Billing Brook, a special school in Northampton has achieved this award for the third time.
A Well Maintained Learning Environment
The overall school environment is very well maintained. Displays in classrooms and communal areas are up to date and reflect information, activities, student work and working walls. Classrooms are well equipped with quality furnishings, ICT and all learning areas are well designed to meet the needs of individual learners. Modular furniture (desk/chairs/tables) enable staff to organise teaching rooms to accommodate subjects and need. ICT is an embedded feature of all teaching and learning activities with opportunities for learners to work independently, in pairs and groups and as coaches. The style of teaching is aspirational and challenging with a constant focus on “What’s next?” which engages and motivates learners. Teaching and support staff demonstrate high levels of consistency and skill in both managing challenging behaviour and inspiring learners to be totally immersed in their learning journey.
A Truly Inclusive Ethos
The IQM Self Evaluation Report submitted by the academy is extremely comprehensive and gives an accurate description of the truly inclusive ethos evident throughout the school. The academy currently works with its partner school (The Grange, Daventry) although this provision is due to close and Billing Brook is very involved with the successful transition of pupils into new school places. There are significant increases to numbers due in September, usual intake is approximately 7 however this year that number is already at 17. There are constantly changing needs of students together with, this year, higher levels of achievement. This has necessitated changes and challenges for transition issues and changes to the current curriculum. Innovative and new approaches to learning are evident throughout all areas of the school: Dynamo Maths, Grammar Bug, Tac Pac, Theory of Mind.
Embedded Ethos of the Inclusion Agenda
The most recent Ofsted inspection (2015) judged the school to be outstanding in all areas. The school is confident that the standard will be maintained for future inspections. The SER document gives a very comprehensive outline of the rationale for undertaking the IQM assessment, demonstrating the school’s embedded ethos in the inclusion agenda. The objective based information in support of this self-assessment also reflects this judgement.
An Enthusiastic and Dedicated Staff Team
The staff team is enthusiastic and dedicated to meeting the needs of all learners in the school and their levels of training and expertise are evident in all aspects of the school day. The Senior Leadership Team are relentless in their monitoring of teaching and learning. Evaluation and feedback is rigorous with all staff CPD directly related to the school development plan and the ever-changing needs of the learners. This dynamism and commitment to providing outstanding provision to meet the needs of all pupils is totally embedded in the mindset of the staff team. Teaching and support staff have in-depth knowledge of all pupils based on rigorous assessment and sharing of information. The school, through its own appraisal and performance management systems, supports the professional development and skills of the staff team. There is a sound understanding of the Inclusion agenda by all teaching and support staff and pupils feel motivated, safe and involved in all aspects of school life.
The School Council
I met representatives of the School Council during my visit, who were excellent ambassadors for the school. They were keen to tell me about the school and the staff and demonstrated excellent social skills. All the students spoke about their love for the school particularly mentioning the long-lasting friendships they had formed, the patience and skill of all the staff and the wide-ranging opportunities which the school provided.
An Ongoing Commitment to Inclusion
The evidence presented to me during my visit to the school and information contained within the SER clearly demonstrates the outstanding practice in place and the on-going commitment to Inclusion. The school has identified realistic future plans across all elements of the SER and has set some challenging areas of development for the coming 12 months. I am confident that it has the capacity to sustain, share and develop inclusive practice. There have been considerable changes over recent years in terms of numbers, new builds, Academy status and collaboration with neighbouring schools. (The school has recently purchased a nearby building to convert into a 6th form centre). The school meets those challenges and uses a similar model to teach in the classroom to address the challenges successfully. Time is spent assessing and understanding the problem/issue. Plans are put together using expertise and knowledge from a wide range of contributors and then action plans are formulated. In turn, practice is then carefully monitored and evaluated, SLT and the whole school staff are then able to continue, change or innovate with a clear focus on taking positive steps forward.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
If your school is interested in obtaining the IQM Inclusive School Award or you wish to talk to a member of the IQM team please telephone:
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