From education to employment

Fortis Trust Shortlisted for the TT Education Trailblazer Award

Fortis Trust Shortlisted for the TT Education Trailblazer Award

Fortis Trust is thrilled to announce that it has been shortlisted for the prestigious Trailblazer Award as part of TT Education’s Empowerment Awards. This nomination acknowledges Fortis Trust’s exceptional collaboration with Forward2Employment to support young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) in securing meaningful employment. The recognition highlights Fortis Trust’s innovative practices and its commitment to fostering an inclusive, positive approach to school leadership and pedagogy.

The Trailblazer Award nomination comes as Fortis Trust prepares to attend the School Improvement and Development Conference and the TT Education Awards Evening on June 20, 2024, at the University of Warwick.

2024 has already been a significant year for Fortis Trust, marked by the successful bid to the Department for Education to establish a new all-through Special Educational Needs (SEN) Free School in Whitstable, Kent.  The Whitstable Free School will provide 120 additional specialist places, significantly enhancing local educational infrastructure and support systems for students with special needs.

In addition, Fortis Trust has secured an expansion of Bradfields Academy, a Specialist SEN Academy in Chatham, Kent, which will see student cohort numbers increase to 444 in 2025.  The success of Forward2Employment’s pilot scheme for Supported Employment further underscores Fortis Trust’s dedication to providing extensive support for individuals across Kent, facilitating their transition into purposeful employment. Furthermore, Fortis Trust’s collaboration with local schools in Medway and Kent, in partnership with The PTI, enables teachers to enrich their subject knowledge through innovative methods, with expert teachers and speakers providing new ways of engaging learners across a wide variety of subjects.

Bradfields Academy and Forward2Employment, both overseen by Fortis Trust, continue to set benchmarks in their respective fields. Bradfields Academy, renowned for its innovative approach to special education, has consistently received ‘Outstanding’ ratings from Ofsted and caters to over 300 students aged 4-19 with complex learning needs, including MLD and ASD Benefiting from the Department for Education’s Schools Rebuilding programme, the academy is set to expand to accommodate up to 444 students. Forward2Employment, serving young adults aged 16-25 with SEND, facilitates supported internships to aid transition into permanent employment, emphasising community integration and societal contribution. Forward2Employment has recently received an Ofsted rating of Good in their first full inspection.

On receiving the news, Marie Sweetlove-Smyth, Chief Executive of Fortis Trust stated:

“We are immensely proud to be shortlisted for the Trailblazer Award by TT Education. This nomination is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team at Fortis Trust. Our collaboration with Forward2Employment and our ongoing initiatives to expand educational opportunities and support systems for young people with SEND reflect our unwavering commitment to inclusivity and innovation. We look forward to continuing our mission to empower every student and provide them with the skills and opportunities they need to thrive in society.”

Elizabeth Halton, Principal of Forward2Employment furthered the CEO’s comments by adding:

“All the team at Forward2Employment work tirelessly to extend the opportunities for young people in Kent and Medway and give them the support that they need to gain employment.  To see that work recognised and be nominated for this award is a real honour and a testament to the dedication of the team.  With the support of Fortis Trust, we look forward to continuing to grow so that we can offer more young people the support they deserve and build a brighter future for everyone.”

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