Castle Bromwich Junior School in the West Midlands has achieved Flagship School status.
A Warm, Positive Welcome
It was a delight to assess Castle Bromwich Junior School (CBJS) as an IQM Centre of Excellence moving towards Flagship. I was greeted with a warm, positive welcome and this extended throughout the day by all staff, children, parents and Governor that I came into contact with. The inclusive ethos was clearly embedded into the culture of this school, as I was introduced to most of the staff and the children of this Year 3 to Year 6 large junior school with 477 students on roll, (with a high proportion of pupil premium students). CBJS had just had a recent OFSTED Inspection 2 weeks before – where OFSTED (Nov 2021) found ‘Leaders, governors and staff care deeply about pupils. They want the best for them. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) get a good deal. Rigorous systems are in place to ensure that any specialist support needed is accessed quickly.’ This also was seen, heard and sensed by me throughout my visit.
CBJS has a warm, caring, calm atmosphere that is built on mutual respect with clear roles and responsibilities that are known and understood by staff and children alike, with simple but clear rules for everyone to follow to make the day a purposeful, engaging and fun learning day by everyone. The Headteacher and her Deputy Headteacher fully know their school and hold everyone to account, making everyone feel valued and wanted. As a visitor you become fully aware of a real sense of belonging. Everyone wants to do the right thing for each child and each child is seen as a developing individual. The school’s vision of Accept, Adapt and Aspire is prevalent and understood by the children. CBJS does ‘strive to ensure that their children are prepared with a strong focus on positive mental health and to be well-equipped for successful lives’ – I could see this, hear this and had a real sense that this is at the heart of this school. The school’s mission of ‘access to a high quality education that is differentiated for those who need it….for children to be given the support that they require to understand themselves and others… to be exposed to challenges appropriate for their ages and abilities…to give everyone an appreciation of the importance of their contribution alongside their rights and responsibilities’ is embedded into life at CBJS – thank you for sharing your school with me for the day – it was a real privilege to assess such a very inclusive school.
An Individualised Approach
During my visit I observed, (with clarity), a range of lessons that demonstrated a range of pedagogies that enhanced the learning of a wide range of stages and ages. The children had a clear understanding of what they were learning and why they were learning it, putting tasks into context and the bigger picture. Children were able to comment on the various opportunities that they were given to extend their learning and work at greater depths. Lessons were well planned and used a range of resources that were differentiated by task and outcome as well as using various IT based tools to support independent learning within whole class learning. This individualised approach was observed in a Yr 3 English lesson where children were using an immersive reader IT programme to help ‘close the gap’ and increase the children’s reading for understanding.
Positions of Responsibility
The Head Boy and Deputy Head Girl gave an informative tour of the classrooms and corridors with confidence. They clearly knew and understood the ‘Zones of Regulation’, the Wellbeing Trees and fully accepted that they had developed as a direct result of attending their school. This was reinforced by discussions with other students – especially with the Year 6 students who explained that all Year 6 students were invited to apply for different positions of responsibility to support other students in each of the year groups and staff. They also explained that they were given challenges to support their transition up to High School.
Confidence and Interpersonal Skills
Parents were very clear that CBJS, had given their children the confidence and interpersonal skills to support their development and natural progression into the next phase of their educational careers. The parents valued having ‘a visible Headteacher, who is very approachable and installs confidence with the parents, especially when things are not working out as initially planned – but finding solutions and encouraging their child (and themselves) to access the curriculum and school life’.
Staff are Empowered
The sense of purpose, dedication, enthusiasm and passion was evident when speaking with a range of classroom staff who are empowered to lead and manage (guided by the Headteacher and SLT) key aspects of the curriculum and beyond the curriculum. Skilling staff up to teach phonics in the classroom and via TEAMs under lockdowns; to ensuring all staff were capable, confident users of TEAMs to deliver daily live lessons, learning from one lockdown to the second required clear direction and individualised CPD. For all staff to use a common language and strategies for students to regulate their emotions and behaviours, but at the same time enabling teachers to have ownership in their classroom appropriate to the ages and stages of their year group.
A Recovery Curriculum
Leaders at all levels were quick to identify and implement a recovery curriculum based around practical subjects that were not so readily delivered throughout the lockdowns. The students shared that they really enjoyed returning to school and getting back to normal. The Deputy Headteacher/SENCO/IQM Coordinator with her team of staff have ensured that all children have been SEN screened and through the Internal Inclusion Panel additional support is targeted to those who need it. The School’s Development Plan and SIP for 2020/21 are detailed, evaluative and planned quality developments across the school with staff having ownership of the implementation of each priority. This school continues to move forwards getting stronger and stronger as also seen by the Nov 2021 OFSTED Inspection.
Vision and Leadership Qualities
The Headteacher and her team of staff are very inclusive and continue to make progress to enable all students to holistically achieve the success that they deserve. The whole environment (classroom organisation & Year Group Corridors), including the displays in classrooms, corridors and achievement boards in the school hall, as well as the structured play areas in the outdoor space (playground, quiet area and the newly developing sensory garden) at CBJS are fantastic spaces where students feel safe and secure, knowing that they are wanted and valued by each other. It is clear that the vision and leadership qualities have played a major part in creating such a happy, vibrant school that has a clear identity and purpose.
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@example.com for further details.
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