The best possible outcomes for every young person, whatever their starting point 

Welcome to Highfield Ely. The whole-school vision above is the touchstone for every decision we make, and our curriculum is carefully designed to lead towards it.

Our Values

Our core values as a school community are:

Equity - fairness in all actions, decisions and interactions

Respect - to each other, ourselves and the wider world

Perseverance - in learning and in life

Kindness and Compassion - to everyone we encounter

These values can be seen consistently across the school and are demonstrated by staff and students alike. 

We operate a single curriculum with three linked Pathways; Green, Yellow and Blue. Students access learning in whichever Pathway is most appropriate for them and they may move between Pathways during their time at Highfield. See our curriculum page to learn more about how each subject looks within each Pathway. Our system is a result of our experience that we can ensure accelerated progress, better learning outcomes and excellent peer relationships when we group learners with others who are working at a similar level and learning in a similar way. At the same time, all students spend time with their peers from different Pathways several times every day. 

Mark Lowery, author of many popular childrens' books had this to say about Highfield Ely after he visited us for a literacy event.

"I just wanted to say how blown away I was by everything I saw when I came to visit you last week. I've worked in education for a long time and visited hundreds of schools, but there was something unique about Highfield. The students were fantastic and the staff were clearly dedicated and talented. On top of this, there was a buzz and a warmth about the place that made it feel very welcoming and special. If my experiences have taught me two things, it's that these things don't happen by accident, and that people are a lot more keen to tell you what you're doing wrong than what you're doing right. So I just wanted to say thank you for welcoming me to your school, and well done to everyone for creating such a wonderful learning environment."

We deliver challenging yet engaging lessons which foster a genuine love of learning. Some of our students may have previously had negative experiences with learning and this is a barrier we work hard to remove. 

Personal Development

Personal development is at the heart of our ethos and our curriculum and we pride ourselves on the incredible personal journeys our students take. We know each and every one of our learners as individuals and we approach their development accordingly. Our vision is "the best possible outcomes for every young person, whatever their starting point" - below are some examples of how our students develop over their time at Highfield.























We see pupils in all Pathways greatly develop their communication skills. For some this may be developing the ability to communicate their wants and needs, for others it may be about having the confidence to successfully navigate a job interview. This opens doors for them, removing a potential barrier and giving them a voice. It reduces behaviours that might otherwise prevent them from accessing their communities, further education, employment and relationships. It improves their relationships with the people around them and gives them a new-found self confidence.

Physical and mental wellbeing

For many of our learners, physical and/or mental wellbeing can be huge barriers to them being able to achieve their full potential. We see incredible results over time through consistent, focused work on these areas with our specialist team.

Behaviour and attitudes

Our positive, therapeutic approach yields great results over time and our pupils leave us more able to manage their emotions and behaviour in a range of situations that might previously have challenged them. This allows them to access opportunities and experiences that might otherwise been inaccessible for them. 


Our students enjoy school and they want to be here - we know that many of them have not always had a positive attitude towards education. We know through keeping in touch with former pupils and their families that this translates to life after Highfield and means that they embrace opportunities for further education, social care placements and employment.






















Many of our young people have had difficulties in the past with developing relationships with their peers. We see this change over time and they leave us as more confident individuals with established friendships and the ability to develop new ones.

Cultural capital

Our curriculum is carefully planned to allow our students to see, take part in and learn about a broad range of different cultures and experiences. We take into account the barriers that people with SEND can face and take every opportunity to access areas that may otherwise be difficult to experience. This includes residential trips far away from home, visits to our local mosque, preparation and eating of foods from different cultures, visits to museums and galleries, a spectacular Prom night and even disability friendly open water kayaking. 

Academic success

Our students are successful learners, and we want them to recognise and celebrate this quality within themselves. Pupils in all Pathways work towards qualifications that are relevant to them and which allow them to move on to their next steps in education and in life. 

Transitions and life after Highfield

The transition between school and the next step can be daunting for learners and their families alike. We manage this transition carefully and over time. We work with students, their families, the local authority, FE providers and Social Care settings to ensure that transitions are successful. We see so many of our pupils go on to achieve incredibly well, whatever their starting point when they joined us.

Student/Parent/Carer Voice 

Parents’/Carers’ and students’ feedback is taken into account throughout the year in annual reviews, parents’ and carers’ evenings, by email, during lessons – in a very wide range of ways. We listen, take note and reflect on suggestions and comments. Where we believe a student or family member has highlighted a way we can improve our curriculum, we listen and make changes. 

We hope that you find our website to be helpful, informative and interesting. If you would like a paper copy of any of the information contained on our school’s website or would like to arrange a visit, please don't hesitate to contact us.

If you have any questions about the school that you cannot find the answer to here, please contact Adam Daw, Headteacher on