Colindale Primary in Barnet has achieved this national award for the second time.
Context of the School
Colindale Primary School is a large, three form entry, primary school in North West London. This is an area that is undergoing a lot of regeneration and there is a great need for primary school places within the area. The school is multicultural, a fact that is celebrated within the school. During my visit, preparation was underway for the annual, ‘International Fair’, where foods, culture, dance and diversity would be celebrated.
Commitment of the Staff Team
The number of children in the school receiving SEN support is above the national average and in addition the percentage of children with English as an additional language is in the top quintile. 94.8% of pupils are from minority ethnic groups. In spite of this and the fact that the school’s social deprivation indicator is also above the national average, children make good progress and by the time they leave in Year 6, results show the school is performing in line with national expectations. This is due to the commitment of the whole staff team who work cohesively to support the children in their care.
The Head teacher has been recently appointed and is coming to the end of her first year as Head of Colindale. A tabletop style of management exists, whereby there are Assistant Heads for each phase. This style of management is a particular strength of the school and all staff spoke highly of how it operated. Staff relationships are good and staff felt they could approach the senior leadership team or indeed the Head Teacher.
Governors are Passionate
Governors have a passion for the school and spoke highly of the work being done by the staff. They commented on the reports they received both from the Head Teacher and the Assistant Heads. They visit the school at least once per term and take part in training.
The Mission Statement
The school’s mission statement is, ‘Living and Learning Together’ and during my visit I could corroborate with that statement. There is a strong inclusive ethos, where all staff are working together to fully support all children. The children themselves showed great pride in their school, with one child rating it as, ‘outstanding’.
Comprehensive procedures are in place to ensure the smooth transition between phases, for movement to post primary and indeed for children beginning formal education for the first time, whether that be nursery or other year groups.
A Calm Feeling
The school has a very calm feeling. All routines run smoothly and the playground was a joy to be in. All children were fully engaged and in fact it was impossible to distinguish which children had a specific physical need. Assistants on duty interacted with the children, providing support whilst at the same time knowing when to stand back to support development of peer interaction. All children were mannerly and were able to talk about their work. Children in Year 5 were able to explain how their work was marked and how they knew what their targets were.
Deployment of Human Resources
The school ‘s investment and deployment of human resources is commendable and is being fully utilised to ensure that the school, “is providing the very highest quality education for all our pupils so that they meet personal standards of excellence”. There are detailed systems in place to ensure that any hindrance or obstacle to learning is removed or overcome. Weekly planning meetings are held with the class teacher, the child’s Learning Support Assistant and the Assistant SENCo. Steps are put in place, which allow the child to fully engage in the curriculum, for example, the use of a sound button to facilitate a child’s understanding of writing role-play scripts.
Pre-teach Sessions are Timetable
Pre-teach sessions are timetabled for those children highlighted as benefitting from these. For EAL children and for those with other barriers to learning, these sessions, ‘pre-teaching’ the concept in a group setting prior to the concept being taught in the classroom, has proved invaluable for children. They are more confident and therefore more receptive to learning.
The voice of the child is heard in the school. The school has a School Council, an Eco Council and a UNICEF Rights Respecting School’s steering group. I had the privilege of meeting with representatives of these groups and they spoke with pride about their school describing the school as, ‘friendly’, ‘(we) learn well’, ‘learn things that will help us through our lives’. They gave examples of things they had been involved in such as, a visit to Houses of Parliament, raising money for a tree house, having plates which meant they could have their lunch and dessert on the same plate, meaning they only had to queue up once. The school has successfully been awarded Eco Schools Bronze Award. The children knew some of what was involved to try and gain silver. The photos and names of children in each council or steering group are displayed in the school.
Provision Maps are Used
The school uses Provision Maps to plan, document and review the provision in place for children who receive SEN support. Half termly Pupil Progress Review meetings are held to track the progress of all children in each class. All relevant information is shared with those members of staff who need to know about it.
The school follows the Rainbow Values and these are displayed around the school. Classrooms are bright areas with children’s work displayed. A feature in each classroom is the ‘Working Wall’ which children add to and use as a resource for learning.
Good Relationships with Parents
Colindale has good relationships with parents and those I had the opportunity to meet with were supportive of all the school was endeavouring to do.
Range of Evidence
The range of evidence was useful in presenting a picture of the life in the school. Interviews and conversations were carried out with Governors (parent governor and teacher governor), the Assistant Head/SENCo/IQM Coordinator, Assistant Head EAL/EMA, Parents (children who have SEND), the Head Teacher, Assistant Heads – Phase Leaders, HLTA, SNAs, LAs, Office Staff, Teachers and children from the School Council, Eco Council and Rights Respecting School’s steering committee. I was able to look at documentary evidence, including; books of children in Yr1 and Yr6, Pupil Progress Reviews, Learning Walk outcomes, Provision Maps, Minutes of School Council.
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)
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