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A mutual special schools co-operative membership trust

Next Steps for Success Write Up

untitledWhat do Barclays Bank, East of England Coop, Chloe Smith MP and Michael Bateman, senior commissioner at Norfolk County Council have in common? They are all rooting for our success as Trust Norfolk SEN. Each showed their commitment to our cause at The Space on Friday when they spoke up for our cause at our first Trust organised Transitions conference.

Add around 40 service providers, exhibiting their offer, teaching staff, special school alumni and almost 200 parents and you create something of a buzz. A buzz that only reduced when folk discovered the lunchtime sandwiches (provided free by East of England Coop) and started to munch!

Only officially launched in July 2015, Trust Norfolk SEN is a cooperative Trust and is now ready to ‘come out’ as a major force for change on the Norfolk landscape. Did you know that together, with almost 1,400 young people, more than 1,200 staff and a £25m pa budget we’re larger than any one Norfolk school? That makes us a powerful lobby; more so when our membership numbers build.

Recent Board addition Robert Ashton, appointed by the cooperative movement, reminded us of the Rochdale Principles. They form the foundation of the cooperative movement and have done since its formation in 1844. In common with every good coop, Trust Norfolk SEN is committed to: a voluntary and open membership; democratic leadership; member involvement; autonomy – we follow our own path, not that laid out by others; education & training; cooperation with other coops and finally, show our concern for the community in real and tangible ways.

Barry Payne, Executive Head at Parkside School reminded us that here in Norfolk, we already meet the needs of our families far better than many others. This he stressed was very much due to strong and effective partnership working with a range of organisations across the County.

Chloe Smith MP pointed out that nationally, less than 2% of special schools students go on to find employment. She pledged the support of Norwich for Jobs to help improve this and work is starting with each school to build bridges with the business community, across which more of our young people can cross to gain meaningful work experience and for some, real jobs!

Excited? Not sure? Want to find out more? Why not join? It’ll cost you nothing, just visit our membership page to sign up. Got a view? Something to say? You can be part of our growing conversation on Facebook or follow and challenge us on Twitter?

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, we have to become the change we want to see. Let’s do that together!


If you are a parent or carer of a student aged 11+ years, we would like to invite you to attend our SEN Transition Event at:

The Space, Roundtree Way

on Friday 16th October 2015

from 10.00a.m.-2.00p.m.

You will be able to talk to representatives from the colleges, transition and service providers – as well as hear talks from key professionals.

The whole event has been organised to support YOU in thinking about the NEXT STEPS for your child.

Trust Norfolk-SEN Flash Mob signing choir brings Forum to standstill

On Friday 10th July over 80 students, from Complex Needs School all over Norfolk, converged to Norwich to celebrate the launch of their Trust. Singing and signing ‘This little light of mine’ the students and staff illuminated the Forum.

The students and staff were then able to explore and enjoy their ‘Celebration Textile Art Work’, which was also on display within the Forum. Over the weekend many visitors have been able to see this wonderful collaborative artwork, a symbol of how strong our schools can be when we work effectively together. Artist Dominique Clark travelled far and wide, for over 14 months, to reach out and support students when creating this textile exhibition.

Going forward, the Trust aims to strengthen Norfolk Education Department’s Local Offer, helping students, families and other professionals to support those within the SEND community.