Introducing our Silverways School Headteacher!
Creating a brand new specialist school for children with autism from scratch was a challenge Kedleston’s newest Headteacher Jeanette Maynard couldn’t resist. We caught up with her and heard about her plans for the Group’s latest school, Silverways London.
“It’s very exciting getting ready for opening Silverways School which will be Kedleston’s newest provision. We’ve got a great location in Enfield, North London, and Silverways will provide a carefully designed, low-arousal learning environment for children with an autistic spectrum condition.
“Working with our building and estates team, we’ve created an enabling environment which includes a muted colour scheme and sensory lighting throughout the school. Everything has been designed to provide a calm, safe, low arousal space which offers the best possible environment for a child with autism to learn within.
“Class groups will be small – no more than 6 learners – but there is no shortage of learning spaces. In addition to the group classrooms, we have a science lab, an art and design room and a food technology suite which allows us to teach more practical subjects up to GCSE level.
“The outside play area has been carefully designed to give children a chance to be physically active or rest and recuperate between lessons in a quieter space. Movement is so important for children with autism as it helps them self-regulate. So with this in mind the play equipment has been designed to form a ‘sensory circuit’ which means children benefit from effects these movements have on their body and brain while simply ‘playing with friends’.
“Our curriculum will be delivered in a way that is needs driven and personalised for every young person. Many of our children will come to us having missed a great deal of education, so we will be developing programmes for them which address their individual needs and development stage as well as their specialist interests.
“When learning needs to be more experiential and play based, that is what we will provide. When children are ready to adapt they will adjust to a more “hybrid” approach; a combination of play-based activities and a more formal learning model before they progress to a distinctly independent way of learning.
“The school is well located. We have so much on our doorstep offering real-life learning opportunities which will help us prepare the young people for life outside of school and to help them acquire the skills they need to become confident members of their community as adults. We will promote independence, socialisation and the skills and qualities that are needed for real success in adulthood.
“I’ve been teaching for 25 years and have, throughout my career, been drawn to working with the children who had additional needs or found school difficult. I was part of a team that designed a brand new purpose-built pupil referral unit in East London which was judged to be ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
“This rare opportunity to create a school like Silverways from scratch is very exciting and I bring a lot of knowledge and experience of what makes a school accessible and enjoyable for pupils with many different needs. I am building a team around me that will provide excellent support and education for children and young people with autism – a team of professionals with the needs of the children, and improving their life-long outcomes, at the heart of everything we do. My team and I will be working with families from the very start as we know that this joined-up approach leads to far better outcomes for all.
“Kedleston has a really strong track record in creating autism-specific provisions, both within existing schools but also in standalone schools such as Arc Oakbridge School in Birmingham and Brookways School in Sutton, London.
“Silverways will build on those. When we open in the Summer Term, we will support children and young people aged between seven and 16 through Key Stages 2, 3 and 4.”
Interested in finding out more about the school and what will be on offer for children and their families in Enfield? Contact email@example.com or 0800 024 6985.
This article is available and can be accessed in Spanish here.