Keys Group is dedicated to delivering specialist therapeutic residential care and education services to young people and support for their families.
In competitive times the organisation is moving forward to offer high quality care and education solutions where specialist intervention is required to ensure that our services understand and meet the needs of all our Young People. As we move into the future the therapeutic aspects of the service will increasingly become an integrated inclusive entitlement supporting our care teams and schools. We aim to maintain our edge in our schools by offering a range of approaches through services that respond to the needs of our society and identify where our young people can step onto a positive foothold within it.
Although our schools may differ in character through the variety of learning opportunities and experiences that are on offer across the breadth of the company, at the human level the staff share a common ethos and unshakable enthusiasm and commitment to endeavour to see that each and every child has the opportunity to learn, grow, be safe and succeed. This is underpinned by a coordinated common purpose, a sharing of good practice, adaptability without instability, consistency and straightforward honest approach.
All our schools are prepared and resourced to admit the most challenging of young people: those who have need of emotional and behavioural support, and those who present mental health challenges. We strive to provide quality education programmes to meet individual need and currently have 88% of our schools rated Good or above with Ofsted.
We offer provision that is based on the National Curriculum and will include access at a minimum to core subjects (Literacy, Numeracy, Science and ICT), in addition to a vocational curriculum, physical education, humanities, citizenship, PSE incorporating religious studies.
All our schools work with local colleges and alternative provider partnerships to ensure that pupils can have a broad menu of experiences available to them in order to accommodate their preferred learning style and through learning develop their strengths and interests, improve their personal effectiveness and sense of self-worth, with the hope that they do not enter the NEET category.
The local environment and community is one of our greatest assets and resources where we can provide pupils with concrete experiential learning opportunities to facilitate confidence building, the pupils trust of themselves and the community, and to develop the skills to effectively function in the outside world and develop a secure understanding of the need to keep themselves safe.
There are occasions where outside agencies will come into the school and support and inform, and reinforce the need to develop a sense of responsibility to others.
Although there are some specialist variations to the following description, Keys provide special or alternative education services broadly across the following types of school:
(i) Day Schools
(ii) Hub Schools
(iii) Schools on the site of a Care Home
(iv) Alternative Education Provision
i) Day Schools are those that admit day pupils who usually reside with their families, or are in foster care.
Pupils in these circumstances may have experienced difficultly previously in sustaining learning in mainstream provision. They may be considered as being hard to place children; or be at risk of being a Child Missing Education (CME) over a long term; or, be vulnerable because of learning or mental health challenges; or, be at risk of being criminalised, or, be permanently excluded; or, a combination of these conditions. Exclusion from mainstream or pupil referral units would usually arise because of challenging behaviours or criminal activities that place themselves, other pupils, or, staff at risk, and, because the school is not able to meet the pupils’ educational needs. Quite often these children are referred to us from local academies and PRUs where contracting the services of a Keys school is about pupil enrichment.
Day Schools may also admit young people who are Looked After Children; it is not necessarily the case that such pupils are residents in Keys Homes. Day Schools will often have a high level of adult supervision so that small groups can be managed. Day Schools may have pupils on their roll that may require home education.
Overall this intervention aims at supporting disaffected learners to prevent disengagement from learning, and to rebuild their confidence and self-belief to be able to return to their parent school and to provide viable alternative directions upon which these young people can build their futures.
ii) Hub Schools, as the name implies, may be centrally placed sites that provide education services for Looked After Children from more than one Keys Home and that are reasonably local to the hub school. They may also admit day pupils from the community who are not Looked After Children, but for reasons cited above may benefit from being educated in small groups where there is a high level of adult supervision. There may be circumstances requiring that a child is supported with their education in their home – be it a Keys home or their family, or, foster care home.
iii) Schools in the site of Care Homes are often exclusively – although not necessarily so – for the residents of the care homes to which services are offered.
Hubs and schools on the site of care homes offer pupils access to the national curriculum. Some schools are registered for KS2 pupils, most will focus on KS3 and KS4, and may offer an extension to learning opportunities for post 16s.
There may be circumstances requiring that a child is supported with their education in their home – be it a Keys home, foster care, or, family home. Keys will apply a protocol to initiate this with the aim of phasing the young person into a school setting that is appropriate to meeting their needs in the interests of inclusion and social development..
iv) Alternative Education Provisions (AEP), provide an alternative education programme for those pupils who are at risk of exclusion due to their challenging behaviour. They provide the promotion of inclusion through work and activity related learning, supported by an educational, vocational and enterprise network. Their aim is to provide a non-formal learning environment leading to formal qualifications. These Colleges provide a curriculum model based upon personal development and employability skills, providing opportunities for pupils to learn life skills involved in managing their work, lives and relationships.
The curriculum has three strands which are academic, vocational and activities with the aim of introducing the pupils to a wide range of knowledge, skills and experiences. The curriculum emphasizes the need to acquire basic skills in literacy and numeracy with the delivery of functional skills in English and Maths being embedded in all activities. Pupils have access to a range of vocational experiences, for example, horticulture, mechanics, hair and beauty providing relevant qualifications.
Managing The Young Person’s Experience
From the point of referral the young person’s experience is finely managed to the point of discharge. Central to this is meeting the young person’s needs. The pupil’s needs will be reviewed at the entry point in terms of the implications for their learning direction, behaviour, risk, health and safety. Behaviour baselines will be established through assessment, alongside baseline assessments in literacy and numeracy skills. Along with Statements of Special Education Needs, where they remain in place, or Education Health and Care Plans, Personal Education Plans, positive handling plans, our in-house initial assessments will help to inform how we plan ahead for the pupils’ education and personal development. Progress across learning and behaviour is tracked and monitored, and interventions are applied as needs identify their requirement.
Staff invest significant energy into establishing trusting relationships with our pupils as being the key foundation to ensuring that the necessary steps forward can be taken.
This process of education and monitoring is continuous. Pupils experience the impact of rewards and consequences through sanctions that aim to encourage positive decision making. Pupils will be able to work a broad palette of qualifications including; GCSEs, ASDAN Awards, Unit Awards and Certificates, Vocational Qualifications, and achieve qualifications with third party alternative providers, or through work experience.
Where we manage Looked After Children the schools will work closely with the homes and offer support and guidance with aspects of the 24/7 curriculum to ensure pupils are gainfully stimulated not just as pupils but as developing future responsible citizens who may reflect in future years on the positive experience we have provided.
Click here to download our Safeguarding Policy and Procedures (including children and young people at risk of sexual exploitation)