Bridgewater Primary School, Northamptonshire, has achieved the Inclusion Quality Mark’s Inclusive School Award.
Since the last visit, the developments at Bridgewater Primary School were exceptional to see, structures and processes have been extremely well thought through to address the needs of the whole community. The children are an absolute delight and are confident as well as engaging. The staff and Leaders know the children and their families very well, the children are very happy. They are extremely evaluative on their journey of research-based practice to find solutions to any challenges to improve the outcomes of all children and their families.
Developing Key Life Skills
Children are encouraged to develop key life skills very early on and previous years’ work is built upon, this was evident with the sequencing of words during ‘Anti-Bullying Week’. The children were able to explain how previous years’ words of ‘Compassion’ (2018) and Empathy’ (2019) relate to the current word of ‘Integrity’. The Action Plan for promoting Well-Being and Healthy Lifestyles 2019-2020 and the Anti-bullying Action Plan 2019 -2020 are just two examples of valuing inclusivity.
Leaders encourage an inclusive culture amongst the staff too, each member is either assigned to the ‘Curriculum School Team’ or ‘Healthy School Team’ and are encouraged to share their expertise, this was witnessed throughout the IQM Review Day. Leaders are excellent at encouraging staff and ‘tapping’ into talent and passions, for example, one member of staff was excellent at leading the Anti-Bullying Week and an advocate of Inclusive Practice, another was outstandingly leading on the Formative Assessment Project encouraging other teachers in a sensitive manner through training and guidance. This member of staff was also leading the running club in the school which was inclusive and open to all children. The inspirational staff in ‘The Bridge’ have developed the area into a wonderful safe environment for children to come to at lunch and breaktimes as well as for Nurture and ‘Bridge Afternoons’.
There is a wonderful display in the reception area of the school which tapped into the exceptional talent of a young teacher inspired by the work of ‘Yayoi Kusama ‘s interactive Obliteration Room’ which begins as a white space which visitors are invited to cover with stickers, in the school’s case, a table was used. Over the course of a few weeks the table was transformed by the children from a white table into an ‘explosion of colour’ with coloured spots stuck over every available surface. The passion and sense of purpose of everyone in the school resulted in the atmosphere being ebullient and happy.
The meeting with the Chair of Governors and a parent telephone conversation reinforced the feeling of a fully inclusive environment. The Chair of Governors was fully informed and up to date with the School Development Plan and the Flagship Award foci.
It was evident from the meeting that the Governing Body work collaboratively with the school and the Leaders, they make regular visits to and have specific roles within the Governing Body in order to support the Leaders most effectively according to the Governors’ individual expertise. The Chair felt that the Leaders continually evaluate their practice and encourage all staff to take the same approach. Learning Walks take place on a regular basis including specific areas, for example, the ‘PP Governor’ overseeing the progress of PP children during such visits, where all visits and discussions are monitored and evaluated.
The conversation with a parent of children with additional needs stated that the school support her child even though her son has gone onto secondary school. The school had created a wonderful book for her son so that he would always feel included as part of the ‘Bridgewater family’, this had supported his transition to secondary school. An analogy of a train journey was used, that he was going to the next stop of his learning journey and that ‘Bridgewater was the station to the next destination.’ The parent stated that ‘all staff led by Mrs Harvey and Mrs Troop have taught her son ‘so much resilience’ and that ‘there is unbelievable respect for the staff from the parents’ for the ‘inclusive education’ provided.’ She went on to state ‘there are so many children helped in so many ways and children can thrive in their own ways.’ The parent felt additional work has been carried out with her younger daughter to support her as well as supporting other children to understand that children do have additional needs and how as a community, we can live by our values to support others.
The evidence throughout the day showed that parents are kept fully informed of events within the school in order to keep their children safe and included during their learning journey throughout the school. A recent survey had flagged up that Year 4 children were not sleeping well which was having an impact on progress in school. A ‘Home School Agreement’ was drawn up to limit ‘screen time’ leading up to bedtime. The once a month ‘Reading Café’ open to all parents and children encourages and upskills parents to read with their children leading up to bedtime. ‘Tik Tok’ the online app was an issue with short videos being made. The Leaders worked with parents to make them aware of the age limits and the dangers of online bullying through such apps.
The School Council
The School Council members were delightful and full of praise for the school, they stated that the school gave them ‘a lot of opportunities for improving learning and to support you to become confident in your learning.’ They felt that all children supported each other and that any problems were sorted out swiftly. They loved the whole school project based on the oil painting ‘Men of the Docks’ by George Bellows which allowed year groups to interpret the painting in a variety of ways but at the same time, ‘brought the whole school together’, the wonderful inspired artwork is displayed in the hall.
The School Council also spoke about the outstanding eye-catching masterpiece of the Peacock displayed and collated by the children, they explained that the peacock is a possessor of some of the most admired human characteristics and symbolises integrity and compassion, which was two of the words they analysed during anti-bullying weeks.
Ofsted November 2018: ‘Displays around the school highlight an inclusive ethos, where diversity is celebrated and pupils are valued.’ The work of the children is of an exceptionally high standard, all displays are neatly presented with a true sense of pride and detail. These included pieces of writing, artwork, maths work, topic work all displayed to a high standard across the school. The ‘Aspirational Tree’ in Year 6 reminded each of the children what they were aspiring to be, inspirational quotes reflected the ethos of the school. The children felt that the quotes ‘support them to remember about themselves and others well- being’.
Understanding Children’s Emotional and Well-being Needs
The Leaders and staff in the school understand that children’s emotional and well-being needs are paramount to learning needs. To this end, they have developed a strategy to ensure that these needs go hand in hand so that children can feel safe and confident to learn. They have created an environment that is bespoke for each individual child and they know the needs of every child at Bridgewater. This was apparent throughout the IQM Review, through their passion for research, they are passionate about continually refining their practice to ensure they fulfil every child’s needs both emotionally and academically. As one parent stated: ‘They are the epitome of Inclusion.’ One of the quotes on display stated, ‘Each of us is a single note together we create a masterpiece’.
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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