St Joseph’s Specialist School picks up award

Event host Mr Romesh Ranganathan, principal of St Joseph's Specialist School and College Mrs Mary Fawcett and member of the panel of event judges Mr Jeremy Herrtage SUS-140312-115425001

Event host Mr Romesh Ranganathan, principal of St Joseph's Specialist School and College Mrs Mary Fawcett and member of the panel of event judges Mr Jeremy Herrtage SUS-140312-115425001

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St Joseph’s Specialist School and College in Cranleigh won the Special Needs Initiative of the Year award at The Independent School Awards.

After a survey revealed that, for some, being at St Joseph’s was the peak of both their skills and independence, it wanted to ensure that pupils not only had an outstanding education and care at school, but also after they left.

It converted its existing house in the community into a supported living house offering care, support and work opportunities. It has five tenants, three of whom are in work, and has approved a plan for two more houses.

St Joseph’s Specialist School and College were shortlisted for work with tenants in one of its Supported Living houses.

The Independent Schools Awards celebrate excellence in the strategic and financial management of independent schools in the UK.

St Joseph’s was shortlisted for the Special Needs Initiative of the Year category for its work in finding and maintaining work opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities.

Alan Day, Head of Residential Learning said: “Our aim is for young people to live in and build a life in the community.

“We have worked closely with local organisations and the local parish council to secure work placements within the local community including gardening, leaflet dropping and weeding the cemetery.”

St Joseph’s School is a non-maintained school for children aged 5-19.

It also has 2 supported Living houses for adults aged 18 and over.

Alan Day said: “We recognised that all the progress young people make at St Joseph’s can quickly become undone when they leave.

“We wanted to ensure we continue to provide the Care and Support and enable people to live their life, their way in the community.

“Our supported Living houses do just that, all the tenants are supported to achieve and maximise their potential to ensure they lead as fulfilling a life in the community as you or I.”

The judges’ comment: “Very impressive to see the school thinking beyond its own direct responsibilities.”

Their victory was witnessed by over 300 people gathered to celebrate the sector’s achievements at the awards ceremony held at the Nottingham Belfry, on Thursday 13 November 2014.

Other awards at the prestigious event, hosted by Romesh Ranganathan, included prizes for the Independent School of the Year, Outstanding Governing Body of the Year and British International School of the Year.

The Independent School Awards aim to recognise excellence in the strategic and financial management of independent schools.

For more coverage of the awards, full lists of winners, and photos from the event, please visit www.fisawards.co.uk

For further information on St Joseph’s please visit the website www.st-josephscranleigh.surrey.sch.uk or email office@st-josephscranleigh.surrey.sch.uk

Report and picture contributed by St Joseph’s Specialist School and College.