Behaviour is Outstanding
Abbot’s Hall Community Primary School is an ‘all-through’ school for students aged 4-11 in Stowmarket, Suffolk. There are currently 370 pupils on roll.
The most recent Ofsted report (2018) comments that, ‘leaders have created a culture where behaviour is outstanding. Pupils are extremely polite, courteous, and welcoming to visitors.’ This culture was prominent during the assessment.
The respectful behaviour, enthusiasm for learning and positive attitude of pupils are highly commendable. This emanates from a thoroughly embedded and cohesive programme that looks for the good in everyone. The school’s mission statement, ‘Be the Best that You Can Be’ is simple, effective and was seen to be fully embedded, influencing all aspects of school life, providing a common goal, linking together achievement programmes, the school behaviour ladder, assembly celebrations including ‘proud’ certificates, sports and school values, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Rights and Responsibilities programme and the sensitive but sophisticated interventions that support all learning programmes in all subjects. All students are included in all topics and have equity of participation. More importantly, students referred passionately in discussion to the importance of including everyone and having mutual responsibility.
Inclusion is at the heart of the school’s ethos and is also one of four key values advocated by the Trust (Children’s Endeavour Trust) to which the school belongs. Partnership and collaboration in all aspects of school life and among all stakeholders are particularly important to the school, and are noticeable on displays, in conversations and in the programmes delivered in classrooms and via extra-curricular activity. The school’s work to promote respect for religious and moral values and tolerance of other races, religions and ways of life was seen on displays and students spoke with great heartfelt enthusiasm about how interesting and important this aspect of their learning was. Similarly, staff were passionate in their views that multicultural respect was extremely important. When asked to explain why, one teacher said, “because the world is a small place, and everyone deserves the same chances; giving and making others happy is what makes us happy”.
The PHSE programme, Respect and Responsibility, in the school is a key driver of leadership and of course this includes student leadership. The school council members explained that they are listened to and know their voice ‘is paramount’ and were proud to describe some of the initiatives that they had been responsible for instigating, including the creation of a quiet area on the playground, where students can go to think or seek support from their peers and an outside classroom (Blue Sky classroom).
The Rights and Responsibilities work of the school, using the UNICEF framework, further underpins the school’s beliefs, with a clear focus on ensuring there is no discrimination in either being able to voice ideas and thoughts or having access to learning and facilities. Students spoken with were clear that they believed it was just as important to speak up and act for other people as well as obtain equity for themselves. Students entering the school with lower-than-expected starting points are sensitively and well catered for. Personal support plans are created and both within and outside class interventions helped pupils catch up in a style and at a pace that suited the individual. These plans are shared with parents and pupils so that they can clearly see next steps and can celebrate all achievements made. The enthusiastic way that pupils reacted to specialist intervention, regarding it as a positive activity, was particularly notable.
Respect for Religious and Moral Values
The school’s leadership is conscious of their setting in the middle of the Suffolk countryside and how this could restrict multi-cultural opportunities for pupils. The school seeks to ‘teach respect for religious and moral values and tolerance of other races, religions and ways of life’. To this end, they have conducted and are acting on a cultural capital survey of pupils resulting in the creation of the programme called ‘100 Experiences before you leave Abbot’s Hall Primary School’.
This programme will further enhance the curriculum offer, enhancing opportunity even further for pupils to engage in real-life experiences outside of school, developing their cultural capital and social development. The programme includes learning to sing a song, taking part in a democratic election, fundraising for a charity, learning a musical instrument, taking part in a range of religious events and learning to greet people in a different language.
In addition, the school’s bespoke Reading Spine is specifically designed to incorporate a wide range of texts about other cultures, countries, and the topic of difference, which are then used to link with other curriculum subjects to reinforce inclusion and multi-cultural messages.
The school’s Pupil Support Officer is at the school gate every morning, providing parents with a means of raising concerns or sharing messages easily and instantly. This kind, welcoming and open atmosphere is amplified by the school’s therapy dog: a key member of staff. Darcy greets pupils every morning and actively assists some pupils into school, mitigating anxiety. She ensures everyone enters school with confidence and a smile.
This sentiment was endorsed by the Chair of Governors, who went further stating, “it is not just the staff, it is the students. They are all helpful to each other and, irrespective of their own situation, they are always positive.”
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