Parklands High School in Chorley, Lancashire achieves the national award for the first time.
Parklands High School is an institution whose inclusive values permeate the actions of the school. The motto of Learn, Respect, Aspire, Achieve, can be seen in the decisions and actions of both staff and students at the school. The respect for all at the school has meant that a truly inclusive culture has developed. The inclusiveness includes the valuing of staff seen by medical schemes, staff clubs and focus on staff training. The high staff morale has meant that members of staff are also prepared to go that extra mile on behalf of students.
An Inclusive Approach
Structures within the school can be specifically seen to support an inclusive approach. Parklands High School is divided into five houses and within each house are vertical tutor groups. Both staff and students talked very positively of the benefits of this vertical system with students able to mentor and support each other, leadership skills being learned, and the house staff team developing relationships with young people that lasted throughout the students’ career at school. The House Achievement Leader, a non-teacher, is pivotal in ensuring personal support for each student, it being recognised that providing for student needs removes barriers to learning.
Parklands High School is an 11-16 Converter academy with a fully comprehensive intake. There are approximately 1100 pupils on role with 28% pupil premium students, 3% SEN, and 91% being part of the White British ethnic group, with 9% from other ethnic minorities. The school deprivation factor is 0.14 below the national average of 0.20. The school is regularly oversubscribed.
Investment in Student Support
Parklands High School has invested heavily in other areas of support for students including a school counsellor, a social worker (who is the DSP), and a time out room (called the intervention room) where students can work for short periods if necessary. Student leadership opportunities can be seen throughout the school: subject leaders, digital ambassadors, senior school leaders, and learning ambassadors to name some of the types of leaders!
The Importance of Data
School data is also used to develop inclusion. Attainment and progress data collected every term is analysed and checked so that interventions are put in place for each underachieving student. Following each data trawl every student has an interview with their House Achievement Leader and plans are put in place for students underachieving or coasting. Behaviour for learning data is also collected each half term. More recently Behaviour for learning grades have been collected each lesson. This means that it will be nearly impossible to miss students who have quietly achieved throughout a half term, and their success will now be celebrated.
Celebrating Student Success
Celebration of student success plays an important part in school life. There are formal opportunities such as presentation events and assemblies for this to occur, but also, a culture has grown up where most staff regularly contact parents when a student has done something worthy of positive comment. The very wide range of extra-curricular activities give opportunities for students with diverse interests to participate and develop skills.
Where Difference is Celebrated
Students spoke about the valuing of difference, clearly the inclusion agenda extends to developing a culture where difference is celebrated. Posters from Stonewall can be seen around the school, the Respect curriculum has recently included work on transgender issues. There is celebration of different religions and other ways of life. Credit must be given to the Headteacher of the school, her leadership team, and staff in developing such a culture of respect and inclusion throughout the whole school community.
It has been a privilege to meet the staff and student of Parklands High School and hear from them how they value what they do in their school and care for the other members of the school community.
This report is based on a two-day visit, talking to a range of people within the Academy including governors, school leaders, the SENCO, House Achievement Leader Coordinator, Careers advisor, and groups of students. A short learning walk was undertaken. The documentation provided was studied. The summary and report should be read in conjunction with the school’s thorough self-evaluation document.
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