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First DFE Accredited Online Special School Announced

Breaking New Ground: TCES National Online School Earns Accreditation as the First Online Special School under the Department for Education's Online Education Accreditation Scheme (OEAS).

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In a historic milestone for online education, TCES National Online School has proudly become the first online special school to receive accreditation under the Department for Education's Online Education Accreditation Scheme.

This accreditation underscores TCES National Online School's commitment to delivering high-quality, specialised education to students unable to attend bricks and mortar settings.

Mr Thomas Keaney, Proprietor and CEO of TCES Group commented:

‘Firstly, I want to say how very proud I am of the whole TCES National Online School team.  

‘Every day our teachers and therapists are ensuring that children who are unable to attend school are getting the full timetable and experience that they are entitled to. This includes an academic curriculum appropriate to each child’s needs plus assemblies, after-school clubs, careers advice and opportunities to work with peers, if they want to.   

 ‘We have the same high expectations of what children are capable of within TCES National Online School as we do in our TCES bricks and mortar schools, which are judged Good with Outstanding features by Ofsted. There is no watering-down of the curriculum or accepting second best. All children deserve a quality education. If they can’t come into school, I firmly believe it’s the education system’s responsibility to bring it to them.  

As the educational landscape continues to evolve, this recognition positions TCES National Online School at the forefront of innovation, ensuring that students with special needs have access to the education they are entitled to.

TCES National Online School prides itself on creating an inclusive and supportive online school environment where students can thrive not only academically but also socially, and emotionally. The accreditation reinforces the school's commitment to providing a comprehensive and adaptive curriculum that meets the unique needs of each student.

Key extracts from the report include:

  • Led by the proprietor, leaders and staff are driven by a strong moral purpose to improve children's academic and pastoral outcomes. They expertly intertwine education and therapy, working tirelessly to identify, reduce, and often, eliminate the barriers to learning that children have faced.  
  • Tutors sensitively introduce pupils to an academic curriculum appropriate to their needs. Through careful nurturing, they build pupils’ levels of self-confidence and, consequently, their readiness to engage in the range of learning opportunities on offer.  
  • Live teaching allows for lessons to be interactive. Tutors often use pupils' interests as a starting point and to help them engage in their learning. For example, in one careers session, the tutor used the pupil's interest in ancient history. This led to a positive discussion about the study of classics and what pathways and qualifications may be beneficial to their next steps.  
  • There is a comprehensive safeguarding policy in place, which is implemented effectively. The policy pays due regard to the statutory guidance for registered schools that is issued by the Secretary of State, and it takes account of the online nature of the setting. The provider’s safeguarding and child protection procedures are strengthened by the effective implementation of other policies, including e-safety/acceptable use of IT equipment, filtering and monitoring, and a code of conduct for social media use.  
  • Parents are extremely positive about the setting and recognise the impact it is having on their children’s engagement with learning. Parents who spoke with inspectors shared how happy they are that, after difficult experiences in the past, their children’s academic and emotional needs are now being met. One parent stated they felt they had ‘got their child back’.  
  • On leaving the provider, most pupils are enroled into a registered school or college. No pupils leaving the provider become NEET (not in education, employment, or training). 

In celebrating this achievement, TCES National Online School Headteacher, Miss Kirsten Roy, said:

“We are delighted to receive this accreditation from the Department of Education.  This means that the education of pupils who are unable to attend school, for whatever reason, is recognised to be of the same high quality that students who are attending on site schools receive and that they deserve.  Historically pupils with SEND are more likely to be supported by non-qualified support staff.  This is a great leap forward in showing that all pupils, regardless of their situation should be supported by teachers who understand their needs and who will support students and families to overcome the barriers to attendance or engagement.

TCES National Online School looks forward to supporting more students in the future.”

The full report is available here.