What We Do

Artwork by Oliver (Year 10)

Our Approach

We believe in giving students a complete educational experience: academic and vocational learning delivered in a flexible, inclusive and bespoke way to celebrate the unique learning style of every student.

Many young people struggle to feel at home in mainstream school. Despite the hard work and skill of teachers, students who do not fit the constraints of the system can find themselves left behind. Perhaps the school cannot fully meet their educational needs, or there is not enough flexibility to accommodate their learning style or personality. Some students find school an anxiety-inducing place, which can render them unable to concentrate and keep up. Each student who joins The Complete Works has their own story and their own reasons for wanting a different approach to their education. For every one of these students, we curate a personalised learning programme that is as unique as they are.

We provide a combination of individual and small group lessons, taught in our TCW Learning Hubs, in the community and in students’ homes. In addition, we offer a range of wellbeing support options and extra curricular creative activities, to give students a broad and varied experience, which is tailored to their individual needs. We understand the value of both individual and group lessons, and have found that combining the two in the right way can help to achieve exponential results. The focus and flexibility of individualised lessons is uniquely suited to helping students catch up on missed learning and engage with a subject at their own speed and in their own way. Group lessons provide the opportunity for students to learn from each other in an atmosphere of respect and collaboration, while also gaining all-important social skills. At TCW we combine these approaches, giving each student the right balance just for them. Added to this, we provide a wealth of wellbeing and creativity initiatives, to give students a rounded, holistic and complete learning experience, or as we like to call it “The Complete Works.”

On the wall of our Central Office is written the quote often attributed to Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Intelligence comes in many forms, but until we find our talents and our path in life, we can feel hopeless and worthless. At the Complete Works, we specialise in helping young people to find their path, discover their passions and feel inspired by learning again.

 
 
Artwork by Kyra (Year 11)

Curriculum and Exams

Curriculum

The curriculum that we offer has been refined over many years to be as engaging, diverse and inclusive as possible, helping students from a variety of educational backgrounds to reach their potential, leaving us well prepared for the challenges of future education and work. The programme of study for each student is determined after analysing their education history, and documentation such as an EHCP, or Educational Psychologist reports, and crucially also after meeting the student themselves, getting to know them and exploring their ambitions and interests. Using all this important information, our curriculum team devises a personalised programme of study from our broad library of subjects and qualifications.

We prioritise Numeracy, Literacy, Creativity, PSHE and Science for the majority of students, as these core subjects are most conducive to opening doors to future study. Beyond this, what we offer will depend on the needs of the individual. For students joining us at KS3 or below we offer a range of project-based schemes of work covering Humanities, Arts and Creativity. For KS4 we have strong GCSE and Functional Skills curricula designed to maximise exam performance no matter what point in the academic year a student joins us. We are also proud to offer a sector-leading range of vocational BTEC courses, from Animal Care, to Cooking, Photography, Music, Hair and Beauty, Digital IT, Business Enterprise and many more.

 

Exams and Qualifications

We are a fully registered exam centre, meaning students can sit GCSE, Functional Skills, and Entry Level exams with us, as well as completing internally assessed qualifications such as BTECs and Arts Award. We are registered with both AQA and Pearson Edexcel, giving our cohort a wide range of internationally recognised qualifications to choose from. Should a student require access arrangements, our SEN Lead is available to assess them and put any arrangements in place. When it comes to exam time, we are highly sensitive to the needs of our students, providing rigorous wellbeing support in the run up and a calm, distraction free environment on the day. Where appropriate, we have the capability to provide individual rooms to some students, with only their invigilator present. In rare cases we are able to invigilate students while they complete an exam in their own home, as per the regulations of the exam board. This is particularly helpful for students suffering from severe anxiety.

Every year we are delighted to see students achieve results that they never thought possible.

 

Progress and Assessment

Within their first two weeks at TCW, students are given Baseline Assessments to determine their working levels and any gaps in their subject knowledge. These insights allow us to further tweak the curricula and planned teaching approaches, providing an even more bespoke student experience. From KS1-3 these Baselines are project based, while for KS4-5, they are more closely aligned to exam papers, though they are not usually taken under test conditions.

From this point onwards, at the end of every half term, students undergo half termly, topic-based assessments to keep an accurate measure of their progress. Where students are anxious about being assessed, this process is done with sensitivity and discretion. Alongside these regular assessments, teachers keep daily notes within a confidential database, recording the level of understanding of each topic and the relative success of each lesson.

A summary of these insights and data is presented in a half termly report to parents / carers and professionals. As well as giving an in-depth overview of a student’s progress within each subject and assessment results, the half-termly report provides scores for effort and soft skills such as communication, resilience and organisation. Finally, the IEP targets, based on the student’s EHCP (where applicable), are also reviewed. At the end of each academic year, a special report provides a careful analysis of all 3 terms.

 

Careers & Transition

At TCW we understand the importance of a robust careers programme to help students discover and develop their interests and talent from a young age, so that by the time they leave us they are fully prepared for the challenges of adult life. We are committed to providing all students in Years 7-13 with a careers programme that is embedded into the curriculum and includes a variety of creative activities. The programme has been developed in line with the eight Gatsby benchmarks for ensuring best practice and to meet the requirements of the Department for Education’s statutory guidance of 2018.

The current careers programme is delivered through a combination of methods, including explicit lessons provided within the PSHE and Employability programmes in KS3-5, which are predominantly taught on an individual basis. At KS3, this involves topics such as managing transitions, social action and the world of work. PSHE topics at KS4-5 include: preparing for adult life and work experience. At KS4-5, students also have the opportunity to complete a series of Employability CPD courses in conjunction with BeReady. Upon completion of each course, students receive an accredited certificate.

Additionally, KS4-5 students are invited to Career Fairs and events, including Q&A sessions with local colleges in the Autumn Term and representatives from different employment sectors in the Spring Term. Students are encouraged to track their employability journey on their Personal Development and Careers Record log. Students also have access to in-depth sessions with an independent careers advisor and ongoing support from our in-house Post-16 Pathways Team.

Careers and SEND provision

Every student with SEND follows the same programme of careers as their peers, with adaptation and support from the SEND team where appropriate. Students with EHCPs also have the opportunity to discuss their Post 16 options within their Annual Reviews. The school and Local Authority work with students to support them in finding appropriate placements and to make the transition successful.

Artwork by Rubie (Year 10)

Attendance and Behaviour

Attendance

As we conduct lessons across a variety of locations, it's important that we pay special attention to the recording of student attendance and punctuality. In order to maintain accurate and detailed records, we have created a bespoke web-based app for recording and tracking student lesson times. All teachers, whether they are working in a student’s home, a library, a TCW Hub or elsewhere, will check their student in and out of lessons using this app. They will also record other key information, such as the level of engagement and behaviour. All data is overseen in real time by our Central Office team, who respond immediately to absences and provide support and advice to teachers where necessary.

Students are given half termly attendance and punctuality targets, as part of their Half Termly Reports. These are regularly reviewed through weekly Personal Development Sessions, where students are encouraged to set goals and learn the skills needed to overcome personal challenges. From our Central Office, the trends in student data are analysed, so that pre-emptive interventions can be put in place where necessary.

 

Interventions

Our Interventions Team specialises in helping students re-engage in education after losing focus or motivation. They work directly with students, as well as their teachers, families and professionals, creating a holistic solution to increase attendance and engagement. Students sometimes join TCW with a history of low attendance, or a long gap in their education history, this is the point at which our specialist team could get involved.

In addition, the Interventions Team provides training and mentoring to our whole teaching staff, to help lessons across the school be as engaging as possible. They also devise whole school projects and extra curricular activities to bolster the sense of community.

The Interventions Team has a strong track record of helping students rediscover their aspirations, providing practical frameworks for lasting change and have some impressive attendance stats to back it up!

 

Behaviour

We believe in taking a non-judgemental and compassionate approach to behaviour management, which addresses a behaviour’s underlying causes, as well as the consequences. Students are given ongoing pastoral support, through Weekly Personal Development Sessions and (where needed) therapeutic support from our Counsellors. This provides the opportunity to reflect on their behaviour and the impact of their actions on other people. Over time, this helps to develop students’ resilience and emotional intelligence, so they are motivated to change. If a behaviour incident occurs, we follow a guided process of reflection, which encourages accountability and improvement.

Staff are trained to focus on primary behaviours, giving fair and consistent feedback and sanctions. Clear boundaries are laid out when a student starts work with us, they are discussed and agreed upon prior to starting work, so that students understand them and feel a sense of investment. Where further attention is needed, we set up individualised behaviour contracts, which students and teachers negotiate together based on their shared aims and agreed consequences. We have the flexibility to move students’ education between our Hubs, or onto an individual basis, if needed. This can give students the time they need to consider the impact of their decisions and to work in a calmer, less distracting environment.

Artwork by Tina (Year 11)

Safeguarding and Wellbeing

Safeguarding

The primary duty of any school is to keep their students safe. We take this responsibility seriously and are proud of the diligence and consistency of our safeguarding team. Before beginning work with a new student we design a thorough, personalised risk assessment, based on all the information supplied by previous schools and any agencies involved. This provides a detailed guide to educating an individual in the safest possible way for their needs and situation.

All our staff are trained to Level 2 or above in Safeguarding and their knowledge is regularly developed through our ongoing professional development programme. Staff are obligated to report any safeguarding concerns or disclosures immediately to our Designated Safeguarding Lead, who works alongside the appropriate agencies to produce a coordinated response. All safeguarding information is stored securely in an encrypted online database and used to update and inform future risk assessments.

 

Wellbeing

We believe that health and happiness are essential for learning. This is why we have an entire department dedicated to the wellbeing of students and teachers, exploring innovative ways to make our school the most nurturing and supportive environment it can be. Some of our key wellbeing measures include weekly Personal Development sessions; therapeutic support from our School Counsellors; a wellbeing focused PSHE programme.

Personal Development Sessions are a chance for students to set goals, develop career plans and cover targeted PSHE programmes like anger management or behaviour plans. The sessions are led by a member of our student support team, who closely monitor their student’s progress both academically and in terms of their motivation and confidence. This allows any potential obstacles to be identified early and where necessary, a counselling or interventions programme be put in place. The Student Support Team work in partnership with their students’ families, acting as their advocates during educational meetings, ensuring that the right level of support is available at home, as well as at school.

Students also have the option of receiving therapeutic support from a trained counsellor. Counselling can help students work through any personal challenges, learn to regulate their emotions and deal with the stresses that life throws at them. Though this is not an alternative to clinical mental health treatment, it is a lifeline to all those needing extra support with their wellbeing and an opportunity to overcome long wait lists or high thresholds for external support. Sessions take place in dedicated counselling rooms, designed to be peaceful sanctuaries from the outside world. Remote counselling support is also an option.

Further to the above measures, we have designed an enriching, modern PSHE curriculum to help students learn the skills needed to look after their health and wellbeing, celebrate their personal identity and navigate the challenges of social life. PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education), is included in every student’s curriculum, and constitutes an important part of our school’s wellbeing programme.

Artwork by Rubie (Year 10)

Teaching and Learning

Teacher Training

We run an in-depth training programme for all staff, curated and delivered by our inhouse team of experienced, Qualified Teachers and quality assured by Goldsmith’s University. We believe that learning should never end, which is why everyone at TCW continues to partake in weekly training throughout their career. Our training is uniquely tailored to the challenges of working with vulnerable young people, within an alternative provision setting. Some of the skills needed to be successful with our students can differ significantly from those required in mainstream school. Topics explored include Mental Health, Safeguarding, SEN, Teaching & Learning, Marking & Assessment, Behaviour Management, and Curriculum; while Creativity, Wellbeing, and Diversity and Inclusion remain running themes throughout each module.

As well as learning from our specialist team, teachers benefit from ample opportunity to share good practice with each other, along with frequent appearances from external guest speakers. Members of the Teaching and Learning Team also act as teacher mentors, providing feedback on lessons, advice and troubleshooting. Every year we find new ways to refine our training, helping staff to excel in their professional development and students to enjoy inspiring and memorable lessons.

 

Quality Assurance

In addition to taking part in our training programme, teachers are formally observed on a regular basis and assessed against our "Teacher's Standards" quality control measures. Although we take the quality of our work very seriously, we believe that the best teaching happens when staff have the freedom, support and encouragement to be creative and try new things in their lessons. Our mentoring and quality control systems are designed to help teachers refine their craft, improving exponentially over time. Learning never ends, as we say to our students.

Artwork by Yazmin (Year 11)

Inclusivity

SEND

The majority of our students have an EHCP, so the education we provide is highly inclusive and differentiated. Our full time SEN Lead provides expert, individualised monitoring and support to any student with SEN, while advising teachers and leading the Annual Review process. Targets from students’ EHCPs are incorporated into all aspects of their learning, and regularly reviewed by teachers and the Wellbeing Support Team, through weekly Personal Development Sessions. So when it comes to Annual Review time, students are familiar with the progress they have made and are able to actively participate in the process.

We have designed our curriculum to be adaptable to all levels and learning styles, and a significant part of our teacher training focuses on how to create lessons that are bespoke to the needs of individual students. This gives students a sense of ownership of their learning and pride in themselves, generating the momentum needed to overcome the challenges they face. Many students first join us carrying negative associations with school and learning, feeling hampered by their Educational Needs and left behind. We pride ourselves on our ability to reverse this negative trend, helping students with SEN to feel the sense of belonging and achievement they deserve.

 

Diversity & Inclusion

Our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion is an important part of our identity as a school. We believe that all young people should feel free to celebrate their own identity and those of others in the community. This is why our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, made up of teachers, support staff and Senior Leadership, strives continually to find new ways to champion diversity across all aspects of our work.

We have designed a curriculum befitting the culturally rich community that we serve. Across many subjects, we introduce diverse historical and contemporary figures - such as Scientists, Mathematicians or Writers, and use them as segues into new topics. This allows students to find role models they can identify with, and understand the contributions made to our society by all types of people. Within our PSHE scheme of work, we have created the “Diversity, Prejudice and Discrimination” topic, which examines some of the uncomfortable, but important factors at play in diverse societies - a vital preparation for navigating adult life. For English lessons, we have chosen a broad range of texts written by writers from diverse racial backgrounds, from the LGBTQ+ community, as well as neurodiverse writers and those with disabilities. To mirror the values championed in our curriculum, we are strongly committed to maintaining a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives within our staff body.

We are committed to LGBTQ+ equality and ensuring that everyone is included, respected and empowered. We aim to create a learning environment that is free from harassment and discrimination, regardless of sex, gender, identity, sexual orientation or gender expression. We are currently working towards The Rainbow Flag Award, a national quality assurance framework focussing on positive LGBTQ+ inclusion and visibility, and hope to have achieved completion of the award by the end of 2022.

Artwork by Aleighsha (Year 11)

Creativity

Creativity has always been a core value of our school, and something we integrate into every aspect of our work. No matter the subject being taught, we encourage our teachers to think outside the box, finding unique and dynamic ways to bring lessons to life. Our Central Office Team works to develop creativity within the curriculum, devising a rich array of educational resources, providing expert advice and mentoring to teachers. A number of creative projects are open to students at any time, some of the key fixtures include our Anthology of Creative Writing, published every year; the TCW Album - a compilation of musical tracks produced by students with the help of our Poet in Residence; and the Annual Showcase - an eclectic evening of student performances enjoyed by our whole school community. In the past we have also hosted a novel writing workshop, created a joint piece of school artwork displayed in the Tate Modern Gallery, as well as running T-shirt Design Competitions, photography and art exhibitions, and much more. Our aim is to make creativity accessible to all students, through the expert work of our teachers and support staff, and by providing a wide range of extra-curricular options to suit all interests and learning styles.

We have changed a lot since starting our journey as a theatre in schools company in 1999, but we still believe that creativity is the key to unlocking the minds of young people and making education the fun and inspiring experience it ought to be.