The Collett School - Special Educational Needs

The Collett School is a “very” special school in Hemel Hempstead attended by children from all over Hertfordshire. 50% have Autism and two of our pupils have very rare diagnosis. One who is one of only two in the world and another who is one of only six in the world.  Almost half of our children are under Great Ormond Street Hospital. Nearly 50% of our pupils come from disadvantaged backgrounds; some are in care, fostered and many have parents who have special needs themselves. We are the only "Special" school in Hertfordshire who cater for 4 to 17 year olds.

This year we are celebrating our 50th year.

The Collett School is striving to become a flagship for special education by changing the perception of and the way our children learn and grow.  Our mission is to support the children to grow in confidence and as much independence as possible allowing them to be part of society and contribute to the community. We have been highly proactive in achieving as much as we can with little money and hard graft by the staff, our parents and pupils.  We are now in a position that we need help!

We have been required to have more children without additional funding and although this is important to us, we need support in being able to provide suitable and safe spaces to help achieve our vision of equipping these children to be part of and contribute to our mainstream world.  As it is, we have turned every cupboard into classrooms, therapist and counsellor rooms!

Going forward we have an inspirational and exciting vision including the creation of a functional, eco-treehouse classroom to support learning – this is particularly important for our children with Autism, at the cost of a portacabin.

Because we really believe that our children require the life skills to secure independence, we intend to build a three-bedroomed Life-Skills House.  Here, pupils will be supported to budget and pay bills, have overnight stays, maintain the property and cook healthy meals.  Talking with other local groups,(MIND, MENCAP, SCOPE) we are sure this is a facility they would welcome the opportunity to use evenings, weekends and school holidays.

As we believe the majority of our children are capable of entering the world of work, be it paid or voluntary, and many employers are nervous of employing people with learning difficulties, we plan to build an artisan centre. Here there would be many learning opportunities in one centre, on our school site. Work experience with practicing artists, paid employment serving and baking in the cafe, literacy, numeracy and social skills and the experience of a workplace. A real venue that the community would visit because it was great coffee and cake not just to support disabled people. This, we feel,  would break down taboos and demonstrate our children' ability to be valuable contributors.

Is this is a project you would consider being involved with? We would love you to visit our school at any time and see the innovative changes we have already made – we are sure you will fall in love with the school, our pupils and the vision.