Inspired Directions School
Inspired Directions School delivers a high-quality curriculum enhanced by work-related learning and work experience. Developing pupils’ employability and enterprise skills, we offer a clear, supported pathway into relevant further education or training at 16. Our long-term aim is to equip each young person with the essential skills to secure employment or a place on a training or education course at 18.
Our school is a small, welcoming space for up to 15 pupils. Our pupils have regular opportunities to engage with a working office as our parent charity Inspire is based just next door. This gives us an opportunity to make use of the city and local employer connections established by Inspire such as HSBC, Adobe and Google, delivering onsite employability workshops, sessions to prepare young people for work experience, and business mentoring.
We are committed to staying in touch with all students who have graduated from Inspired Directions School, offering careers support and mentoring to ensure long-term positive outcomes for all.
The Inspired Directions School is located near Dalston Junction in Hackney. Download the Inspired Directions School Prospectus to find out more.
Who we support
Parents and carers
Curriculum and quality
Our policies and term dates
“It benefits us as students who go to this school because they push us to do the best in our exams and that. They want you to do the best, they want you to pass your GCSE’s, they want you to do something in life and they will try their hardest to push you.” Former Inspired Directions School student
Our school values are individualism, progression and community. With a maximum capacity of 15 pupils onsite, we can achieve a very high staff to student ratio of 1:2. This enables us to deliver weekly tutoring and mentoring sessions helps with behaviour management and allows us to support pupils as individuals.
Individuality and progression
We develop individual learning and behaviour plans in consultation with pupils and parents, which encourage pupils to explore their career interests and strengths. Pupils choose an area of specialism during their studies and can opt to study a vocational course at our partner college BSix for part of their school week. Vocational and academic learning is complemented by work experience placements.
During Year 11, we support students to apply for a college place or training course which will ultimately lead them into education, training or employment at 18.
A therapeutic environment
We offer a variety of therapies on site, delivered by qualified local professionals. This includes speech and language therapy, art and music therapy and counselling.
Working with the community
Based in the heart of Dalston, community engagement is a core part of our work. We work with local community partners to deliver our creative lessons such as drama, as well as therapy and work experience.
Multi-agency working is key to our success in supporting young people to thrive. We have strong relationships with a variety of local stakeholders including the local authority children’s services, extra-familial risk panel, police and CAMHS team.
Who we support
We work with pupils who are struggling to engage with mainstream education, including those who:
- Have experienced bullying in school
- Are vulnerable, anxious and/ or suffer from other mental health issues
- Have special educational needs
- Are looked after children
- Have English as an additional language
- Are repeat non-attenders
- Have multi-agency involvement
- Have Education Health and Care Plans
Our staff help pupils build resilience, and trust in adults and teachers.
Work experience and employer links
Our employer links include many local small to medium-sized enterprises. Such employers provide excellent work experience and work-related learning opportunities for pupils, to enhance their academic learning. Recent examples of previous pupils’ work experience have included auto mechanics, hairdressers and primary schools.
All pupils undertaking work experience with Inspire are supported throughout their placement. We conduct health and safety checks on host employers, visit pupils while on placement and keep in regular contact with work experience supervisors. We find that our students prefer their placements split over a number of weeks – attending their placement for one or two days each week, with support from mentors and school staff on either side. We also deliver a series of ‘get ready for work experience’ sessions with our pupils before they go on placement.
Our employability workshops focus on key skills for employment and enterprise and are delivered by our expert team at Inspire.
New for 2020 – we have developed an innovative ‘Virtual Work Experience’ programme, due to the restrictions that COVID-19 have placed on employers. Pupils can engage with employers online and to learn about employment through a new Inspire website which includes videos and 360-degree workplace tours.
Our work with parents and carers
Parents and carers are central to our work. We take a consultative approach, building trusting relationships through clear and consistent communication. Our day-to-day practice and daily staff de-briefs are informed by parental feedback. We also offer the following for parents and carers:
- Daily contact about student progress, behaviour and attendance
- Regular meetings to proactively plan for progression
- Coffee mornings
- Half termly parents’ evenings
- Termly parents’ forums
- End of term showcase events for pupils to present their work on a particular project
- One to one support, including connecting parents to local support and community organisations where needed
Feedback from our pupils’ families suggests that they feel that they are part of their child’s education at Inspired Directions School.
“Thank you, it feels like I have my daughter back, she’s so much happier since coming to IDS” – Parent at an end of term showcase event, 2020
“The school has done such a good job. It’s so nice to hear some good feedback about my son, I never used to hear anything positive at parents’ evenings.” IDS parent, Autumn 2020
As well focusing on Maths and English GCSEs and Functional Skills certificates, our work-related learning curriculum is geared towards ensuring students have a clear pathway to further education or training at 16, and that they progress into employment, education or training at 18. Pupils also have the opportunity to choose from one of five BTEC courses offered at our partner college, BSix.
We also deliver Essential Digital Skills (functional skills certificate), PSHE and work-related learning workshops covering a broad range of careers topics. All students have the opportunity to undertake relevant work experience through our charity’s connections with over 1,000 city and local employers. Using volunteers and content from corporate partners such as HSBC and Natixis, we coach each young person in employment skills and enterprise, as well as supporting them to develop key social and behavioural skills to help them thrive in their future careers.
Students receive weekly mentoring sessions and a minimum of 5 hours per week one-to-one tutoring, and this can be increased depending on student need.
Our school was awarded independent school status by the Department for Education in June 2014. Our latest Ofsted report in 2018 received an overall grading of ‘Good’. Ofsted reports can be downloaded below.
In June 2016 we received an external inspection from the North London Children’s Efficiency Programme (NLCEP) who also awarded us an overall grade of ‘Good’. Download a copy of the final report here.
Students are admitted to Inspired Directions School based on their needs and ‘fit’ with our school and student cohort. Our referral process involves:
- Completion of a referral form by the local authority, mainstream school or pupil referral unit
- We will then invite the pupil with their parent/ carer to an admissions interview and school tour
- Following a successful interview, we have an induction period for pupils which begins with a one-week offsite timetable in order for the pupil to get to know our staff
- Following successful completion of this week, students are invited in to attend school onsite
Download the Inspired Directions School’s policies below:
- Anti-Bullying Policy
- Assessment Recording and Monitoring Policy
- Complaints Policy & Procedures
- Curriculum Policy
- First Aid and Medication Policy
- Management of Allegations of Abuse
- Student Behaviour Policy
- SEN Policy and Guidance
- Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
- Safer Recruitment Policy
- Remote Learning Policy
- Online Safety Policy
You can access Inspire!’s company-wide policies here.
Autumn term 2020
- Start – Thursday 3 September 2020
- Half Term – Monday 26 October – Friday 30 October 2020
- End – Friday 18 December 2020
Spring term 2021
- Start – Monday 4 January 2021
- Half Term – Monday 15 February – Friday 19 February 2021
- End – Thursday 1 April 2021
Summer term 2021
- Start – Monday 19 April 2021
- Half Term – Monday 31 May – Friday 4 June
- End – Friday 23 July 2021
In light of the government national lockdown from Wednesday 6th January, we have changed the way we operate to ensure we are following government guidelines and to protect the safety of our staff, students and their families.
We are committed to providing high-quality education and care to all of our students and their families. Although we are changing the way we operate, we are working very hard to ensure students do not fall behind in their learning, while making sure they have the time and space to emotionally recover from the effects of lockdown and to explore their mental health and wellbeing.
We will therefore be offering a mixture of remote and onsite education during the lockdown. The school will open for two days each week (Tuesday and Thursday 9.30-3.00 pm). Remote learning will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We will maintain our high standards of teaching and learning and we will provide a full timetable of lessons to all students. We will ensure that any additional support any student is receiving, will continue during this time.
We expect the same high standards of attendance, engagement and behaviour from our students, and in this respect, our standard school policies will apply.
For more information regarding school operation during this time, please see:
To report a student as absent, please follow our standard school procedure: contact the School Attendance Officer before 9.30 am. The Attendance Office will call you if an absence is not reported. If we don’t hear from a student’s parent or carer for two consecutive days, we will conduct a home visit on the third day, or earlier if we are concerned. Please see our full ‘Attendance Policy’ for more information.
Attendance reporting contact information:
Phone: 07768 265 903
Safeguarding is at the heart of our work at the school. During this time, we will continue to ensure the safety of all young people under our care. For more information, please see our ‘Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy. Also, for parents at home looking to safeguard their children online, here are some tips for protecting them on social media.
We appreciate this is a difficult time and we are fully committed to providing quality support, education and care for our students and their families, regardless of national restrictions.
Please contact the Inspired Directions head of school Lee Amzaleg, for more information and referrals.