 2020

Essex Fresh Start pupil Liam says ‘Goodbye’

As the last term of the academic year draws to a close, Essex Fresh Start Independent School pupil Liam – who is leaving the school after completing his final year – has penned the following letter to his teachers and other TCES Group staff:

When I first started EFS…
I had been to nine other schools before this one but this school was different to the others because they accepted me for who I was. I didn’t suddenly become the model student, far from it! In the past three and a half years I have become someone who I am now proud of. I have achieved nationally recognised qualifications and through other people believing in me and my abilities I have also learned to be more confident in myself. I feel I am more ready to move forward to college. It’s strange to think that as I leave Essex Fresh Start, the school will be closing and all of the staff will be leaving at the same time as me. I feel, pupils and staff alike, have been on this journey together and we have all reached our destination and I think we will miss each other a great deal. A positive atmosphere and community spirit constantly sang throughout the school. Our success was because of these things and I feel sorry for all of the children who should’ve been coming here in the future. They will never know what they have missed.


The staff I will miss…
I will miss most of the staff. But there are a few that I will miss a bit more than others.

I will miss Francisco also known as ‘Old Granddad’ because he always wore shoes that looked like something my grandad would wear. He hasn’t worn them much since I gave him his new name! I will miss him but I won’t miss his science lessons!

I will miss ‘Not so Super Sue’ but I won’t miss her singing! and other things as well!! I do wish I had her as my teacher from the start because since she has been my teacher, I have got an amazing education. If I didn’t have Sue, I don’t know what kind of education I would’ve got!

I will miss Ann cause I won’t get her amazing food which is the best school food I have ever had.

I will miss Lisa also known as T Rex because she always hiccups like a T Rex. She is always laughing… and she has such an annoying laugh! I always hide her water bottle which is fun… well for me of course maybe not for her! She always helps me with my work. She always makes me laugh and has always believed in me. She gave me confidence. She did one of her T Rex hiccups when I was doing cooking and scared the hell out of me! We laughed for ages about this!

I remember a time in Aldi when I was with Lisa and Sue. We’d been doing place value and money in maths and Sue asked me where the decimal point goes on a price. Unfortunately, this was about the hundredth time so I told her right where the Sun don’t shine! At which point both Sue and Lisa fell about laughing so badly we all had to leave the shop.

I will miss Sadie, also known as ‘John’ because I will always remember the time when I first started Essex Fresh Start and absconded from school I was charging up the A133 determined to get home back to Ipswich before dinner when a long came Sadie in her Batmobile and drew up alongside me and told me to get in the car now! She brought me back to school, and there was ‘Not so Super Sue’ standing at the front gate, arms folded and a cross look on her face but also with a look of relief when I got out of Sadie’s Batmobile. It’s funny looking back on that, but I realise now how frightening it was for everyone else it just goes to show how hard everyone works in our school community.

My main man Jim, also known as the PE Guru, also known as ‘God’ of football! And ‘God’ of the” guess what!!” Jims whole philosophy is based on “guess what”;

“Guess what…if you do this then that will happen and guess what? … If you do that then that will happen… and guess what? Think about your next move or I will tell you all about yourself!!”

What can I say about Amy also known as ‘John’. We cooked some amazing dishes together. I will never forget the homemade fudge and nor will my family. Or the Caribbean chicken, which my family will also never forget. She helped me with my work and was always on my side. She put up with me and my silly ways and I put up with hers. I will miss her greatly.

I want to talk about what I have learnt…
I have learnt that I can sit in a classroom and learn along with everyone else. I have learnt that I am not that bad at maths after all! I have learnt to form solid relationships with class peers. I have learnt so much that I now help others. I have learnt that I am not that bad after all and people like me, and like having me around mainly Sue because she always needs help when she gets bullied!! I have learnt that I can lead a successful life along with the best of them… Just try and stop me!

I am looking forward to college and beginning the next part off my journey where I will meet new friends and more staff to annoy.

What I will miss…
I will miss having a good relationship with the staff

I will miss every time Lisa has an apple and after 5 minutes she will say sorry just had an Apple cause she always burps and sounds like a T Rex.

I will miss all the sayings we had such as “Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin”. We had the whole class singing it in the end. One of our other sayings was “I’m joking, choking? don’t choke!” Plus I will also miss taking Lisa’s bottle.

I will miss beating Francisco at FIFA every time. I know why he always loses, it’s because of the team he plays with which is Arsenal… he picks a bad team.

I will miss every time Sue goes out of the classroom and I lock her out. When she comes back she always walks into the door, which is funny… well maybe for us but maybe not so funny for ‘Not so Super Sue’.

I will also miss taking Sue’s keys and her cup. I’ll miss the jokes we had and I will definitely miss making her laugh every single day (I will definitely not miss her singing or her karate moves!). I will always remember that I will always be Sue’s favourite student she has ever had!

Year 11
Essex Fresh Start