The NASS Awards 2021 winners were announced at the NASS Annual Conference 2021 dinner, held in York on the evening of Tuesday 12th October. This year, the awards had been kindly sponsored by Innovation Broking. The winners were at the event and were presented with their award on the night. Congratulations to all shortlisted schools, and the three winning schools. Thank you for taking the time to share the great work that is going on in your schools. Below you will find a little bit more detail about the winning projects under the three categories: Innovation, Breaking Barriers and Outstanding Impact.
Innovation award 2021 winner: The Deaf Academy
The Deaf Academy in Exmouth is a specialist Deaf school for young people with additional needs. When the Pandemic broke out and lockdown was imminent, the school identified the need to create something innovative for their students and their families/carers. Students are Deaf British Sign Language users with additional needs including social-emotional difficulties, physical disabilities and sensory difficulties including visual impairment and autism. Many experienced increasingly heightened levels of anxiety. The school created an E-learning platform to provide clarity of sign language, with optimised visual information, essential in addressing the access needs of deaf, dual sensory-impaired students and deaf students with additional needs. They establishment of an innovative YouTube Channel ‘Ask a Deaf Teacher’ with a new and responsive series of podcasts that informed students about the pandemic, specific government guidance and its impact globally. This became a key channel of information for many deaf young people across the UK during the Lockdown and was watched not only by their students and others but also by BSL-using deaf adults, none of whom could access information being provided by the government.
Breaking Barriers Award 2021 winner: Quorn Hall School
Quorn Hall School is a specialist therapeutic school for children and young people with autism and social, emotional and mental health needs. Many of Quorn Hall students are looked after, and unfortunately following the announcement of the initial national lockdown some of these children were either immediately placed on notice or at high risk of placement breakdown. The staff responded swiftly and with great compassion not only for the children but the families involved. The school demonstrated impactful engagement with external stakeholders to ensure positive and sustainable outcomes for children and young people. The relationships they forged with local authorities, parents, carers and professionals enabled looked after children to maintain their fostering/care placements during the lockdown period. They developed a respite programme that enabled educational respite and support throughout the term and during holidays following the initial announcement of lockdown. Staff volunteered to come into school to work with these children so that either the new carers or the existing carers were able to receive some respite during these incredibly challenging times.
Outstanding Impact Award 2021 winner: Wilds Lodge School
Wilds Lodge School is an independent 38-week specialist boarding and day provision for boys and girls (girls are accepted as day students only) with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. The key to the success of Wilds Lodge is due to the close relationships between the therapy, care and education teams and the work that is done to seamlessly work as a therapeutic and talking school. The care and education rely on one another to support the learning of the students through the 24-hour curriculum and ensure that there is a continuity of strong and supportive relationships. This focus on well-being and support has helped to make a huge difference and to reframe their educational experiences and help them to move on to college and work including a student moving this year from their post-16 provision onto York University. Many of the teaching staff work into the evenings with the students to help cement their relationships in a different environment to that of the classroom. The school works closely and supportively with the aim of allowing the students every possible opportunity to become the best that they can be from what is very often a very dark place for them at the start.
Could your school be one of the 2022 NASS Awards winners? Look out for details next year!