Aerodrome Primary Academy in Croydon, Surrey has achieved the Inclusive School Award with Centre of Excellence status.
Context of the School
Aerodrome Primary Academy is a larger than average primary school with a children’s centre, nursery and Enhanced Learning Provision (ELP) serving a diverse population in the London Borough of Croydon. The catchment area is one of significant deprivation and wide social and cultural mix with higher than average numbers of pupils eligible for pupil premium.
The Learning Environment
The school is very welcoming with a warm, friendly atmosphere throughout. The environment inside the school is bright and very positive with beautiful displays in the corridors and classrooms. The outside areas are wonderful spaces for children to play and learn together with amazing adventure play areas for all key stages. The Headteacher sets the tone for the supportive, caring, inclusive framework with high expectations of all and she has been rigorous in ensuring that the school’s inclusive vision is implemented and thoroughly embedded in the life of the school. She and the SLT lead by positive, enthusiastic example and oversee all aspects of inclusion: there is an open-door policy for staff, pupils and parents, who are genuinely listened to with the result that everyone works hard as a team to achieve the best possible outcomes for children. The school’s Inclusion Manager/SENCO plays a very important role in developing the school’s excellent support for pupils with SEND and works very closely with parents and families. The inclusion of children with SEND is exceptional with pupils’ individual needs at the forefront and an excellent team, including the full time Speech and Language therapist, specialist teachers, TAs, school counsellor and EP work together to provide excellent support for children. The ELP is an exceptional, nurturing resource in which pupils make excellent progress, often moving full time into mainstream from here. The oracy strategies developed here are implemented by the whole school with very positive impact and are disseminated across the academy trust and beyond.
A Cohesive Team
Teaching and support staff work very well together to do their very best for all pupils. They spend a lot of time in planning thoroughly to meet their pupils’ individual needs and in the detailed marking of pupils’ work. Staff are positive and energetic and are fully committed to the pupils and to the school. They speak very highly of inclusive practices within Aerodrome Primary Academy. They share the common, inclusive vision and they feel they have excellent support and resources to enable them to do their work. Staff are encouraged and enabled to develop their skills through a range of CPD opportunities, regular staff meetings and team meetings have a strong focus on teaching and learning and strategies to meet pupils’ needs. Support staff are able to ask to go on relevant courses and to develop their expertise in key areas with very positive effect. Lessons are planned in detail, ensuring they are interesting and challenging for everyone and there are many imaginative and exciting activities planned for pupils. Another feature of the work of this school is the use of specialist coaches to teach PE and examples of the rich curricular/extra-curricular opportunities include specialist computing teaching in the excellent ICT suite, a superb cookery room, a music room and a wide range of trips, school journeys and after school clubs.
Pupils are very happy, self-confident, friendly and enthusiastic and behave very well around the school, in their lessons and in the playground. They speak very highly of their school and its staff, for whom they have great respect and they know that they are listened to and cared for. Pupils enjoy learning and they explain how the teachers encourage them and make learning fun. There are opportunities for pupils to take on roles of responsibility in the school including the school council and the learning council. Comments made by pupils include “I like this school because the teachers are always kind and caring and if we’re stuck they will always help us”, “We are all equal and no one feels left out”, “The work challenges me”, “Everyone is kind and caring to each other”, “It’s got all my friends here”.
Progress is rigorously monitored and individual targets are set for all pupils. A thorough tracking system ensures that pupils who are not progressing are targeted for interventions where needed. Pupil progress meetings are effective in ensuring that action is taken to support any pupils who are underachieving. As a result, interventions are tailored to individual needs and are monitored very carefully and adjusted as appropriate. There are rewards for pupils to celebrate their many achievements, which they are very proud and pleased to receive.
Excellent Relationships with Parents
The school has fostered excellent relationships with parents and it finds many ways to communicate with them and to involve them in the life of the school. Parents speak very highly of Aerodrome Primary Academy and its staff. A group of parents spoken to, including those whose children have additional needs, explained the thorough, caring and effective approach that the school takes towards meeting their children’s needs. The school listens to its parents and holds several workshops and daily open sessions to support parents in supporting their children. There is a parent forum and a ‘community cohesion’ team, which enable parents to be involved in consultation on important issues and to organise events and fundraising activities. Parents feel that communication with the school is excellent: the Headteacher and other staff are always available to speak with parents. Comments from parents included, “My child with SEND has never had any issues of not being included. Everyone knows him; they have concern for him and they love him. He participates in everything and is absolutely happy”. “My son was a shell before he came here. Now he performs in front of the whole school”, “In 7 weeks my son’s confidence has grown so much. Everyone is so friendly here. All the teachers and children say hello and the Headteacher is very visible”, “My child was in the unit. We did the same things at home as they did in the school and he has no language problems now”.
A Very Positive Reputation
The school’s reputation in the local community is very positive and there are good links with other local schools, including the main secondary schools to which pupils transfer. Aerodrome Primary Academy is part of a teaching school alliance and leads on NQT development and schools’ direct training within this alliance. There are 4 specialist leaders of education among the school’s staff who disseminate the school’s excellent practice across the academy trust. The school’s award-winning work on speech, language and communication within the ELP and across the school has been the subject of various educational magazine articles, which have also attracted visitors to learn from their excellent practice. All staff, parents, governors and pupils spoken to were extremely positive about the school’s work. There is a very genuine sense of team effort, of mutual support, of listening, discussing and of including everyone. The governing body is fully committed to the school’s vision and they play a very positive, active and supportive role in the school.
Exceptional Features of the School
Exceptional features of this school include the overall inclusive vision and positive leadership of the Headteacher; the excellent behaviour and positive attitudes of pupils; the brilliant work of the Inclusion Manager and other specialists to support children with SEND in the ELP and in mainstream; the outstanding team-work of SLT, teaching and support staff to enable all pupils to develop self-confidence and achieve.
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:
028 7127 7857 (9.00 am to 5.00 pm)
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
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