TCES National Online School formally opened in September 2020, as a result of the needs of our exceptional neurodiverse pupils (Autistic Spectrum Condition, often co-occurring with Social, Emotional Mental Health needs and associated conditions) during the Pandemic.
TCES responded to our own pupils’ needs by developing an internal service, initially called ‘The Home Learning Service’. This service was built around pupils struggling to attend school due to clinically based anxieties, exacerbated by Covid 19. These anxieties included; Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and Emotionally Based School Avoidance and they sometimes link to Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) or Social Emotional and Mental Health needs (SEMH). Having gone through the extraordinarily traumatic circumstances of the Pandemic, children and young people can often exhibit anxiety symptoms without the ASC diagnosis or SEMH label.
Covid-19 had brought to prominence an issue that predated it, that of the sizeable numbers of children and young people who were significantly struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. Whilst this issue was over shadowed by issues of lock-down, mainstream pupils struggling with ever increasing educational gaps and teacher-assessed exams, the plight of these ‘ghost children’ has subsequently come to prominence with important reports from the Children’s Commissioner and the report by the Centre of Social Justice, aptly called ‘Lost and Not Found’. TCES recognised very early that its pupils with Special Educational Needs, were more likely to become ‘lost’ and severely absent, but the stark reality is the enormous percentage of children that have stopped attending school, pervades all strata of society.
TCES recognise that this new ‘epidemic’ of ‘ghost’ children will continue to proliferate for the next generation and despite a constant and fruitless societal attempt to minimise and relabel the situation as recalcitrant ‘naughty’ children, we don’t subscribe to those views and instead have created the non-traditional classrooms of the future and we accept the need to educate in a very different way. Nonetheless, we continue to be committed to achieving the very best outcomes for each pupil and their family, through access to outstanding education and family support.
That is the TCES Way where intentions and actions merge and that is the genesis of our TCES National Online School.
Although our roots lie in London and the South East, and in our TCES provision across Independent Special Schools and Community Recovery programmes (Create), the natural extension of this almost quarter century of experience and expertise, lies in extending this continuum of provision, nationally, through our TCES National Online School. This fully aligns to our social enterprise mission to create wide-scale social impact, through pioneering inclusive practices.
No exclusions - we never give up!
We have an authentic commitment to inclusion that means that since our inception in September 2020, we have never excluded a pupil and our firm promise to parents and carers is that we never will. The threat of exclusion is not an effective deterrent. We have seen time and again how it simply further ostracises children and young people who need our support. We have concluded that our 'never give up' attitude and refusal to exclude provides a facilitating environment that allows our pupils to feel safe and to begin to engage. We have seen with our existing pupils that this inclusive ethos and philosophy is highly effective in transforming their lives educationally, emotionally, and socially.