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Pupil Leadership & Careers

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Our Young Leaders programme

We believe that the often difficult and sometimes traumatic upbringing of many of our exceptional pupils instils in them strengths and talents that, if channelled properly, will lead inevitably to different aspects of leadership.

Because of our belief that every child or young person is a potential young leader, the leadership element of our LIFE (Leadership Skills, Independence Skills, Future Options and Empowerment) programme offers every pupil, throughout their education with us, opportunities to learn to lead themselves before progressing to leadership positions around their school or service.

This begins shortly after placement with every pupil being given a wide range of responsibilities leading to leadership roles in our school councils, anti-bullying councils, charity and community councils. Level one and Level two Peer mentorship qualifications alongside a range of other trainings ensure that our Young Leaders support our younger pupils and learn the value of service and support. A comprehensive programme by our LIFE Leads and Pastoral Care Coordinators ensures that our exceptional pupils are fully supported.

When they reach 14 years old, our pupils join our ‘Working LIFE’ programme, which leads to our newly developing traineeships and apprenticeships at post 16.

In 2018 we started an ‘Entrants to Employee’ programme with a commitment that by 2023 25% to 33% of our neurodiverse Young Leaders will transition through to becoming Alumni Mentor Volunteers and then Alumni Learning Mentor employees. Two of these exceptional Alumni Learning Mentor employees already support our Peer Mentors and Alumni Mentor Volunteers in an unique virtuous cycle. That is the TCES Way.

TCES Careers Offer

Based on nationally recognised gold standards for excellence in careers provision, our Careers Offer is delivered through one of four key elements of our LIFE Programme: Future Options & Employability. 

It begins at the earliest point of contact with each pupil and is delivered through both dedicated careers lessons, as well as other areas of the curriculum that advance careers knowledge, understanding and skills.

All our pupils are provided with work experience opportunities, visits by colleges and employers, and preparation for applications and interviews.         

Where appropriate, we also ensure a range of Post 16 options, including supported college places, traineeships and apprenticeships.

More recently, an increasing number of our pupils are returning to TCES as alumni mentors, leading to employment within the organisation post 19 via tailored apprenticeship schemes.

The LIFE Programme

An element of our curriculum that is followed by all our pupils, the TCES LIFE Programme comprises four key elements:

  • Leadership
  • Independence Skills
  • Future Options & Employability
  • Empowerment

Through this, our pupils are provided with a ‘real voice’, which helps them to: learn, succeed and flourish in school; become suitably prepared to thrive as adults; develop skills that underpin future resilience; and be inspired to become values-based active citizens, now and in the future.

The LIFE Programme has been designed to specifically enhance our pupils’ chances of employability and success at work through a belief in self (learning to ‘lead’ yourself). They will learn how to:

  • Set goals
  • Plan tasks and activities to meet these goals
  • Communicate with teams and individuals
  • Recognise the strengths and potential of others
  • Inspire others to meet goals
  • Organise work and delegate
  • Review performance
  • Resolve problems
  • Maintain a ‘can do’ attitude
  • See the bigger picture

Student councils

All pupils are given the opportunity to join their school’s Student Council, through a series of election campaigns, presentations, interviews and voting.

Our Student Council members are encouraged and trained to develop their skills and fulfil their roles to the very best of their potential. Through this process, they learn about the power of democracy, working together, socially appropriate conduct and most importantly, how hard work and using their voice can get results. Through their Student Councils our pupils consult with staff at every level.

Their representatives attend our company Management Development Group (MDG) meetings and provide consultation on everything, including the provision of ideas for our curriculum, consultation around their school environments, reviews of particular policy and procedures, and the recruitment of new staff.

They also join interview panels and governors’ meetings and are involved in welcoming new pupils to the school. We believe that for our pupils, having their voices really listened to instils a sense of responsibility and pride, not only within their school, but within themselves.

The benefit to TCES is that we are truly able to develop our services with the pupil at the centre of everything we do.