Freehold Community Primary Academy in Oldham achieves the award for the third time.
Freehold Community Primary Academy obtained the Inclusion Quality Mark for the second time following a visit in November 2014. The academy has chosen to reapply for the award to support its own self-evaluation and to maintain the focus on every individual child.
Sources of Evidence
This report is based on the two-day visit, talking to a range of people within the school including pupils, governors, parents, school leaders, teachers, and teaching assistants. A learning walk was undertaken. The documentation provided was studied.
Freehold Community Primary Academy is a two form through Primary School, which also has a nursery intake of morning and afternoon pupils. The school became part of the Focus Trust in November 2015. The number of pupils coming from BME backgrounds is 99.5% with a total of 18 different languages being spoken. EAL is spoken by 96% of pupils. The majority (67%) of pupils are of Pakistani origin with a further 23% being Bangladeshi. Free school meal numbers stand at 14.6%. This figure has fallen from 22% three years ago. This may be due to the introduction of Universal Credit. Forty-five percent of pupils live in the most deprived areas of Oldham.
Highly Inclusive School
Freehold Community Primary Academy is a highly inclusive school. Every adult who spoke, voiced a determined and passionate attitude that each individual child should thrive and progress at the academy. The school community faces many challenges and yet the academy has introduced much that supports and welcomes every child.
The Freehold Five
The Freehold five: Honesty, Integrity, Respect, Resilience and Empathy. These characteristics were embedded throughout the academy and provided a solid basis for other developments. Year 2 children at dinner described explicitly the meaning of each of these words.
The school council provided a great example of how to include all pupils in consultative processes. Every pupil in the school is part of the school council and systems have been put in place so that all students are involved in each council consultation.
Checks on Learning
Classes are organised along mixed ability lines. However, at the introduction of each topic or concept there are checks of each child’s prior knowledge so that appropriate interventions/groupings can be made for the topic in question. The checks on learning continue throughout the teaching of a topic with immediate marking by class teachers and the well-trained teaching assistants seen throughout the school. Data collected by the school is also used on a regular basis to check that each child is making progress and that no groups of pupils are underachieving.
Parents are encouraged to be part of the team that supports the children. Parents spoke of the academy being very approachable, with numerous opportunities for communication about children’s progress. The academy provides support for parental involvement with additional workshops and classes.
Excellent Relationships within School
Relationships within the school were observed to be excellent. In addition, pupils, teachers, governors, teaching assistants all spoke very positively about the school, their role in it, and feeling valued.
There is recognition throughout the academy that children from this neighbourhood often need more than a standard education. To this end, there is a wide range of extra-curricular activities that take place including a before school breakfast club as well as activities at lunchtime and after school.
A Respect for Diversity
The Freehold five includes respect and the academy develops a respect for diversity via a carefully planned PSHCE programme, assemblies, and a range of other activities. For example, in year 6 children studied “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” where they learnt empathy and respect for a group outside their immediate community.
Positive Culture of Respect
Credit must be given to the Headteacher and the staff in developing such a positive culture of respect and inclusion throughout the whole school community.
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