Bygrove Primary School in Tower Hamlets achieves IQM Flagship School status.
Philosophy Based on Ubuntu
Bygrove Primary is one of two schools in the LETTA Trust, the other being Stebon Primary a school in the local area. Their mission is to combat social inequality through excellent educational provision: to raise aspirations and make sure that all learners keep on learning new things. The Trust’s philosophy is based on Ubuntu, the southern African philosophy that speaks of interconnectedness and the importance of relationships of openness and generosity to one another. Their vision is that every child loves learning, knows how to make friends, grows healthy and strong and feels part of their community.
Focussing on Inclusivity
The Trust has a five year Educational Development Cycle and for 2019-2020 the focus will be on Inclusivity – that no child is left behind. Michelle, the Head of School, said that ‘success is formed by excellent relationships’ and Jo Franklin, the CEO said that, ‘we’ve created a village school in the heart of the city.’
Bygrove is a National Teaching School training over forty teachers a year some of whom now work at the school. Leaders work with other schools in the SCITT in other London boroughs. It is a one form entry school in one of the poorest wards in Europe. The community is mainly Bangladeshi and most children enter reception below national baselines. However, most make better than average progress and the school was judged as Outstanding by OfSTED in 2012. Bygrove is part of the Poplar Partnership of twelve local schools where training and moderation is shared.
Bright and Attractive Internal Environment
The inside environment is bright and attractive. Each class is dressed to encourage the children’s absorption in the topic; Reception is Growing, Year 1 Journeys, Year 2 Proud of Poplar, Year 3 the Rainforest, Year 4 Mountains, Year 5 Eco-warriors and Year 6 Identity. There are guinea pigs, ducklings and butterflies to encourage the children to care for living things and take responsibility. Each class has lots of visual support.
Exciting for Young Enquiring Minds
Children in the Early Years go to Poplar Park for Forest School as do certain children in Year 1. The playground has been thoughtfully created to allow children to choose from a variety of activities, there is a stage, a climbing area with tunnels, basketball nets, an enclosed area for ball games with seating, connect four, a mud kitchen and a place to chat quietly. Around the corner is a garden with a pond with newts. This whole place is exciting for young enquiring minds to explore and learn.
Nobody Is Left Out
The pupils enjoy the trips and they like their teachers because they make the learning fun. The older pupils’ understanding of inclusion is that ‘no-one is left out’. A wheel-chair user said,
“I feel included absolutely.”
The pupils value the School Council and appreciate the fact that it makes a difference. They could name certain adults they can talk to if needed. They feel that all the staff are kind and deal with issues well. They think that the rewards and sanctions’ system are fair. Many children attend the wide variety of lunchtime and after school clubs. These are open to everybody on a first come first served basis. The residential trips are offered to all children in KS2. Parents of year 3 and 4 children are given the opportunity to go to Gorsefield for the day to see where their children will be staying. This allays the fears of those parents whose children may never have slept elsewhere. Year 5 go to Osmington Bay and Year 6 go to Kingswood. The children loved the Street Party when the local roads were closed, the Royal Wedding Day in the playground and the Parent Celebration Day. This is a school that plans carefully for the needs of its children and parents.
Nurturing Children is Natural
Leaders at Bygrove believe that regardless of need, everybody feels part of the school. Adjustments will be made as necessary. Children with physical needs are treated no differently. When coaches are used for school trips they have to be accessible. Those with learning needs may have appropriate interventions or work in mixed ability groups. Peer support is encouraged. Teaching Assistants are highly trained and liaise with parents. Certain medication is administered by staff who do not regard it as anything other than what’s right. The school receives support from an outreach worker from Phoenix at least once a term. Nurturing children here is natural and not something that has been forced onto an unwilling staff.
Wearing Many Hats
Sharon, the Home School Liaison Officer wears many hats. She is the attendance officer, the Parental Engagement Officer and the Deputy designated Safeguarding lead. She runs Strengthening Families and targets certain parents. She ensures nursery transition into reception goes smoothly as well as year 6 into secondary school. She looks after parents and children ensuring that everybody’s questions are answered.
A Very Welcoming School for Parents
Parents feel that the school is very welcoming and all the staff are friendly. They said that everyone can access anything. Parents said that they do not have to fight here for their rights because the SENCO, Fiona Durnian, acts proactively. Lots of parents access the Family Room for all kinds of classes that are on offer.
Fully Supportive Governors
Governors fully support the inclusive ethos. They understand that their role is to ask questions, to ensure processes are being followed correctly and that the leaders are fulfilling their obligations. Evidence of this was seen in the minutes of meetings. They ensure there are suitable checks and balances in place and that the school is continuing to move forward and they receive training at every meeting. There are no vacancies on the Governing Body.
Bygrove has formed relationships with various organisations and companies in the local area. Magic Breakfast is served to many children from 8:00 every day. This extends into every holiday where children can receive bagels and eggs and take home a lunch. City Partners, workers from a city firm, come in every week to hear readers, do maths, help with language teaching or play chess. People from Morgan Stanley help out at Sports Day. Poplar Harca, the local Housing Association, organise Christmas events in Chrisp Street Market where the children sing carols. The school supports the local foodbank at Harvest time and it raises money through the year for Red Nose Day, the Poppy Appeal, Autism Awareness Week and the British Heart Foundation. Children here understand their community responsibilities and have a deep sense of pride.
A School Working in True Harmony
This is a school working in true harmony. All stakeholders share the same belief system and the pupils are fortunate to attend a place where everybody’s individual needs are addressed. It is a happy place to come and work. Its mission statement and vision are not empty words but being enlivened every day here at Bygrove.
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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