Riverside School is a secondary (11-16) special needs school based in Haringey, North London. Our learners all have statements/EHCPs and have wide range of general, complex, severe and profound and multiple learning difficulties, and many of our community have emotional, language and communication needs. Nearly two-thirds of our school population have a diagnosis of autism. Having such a complex and diverse cohort necessitates our harnessing technology in creative and exciting ways. We were awarded the ICT Mark in December 2013, and we are now looking to build upon that success.

Comments from the judges (video below)

Judge 1

The school’s motto is ‘Learning to live life to the full’ and I believe that this is what they are achieving here. Students are engaged and empowered through the use of the vast range of technologies. These are used to:
• personalise the learning experiences and teachers clearly have a very indepth understanding of their needs and how different technologies might be used to support and challenge students.
• facilitate communication.
• enhance the learning experiences by facilitating multi-modal and multi-sensory approaches.
• support learning and teaching across the curriculum and throughout the key stages.
• empower students to be able to capture, communicate and exchange their thoughts and learning outcomes.
• allow students to choose how to complete a task.
• develop transferrable skills.
• develop greater confidence and independence.
• empower students to participate in a wide range of experiences that would not be possible otherwise.
• maximise creativity, particularly in music.
• facilitate mini-enterprise activities such as creating and selling their own music CDs.
• help students to understand and appreciate how the technologies are helping.
• enhance the learning environment, with students being encouraged to make choices about the music, the lighting, etc.
• facilitate capture, recording and reporting on student progress and to inform further provision.
• make learning fun.

Judge 2

The use of technology throughout the school is completely embedded and this school demonstrates clearly how the technology is an integral part of empowering young people, giving them the ability to make choices, enabling their communication with others and personalising their learning. In this way, the technology contributes to their quality of life, both in and out of school, bringing fun to their learning experiences.  There are areas that are strengths for the school – using technology well and pupils leading learning. The school could provide further evidence of how the use of technology enables the development of their community of learning – for example, is Solar used to engage parents with their child’s learning? Is pupils work shared on the website or a blog so they receive feedback from real audiences? Is extended or informal learning through the use of technology recognised in some way, e.g. through digital badging?  The use of technology for social collaboration, games, creativity and enquiry based learning are all mentioned, though the school could further expand on the examples given to demonstrate how securely their 3rd Millennium approaches are embedded.