‘Warm and welcoming’ LVS Hassocks recognised with IQM Inclusive School Award for embracing diversity and inclusion

3rd March 2022

LVS Hassocks in west Sussex, winners of the ISA Award for Outstanding Provision of Learning Support in 2020, have been honoured with an award celebrating the ‘warm and welcoming’ environment they provide for students.

They have been recognised with the IQM Inclusive School Award after assessor Kat Brooker commended the school for the ‘haven’ that it has cultivated, which allows children to be nurtured.

LVS Hassocks is a specialist school for young people with autism. Based in Hassocks, they are a co-educational school who help 11-19 year olds on their educational journey.

As well as being called a ‘very special school’, Kat Brooker added in her report:

  • “LVS is warm and welcoming from the second you enter the door. The passion that staff have for ensuring students receive the best possible holistic experience is palpable”
  • “For every learner, it is a place they are accepted, appropriately challenged, and prepared for their lives ahead”
  • “It is a haven where students receive the nurture and understanding they need to build personal strength, resilience, and ambition”
  • “The value placed upon staff wellbeing makes for a resilient staff team and thus facilitates the positive atmosphere at LVS Hassocks”

Since they were honoured with the IQM Inclusive School Award, LVS Hassocks have now become an IQM Centre of Excellence, providing the platform to bring schools together and build on their excellent practice.

One of the ways that LVS Hassocks help prepare students for adulthood is the use of the Oast Café. This provides a forum for children to practice a variety of life skills that will be key for them in the future.

The west Sussex school clearly embrace the key message outlined by Bobbie Mills; author of the paper released by the Education Policy Institute on pupil inclusion earlier this year…

“An effective school group must meet the needs of all pupils in the communities it serves.”

Parents clearly appreciate the efforts that LVS Hassocks have gone to in order to create an inclusive environment for all, with many of their students arriving having encountered negative school experiences as a result of their diagnosis in the past. One added:

“I just can’t fault the school, they know him as an individual and treat him as an equal”.

Susan Webb, the ISA Regional Ambassador for the schools within our London South area, added:

“When you enter the school, it is obvious what a successful and caring environment it provides to encourage all students to thrive.”

At LVS Hassocks, supporting students to know and understand about the diversity within both its local and national community is key to its life skills programme.

They are recognised as a school that “provides the very best education for all children irrespective of differences” (IQM Award, 2022).

Jen Weeks, Principal of LVS Hassocks, reiterates that they ‘celebrate diversity’ within their school and is proud of the work done to create equal opportunities for those with autism:

“We don’t believe in invisible people at LVS Hassocks, and we are proud of every single person’s achievement and celebrate the diversity within our school.

“We are delighted to have been recognised for the hard work which goes on at LVS Hassocks and the inclusive culture we have embedded.

“Our school aims of ‘learn, grow, achieve’ are at the heart of all that we do from curriculum design, working with local businesses, participating alongside in activities with mainstream schools and preparing students for life post LVS Hassocks.

“As a society there is still much more to do to ensure that autistic people across the country have equal opportunities to the rest of society, access to the services they need to have good health, wellbeing, education and employment opportunities to enable them to participate fully in their communities.”