Excellent Example of Inclusive Practice
Claydon High School is a small high school close to Ipswich in Suffolk and is an excellent example of inclusive practice. Inclusion is evident in all aspects of the school’s work and there are good links with the community to offer support for families. In September 2021, the Ofsted inspection confirmed the school’s rating as ‘Good’. The school is part of the Penrose Learning Trust which consists of four secondary schools and four primary schools in south Suffolk and north Essex, including the largest and closest feeder primary school, Claydon Primary.
The Headteacher works effectively with her leadership team, the Academy Committee and the Penrose Learning Trust to ensure that all staff have similar aspirations for students at the school. The school is heavily oversubscribed year-on-year and is over PAN in all year groups. The school regularly draws students from over 20 primary schools and last year received applications to be the named school for students in Year 6 with EHCPs. There are presently 778 children at the school and the school is a lead school for SCITT.
Vision is Inclusive
Claydon High School was a founding member of the South Suffolk Learning Trust, latterly the Penrose Learning Trust, whose vision is inclusive: ‘To inspire and enable all our young people, regardless of background or need, to be the best they can be.’ The school works closely with the Trust and its schools to develop CPD and a sharing of expertise. The school’s mission is that every member of the school community aims to “Be the best you can be.” The school aims for its students to have a strong sense of identity, show pride in themselves, and compassion towards others. Through embracing challenges, they will develop confidence, and by making links across their learning they will have a comprehensive and coherent set of knowledge and skills for their futures. The school’s core values are Challenge, Compassion, Conscientiousness and Confidence.
The school has a mission statement which encapsulates its strong sense of inclusion which was seen in practice during this assessment: ‘’We want all Claydon High School students to have a strong sense of identity, show pride in themselves, and compassion towards others. Through embracing challenges, they will develop confidence, and by making links across their learning they will have a comprehensive and coherent set of knowledge and skills for their futures. Within an outward looking and inclusive school community, our teachers will ignite a passion for learning and inspire our students to strive for excellence, enabling them to contribute to the diverse communities in which they will live and work. These attributes and attitudes, along with a conscientious approach, will ensure all students secure and achieve aspirational choices and destinations so they can be the “best they can be” and “be the best for life”.
The school strives to be present and available for students, colleagues and parents and to have considerate, professional and respectful behaviours with all members of the school community. They also have worked hard to ensure a safe school environment by maintaining positive relationships. The school provides a calm, challenging, stimulating and creative learning environment where students can feel supported in their learning and where all students are encouraged and enabled to achieve their best and to become independent resilient learners. The school has made good progress over the last five years and all staff in the school are committed to ensuring individual progress continues to reflect the hard work that has been devoted to developing continuity within the school.
The Deputy Headteacher/Curriculum lead and SENDCo play an important part in ensuring every effort is made to cater for the needs of every student and they go out of their way to ensure all agencies, teachers and support staff have the child’s needs uppermost in their minds. The focus on quality first teaching, good transition work with Y6 pupils, half termly interventions and good monitoring contribute to a well thought through curriculum.
The aim is for this curriculum to eventually be a development from reception in the primary school through to Y6 and onwards to Y11. Good transition work with the primary school is facilitating these developments. The strong LIFE curriculum (Learning, Identity, Faith and Employment) is the focus of PSHE, RSE and RE. It has been developed by the school and the programme contributes significantly to the attitudes, behaviour and balance that the students show in their discussions.
The student council, the children in care champions, peer mentors and the student leaders play a big part in supporting other children and providing a ‘voice’ for the students in the school. They take their roles very seriously and come forward with ideas and suggestions about life in school and remind other students of their responsibilities.
Outdoor Learning Environment
The outdoor learning environment is extensive with seated areas, multi-sports area and extensive field space for a wide variety of outdoor activities. The school has a large sports hall and the focus in PE is on inclusion and ensuring a wide range of sports is inclusive to girls and boys and anyone who is reluctant to participate. There are a wide range of clubs offered to the students and the PE department has gained School Games Gold Award for four years and is now applying for the platinum award.
Support staff feel totally included in the life of the school. The LSAs say ‘there is a healthy balance of independence and support’ with quality first teaching being a priority. They have weekly meetings on a Monday and they are always kept up to date with regular training in different areas of learning. The site manager and caretaker are well respected and have a wealth of knowledge of health and safety procedures, technical expertise and hands-on skills which the school uses to good effect. The friendly faces at the school reception provide parents with the confidence to approach the school with their concerns. The Headteacher’s PA is particularly knowledgeable and supportive to everyone in school including visitors. The office staff are an important first line of contact for parents who may have an issue they need to discuss.
‘Meet and Greet’
Staff are also available at the beginning and end of the day for a ‘meet and greet’. This close liaison helps to ensure a two-way monitoring of attitudes, students’ progress and the opportunities to celebrate successes. Interventions in the library for students needing support with reading provides a good start to the day and quiet rooms at lunchtime are an excellent environment for any student who needs some reassurance, a quiet chat or refuge from the hustle and bustle of the mainstream activities. Parents understand the expectations of behaviour and the inclusive ethos of the school and recognise the improvements made over the recent years. They understand the high expectations of all staff to ensure students have a positive learning experience.
Claydon High School is a particularly outstanding example of a school committed to meet the needs of its students and is outstanding in its commitment to, and implementation of, inclusive practice. All staff have an enthusiasm and passion for their part in the learning and lives of the students at the school. They are dedicated and positive about the futures of their students. Everyone is committed and wanting to do the best they can for the pupils at Claydon High School. They provide an outstanding, caring environment for students where high expectations have a huge impact on their progress and wellbeing. The Self Evaluation Report reflects the high quality of evaluation that exists in the school. It is comprehensive and reflects the school as seen by the assessor.
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