Ongoing Drive for Inclusivity
An ongoing drive for inclusivity and equality of access to opportunities emanates throughout Babington Academy. This is fostered by knowledgeable and experienced Leadership and a willingness and ability to both plan strategically with foresight but also adapt to the ever-changing needs of its cohort which comprises 55% Pupil Premium (PP), 48% English as an Additional Language (EAL) (children having 67 different languages as their mother tongues), 15% in receipt of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Support and 56 students with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). A holistic delivery of education is highly evident and is built upon excellent knowledge of the communities from which its students come, through reliable research and intensive work with a wide range of agencies.
Despite the large number of students, the atmosphere at Babington Academy is calm and focused. In the classrooms visited, children were engaged and willing to learn. Staff teach an ambitious curriculum that promotes high attainment and adaptations are put in place to support all students to achieve as much as possible. Leadership is very realistic and strategic in identifying the need to further develop classroom pedagogy, to successfully include the increasing number of students experiencing Special Needs within the Wave One Classroom. There is a plan to develop teacher skills even further and this will be the basis of the academy’s forthcoming IQM project.
‘Fit to Learn’
To ensure that students are ‘fit to learn’, Leadership has invested heavily in a wide range of support staff and outside agencies. There is a conscious attempt to match the demographic of staff with that of students. The academy has many staff who are not teachers, but educators in various ways: two full-time Mental Health First Aiders, two full-time counsellors, 31 Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs), seven Student Welfare Officers, alongside seven Heads of Houses.
To retain students within mainstream education as much as possible, there has been an expansion of ‘The Branch’ as an internal Alternative Provision (AP) for 28 students who are at risk of permanent exclusion. They are either school-phobic and/or in need of therapeutic support. A specific, yet flexible, curriculum and timetable are in place so that students receive appropriate teaching.
During the IQM visit, it was clear that staff at Babington Academy knew the ‘Branch’ children very well. They all had varying needs but were engaged in individual activities which were appropriate at that time. One student was very keen to show the contributions he had made to the extended new ‘Branch’ room. Despite his finding the change in the environment quite difficult, he was being helped by his involvement in its arrangement and displays, etc., thus both exercising personal responsibility and building a personal investment in his learning space; he was proud. Notably, there was a significant improvement in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) results of students with SEND last year, including those with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) challenges. This success is driving the introduction of ‘Branches’ into other schools within the Trust.
‘The Babington Pledge’
A wide range of clubs and activities are available to students and there are concerted efforts made to involve as many as possible, enabling them to develop Cultural Capital, self-esteem, and a positive approach to the community, alongside specialist skills and knowledge.
‘The Babington Pledge’, by definition, demands a commitment from all stakeholders. It is displayed around the academy and supported by the need for PROUD actions: Personal Responsibility; Resilience; Offering Gratitude; Understanding Myself and Others; Dare to Dream.
A sense of pervading ‘kindness’, despite everything which might sometimes mitigate against it within a group of teenage young people facing a range of difficulties and challenges in today’s world, runs through Babington Academy like a stick of rock.
Students trust staff and know that they will be ‘caught, should they fall’ but they must also accept personal responsibility for their actions and learning so that they can succeed, despite any challenges and barriers they might experience, rather than fail because of them. This is facilitated and promoted through high challenge and strong, comprehensive academic and pastoral support structures, which work well together to identify and address needs.
Within these structures, systems and resources are constantly evolving to ensure that the school is dynamic and serving its students and the community as well as it can. Leadership strategically and judiciously draws upon appropriate agencies and organisations, if it is believed that they will add positively to students’ experience, wellbeing and learning. It works with other schools in the Learning Without Limits Academy Trust to develop pedagogy and inclusive practice and its vision is highly regarded by the Local Authority.
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: [email protected] for further details.
Want more information on the IQM Award? Click here to request your free IQM information pack.