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Academy wins Nasen's national award for excellent practice in Post-16 education

Whitefield Academy Trust’s work helping students into the world of work has received national recognition from Nasen (National Association of Special Educational Needs) with an award for Excellent Practice in Post-16 education. The award, presented at ceremony at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London celebrates outstanding practice that provides improved outcomes for young people. 

Whitefield and Joseph Clarke Schools’ work is designed to help students lead fulfilling lives after school. This includes everything from conventional academic qualifications to everyday skills needed for independent living and also employability.

At the heart of Whitefield’s employability work sits Project Search, a supported internship programme which gives students real-world job placements and training.  Whitefield runs Project Search in conjunction with Barts Health NHS Trust, which hosts many of our interns at Whipps Cross and Royal London Hospital where they gain experience working in three different departments over the course of a year.  

The programme has proved tremendously successful, with over 70% of interns going on to find a full-time regular, mainstream job and others finding apprenticeships. 

In fact, it has proved so successful that the Academy Trust has opened it to students from other schools who have special educational needs. 

With demand growing Whitefield is now looking to expand beyond Project Search and is looking for local employers who would like to host supported short-term work experience placements. 

Congratulating the teams and young people who made the success at the Nasen awards possible, Elaine Colquhoun, CEO of Whitefield Academy Trust said “We’re all delighted by this award that reflects the hard work of the students, the teachers and job coaching staff. It is also due in no small part to the commitment of all the people at Barts Health NHS Trust who have worked with us over the past 6 years. We have plans to strengthen our curriculum within the Academy even further with a focus on employability” 

Employers interested in helping Whitefield expand their work experience programmes  should contact Jamie Bargeman, Post 16 Leader / Project SEARCH Manager 

Vanessa Phelps (left) with anet Wingate-Whyte, Project SEARCH  Lead at Whipps Cross; Jamie Bargeman , Project Search Manager; Laura Pease, Whitefield Schools Principal and Anna Tyrrell, Project Search Lead at the Royal London Hospital
Vanessa Phelps (left) with Janet Wingate-Whyte, Project SEARCH  Lead at Whipps Cross Hospital; Jamie Bargeman , Project Search Manager; Laura Pease, Whitefield Schools Principal and Anna Tyrrell, Project Search Lead at the Royal London Hospital 

About Project Search

Project started in the US and spread internationally. Each country may have many separate Project SEARCH operations, serving a particular region.  
Since its inception in 1996, Project Search has grown from a single programme site at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to a large and continuously expanding international network of sites.  

Since 2013 Whitefield has run the Project Search programme in North East London in partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust. Search's training and job placement offers an unparalleled success rate, with over 70% of students who complete placements moving into full-time work. The programme has proven so successful that it now takes special needs students from many other schools. 
This coordination of Project Search in the UK  has been taken over by The DFN Charitable Foundation, a UK registered charity established in 2014 by David Forbes Nixon with the express aim of promoting programmes which significantly improve the employment prospects of young people with learning disabilities and autism spectrum conditions. - information about Whitefield and Barts Health NHS Trust – DFN’s information about Project SEARCH in the UK