The founding of The WELL is an initiative from the eight Special Schools in Leicester City who represent 800 children and young people aged 3-19 on their rolls and support many others in mainstream schools. These pupils come from Leicester and its neighbouring authorities and they display the whole range of abilities and disabilities: from the earliest stages of learning to A Level and with a combination of physical, medical, intellectual, emotional and social difficulties. The schools are very focused on what these children and young people can do, not on what they cannot. In addition the schools provide a range of consultancy, support services and professional placement and learning opportunities for hundreds of institutions regionally and several nationally. The schools are passionate about maintaining and improving the provision and outcomes for the most vulnerable children.
The initiative springs from this passion within a context of increasing numbers of children with complex needs and radical changes in education, health and social care. The diminishing role of local authorities; the demise of primary care trusts; the largest review of special educational needs since all children were included in education forty years ago; changes in initial teacher training; leadership recruitment and succession planning issues; and the context of financial constraint are some of the significant factors to be addressed. At the same time there is much research that demonstrates the power of liberating professionals and the additional effectiveness that flows from them working in partnerships which share a common sense of purpose.
The special schools have a common sense of purpose, service and duty. They want to shape the future and harness the range of agencies and partners that can add to the quality of pre-school, in school and post-school life in a seamless and efficient way that is engaging, enjoyable, dignified and improves outcomes. The schools want mainstream schools and those from other areas to join them in this collective endeavour, making the best practice the norm and researching new methods to meet the increasingly complex needs. The schools recognise that no one school can have all the answers and that we have a duty to share and learn from each other. They also believe that we should create a principled and systemic approach that is not dependent on individual leaders’ egos or preferences but on what is best for those we serve. They are seeking committed partners who will help in the creation of the legacy of a system that provides a platform for sustained success. A system based on warm relationships, respect and dignity, fun and enjoyment and purposeful high expectations.
To download a copy of our full purpose and outline click here