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*The Federation


Our Vision

Our Vision is a world where people with learning disabilities and mental health difficulties thrive.

Our Mission

Our Mission is to Promote the Abilities in Disability within our immediate, local and wider communities in order that our vision is realised.

We will engage our communities in embracing difference, valuing individuals' worth and ensuring our pupils continue to build self-esteem and self-belief. We provide a safe learning environment to enable all pupils to grow and develop, with a commitment to providing opportunities that increase independence for every individual.

Our Values

  • We look after ourselves
  • We look after each other
  • We look after our environment
  • We look after our learning
  • We look after our futures


Young people starting employment now will work longer and change jobs more often – competing in what is an increasingly uncertain jobs market.   Our pupils’ expectations of employability are high, though the vast majority of adults with SEND and/or complex mental health difficulties are not in employment.   In competing with highly qualified peers (more than 50% of school leavers attend university) our curricula have to be relevant, purposeful and appropriate in securing employment opportunities for our leavers by embedding functional skills and work-related learning whilst at school.  In addition to appropriate qualifications, young people need flexibility, creativity and transferable lifelong learning skills to effectively navigate the challenges of our mainstream world, which must be delivered through our curricula.

In this rapidly changing world, we have identified two strategic priorities that will focus our drive on achieving our vision:

  1. Adapt our curricula to better ensure our children have success in adulthood
  • In securing excellent progress in learning for young people, irrespective of needs or starting point, the curriculum will focus on relevance, purpose and the transitional skills required for individuals’ success in adulthood.   
  • Our inspirational partnerships with local, national and international organisations need maximising to create real work opportunities for our pupils to gain every advantage in the Post-16 learning and work places of our mainstream world.
  1. Reduce unnecessary burdens; freeing creativity, inspiration and securing quality-first teaching, thus improving job satisfaction
  • Our rapidly changing cohort of children with complex SEND and mental health requires excellent CPD opportunities to support and ensure quality-first teaching, innovation and positivity. 
  • Opportunities for outstanding teacher-led development practices within and across our schools can be enriched through existing specialisms of the adults working here along with the increase in online training available as one of the few positive outcomes of the pandemic. 
  • Clarity in whole school initiatives must be determined and,
  • Work/activities must be evaluated for impact and discarded where necessary/ bolstered where proven effective.
  • Improved use of research and the sharing of good practices must be captured to elevate our shared passion for improvement and impactful collaborative work.

Contexts our Schools Operate Within:

Hertfordshire remains a county of contrasts – between rich and poor, rural and urban, tradition and innovation. Some of the county's strengths can also be the source of weaknesses and vice versa. For example, the general affluence of the county can exacerbate the problems of those who are struggling to make ends meet, but it is in some of the most disadvantaged areas where you will find some of the strongest communities. 

Hertfordshire Indices of Deprivation

Pre-Covid-19 Hertfordshire Context

The population of Hertfordshire currently stands at 1,154,800 and is increasing due to higher life expectancy, a rising birth rate, and inward migration. In particular, Hertfordshire’s population of over 65s is expected to increase by 22% between 2011 and 2021 and this will have a significant impact on the demand for services. Hertfordshire’s minority ethnic population is growing with almost 20% of the county’s population belonging to an ethnic group other than White British.

Hertfordshire is often viewed as a prosperous county, yet there are significant areas of deprivation caused by a multiplicity of factors. Borehamwood Cowley Hill in Hertsmere and Northwick in Three Rivers districts are in the 10% most deprived areas in England. Waltham Cross, Flamstead End and Adeyfield East are the three worst income deprived areas in Hertfordshire affecting children.

Borehamwood Cowley Hill, Waltham Cross, and Cheshunt South & Theobalds are the three worst income deprived areas in Hertfordshire affecting older people. Despite the recession the number of dwellings in Hertfordshire is increasing. The number of households in Hertfordshire is also projected to increase with many more people living in single occupancy households. The Hertfordshire areas with the highest deprivation relating to barriers to housing and services are Ashridge, Watling, and Hatfield East.

Hertfordshire house prices continue to increase and housing affordability and homelessness are concerns county wide. Reporting of crime is increasing with the most reported crimes in Hertfordshire (according to the IMD crime and disorder domain) being in Central ward in Watford, Hatfield West and Bedwell in Stevenage. Recording of domestic abuse has also increased and Hertfordshire Constabulary have initiatives aimed at domestic abuse and hate crimes. The Hertfordshire electorate has mixed engagement, with voter turnout for the 2015 General Election being highest in St Albans at 74% and lowest in Broxbourne at 61%. There is a highly engaged voluntary sector in Hertfordshire with 3441 registered charities in January 2016. In 2012 the value of volunteer time was estimated as £423m.

Hertfordshire’s growing workforce is highly skilled, and GCSE attainment remains high. However, the areas with the lowest attainment and skills in the Hertfordshire population are Northwick, Adeyfield East, Waltham Cross, and Highfield & St Pauls. An estimated 3.7% of 16-18 year olds known to Hertfordshire County Council are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). The areas of Hertfordshire with the highest levels of employment deprivation are Borehamwood Cowley Hill, Northwick in Three Rivers and Bedwell in Stevenage. Life expectancy at birth for Hertfordshire residents has been increasing. However, some Hertfordshire communities face significant challenges with health deprivation and disability and the Index of Multiple Deprivation shows these are Bandley Hill in Stevenage, Borehamwood Cowley Hill, and Vicarage in Watford. In the 2011 census 14.3% of the Hertfordshire population said they had a long term health problem or disability and 3.9% reported bad or very bad health. Public health concerns include higher risk drinking and obesity. Rates of hospital admissions for alcohol related harm have been rising, and 61% of adults are overweight or obese.

Deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s are increasing and there has also been an increase in hospitals stays as a result of intentional self-harm. Fuel poverty in Hertfordshire is decreasing but long term climate change is expected to have an impact on agriculture, business, commuting and day to day life in the county. Hertfordshire local authorities have made significant improvements on recycling, and across the county only 25% of waste is being sent to landfill, which is above the Eastern region average. The Hertfordshire Local Economic Partnership’s Economic Outlook estimated the output of Hertfordshire’s economy at £26.7 billion in 2011. Hertfordshire has the highest employment participation rates of all LEP areas and economic activity rates are high. However, jobs growth has been weak in recent years. Around 11% of Hertfordshire residents are self-employed, above the national average of 9.7%

Hertfordshire residents are relatively well paid, whether they work in the county or commute into London or neighbouring counties. However, as noted previously, Hertfordshire housing prices continue to grow. The higher cost of housing in London and surrounding areas is likely to produce a ripple effect driving up wages and housing costs in commuting districts. The East of England Forecasting Model (EEFM) estimates that the recession was slightly less severe in the Hertfordshire area than across the UK.

However, there is a danger that the long term economic growth rate could slow with Hertfordshire lagging behind other LEP areas and the national average. 

The Collett School:

Type: Foundation Special School

Site: School Owned through Foundation

Designation: Special School for children with learning disabilities including ASD, MLD, SLCN  4-16

St Luke's School:

Type: Foundation Special School

Site: School Owned through Foundation

Designation: Special School for children with learning disabilities including ASD, MLD, SLCN 7-16

Forest House Education Centre:

Type: Department of St Luke's Foundation Special School

Site: Rented from NHS

Designation: Tier 4 Mental Health Hospital School 14-18

Who We Are and What We Stand For

Our Federation consists of cross-phase Hertfordshire special schools, keen to demonstrate that school to school collaborative practice can create exceptionally successful learning communities.

Our Core Purpose

The Federation supports the creation of unique and remarkable schools that collaborate effectively through an ambitious attitude to learning, self-improvement and high standards.

Collaborative Practice

We are equal partners and work collaboratively to establish the best ideas. We sow seeds by grouping people together, establishing multiple aspects of shared practices across our schools and positively influence each other with what we learn.  Emergent cross-school collaborations evolve through need and a desire to improve practices, reduce unnecessary workloads and sharing resources. Time and funds remain significant challenges to advancing this to the levels wanted.

The Federation's School Wide Foci

  • Understanding and defining the approach to school improvement.
  • Developing consistency whilst respecting uniqueness.
  • Knowing schools well and holding them to account.
  • Supporting succession planning through the identification of talent, deploying and developing leaders.
  • Developing a learning culture that permeates all that we do.
  • Celebrating achievements and progress.
  • Securing strong governance.
  • Creating strong and impactful local and national engagement.
  • To ensure learning for purpose – identifying individuals’ needs, meeting these and expanding opportunities and personal growth with a view to their success in adulthood.
  • Providing high quality provisions and value for money.

10 Key Features of Our Federation

  1. Core Values: 'worth’, ‘happiness’, ‘independence’, ‘respect’ and ‘resilience’
  2. Learners: despite social background, academic starting point or vulnerability, are supported and challenged to make progress and achieve relevant knowledge and skills to equip them through childhood into adulthood.
  3. Leadership: shapes the culture, the strategic direction and the climate of our schools. They inspire colleagues. They are highly visible. They distribute leadership effectively and empower colleagues to innovate. They assess impact accurately and hold colleagues to account in an emotionally mature way. They are learners and seek regular feedback on the effectiveness of the leadership from pupils, staff and parents.
  4. Curriculum: we create a fluid response to the changing needs of cohorts, transitioning seamlessly through key stages. We prepare learners to thrive in the mainstream adult world by teaching skills required for improved independence alongside appropriate knowledge, applying learning across different contexts.
  5. Quality Teaching: our teachers design learning. They are adept in planning lessons to sequence learning. Lessons and schemes of work have clear purpose to ensure each learner can problem solve, work with less reliance on adults, collaborate in teams, create new things, demonstrate what they have learnt, reflect on how to do even better.
  6. Climate for learning: we create a climate to flourish in. Learners feel safe, are rewarded for effort, achievement, attendance and positive behaviours. They respect and contribute to our communities positively.
  7. Staff welfare & professional development: is evident through our people feeling inspired by daily successes and experiences that are confirmed in the expression of job satisfaction and realisation that their work has life changing potential. Their work-life balance is improving with dedicated time to work collaboratively. Their professional development is paramount and stems from self-reflection, informed CPD and effective teamwork. We seek to identify talent and enrich this.
  8. Parents and Carers: are actively supported to be involved in the school. They are key partners in supporting their child’s learning. We communicate effectively with them and encourage them to visit school regularly to discuss their child’s achievements and to see them exhibit their learning and work.
  9. Data: is used across the Federation to gather appropriate information so as to systematically and accurately inform learning development for pupil and staff learners as well as maximise efficiencies.
  10. School effectiveness: each school is cost-effective, links successfully to shared service developments and are legally compliant in all aspects including safeguarding.