City of Peterborough Academy (COPA) has achieved Flagship School status.
Collaboration Between Trust Schools
The City of Peterborough Academy (CoPA) is a mixed mainstream secondary, part of the Greenwood Academies Trust. Collaboration between other schools in the Trust ensures training can be shared and also allows the school a degree of high profile; the Inclusion Coordinator for example, presenting across the Trust schools. The Principal meets weekly with the Senior Education Advisor and works with other Academies also. The Senior Assistant Principal for Behaviour and Inclusion who sits on the Local Authority Behaviour Panel, works closely with The Richard Barnes Academy which was the old PRU and works with the Local Authority with managed moves. The school has expanded considerably over the year in supporting pupils new to the school via the Behaviour Panel and managed moves. Despite this, fixed term exclusions were down almost 50% from the previous year because of the enormous amount of preventative work that takes place within the school including tracking and data analysis. There was only one permanent exclusion in the last academic year. All staff are involved in the return to lessons discussions and are therefore more involved in the whole process of reintegration with a pupil exhibiting negative behaviours.
Encouraging Parental Involvement
The school is in an area of high deprivation and also has a significant number of pupils for whom English is second language. Parental involvement through assemblies, cooking activities etc. has not been able to take place as planned but this will be a priority to encourage parents of various cultures to come into school.
Maintaining Excellent Inclusion Provision
The challenge for the last academic year has been to maintain the excellent inclusion provision that was evident last year with mentoring and support continued either in school, as with the Mentor from Think for The Future which is an outside provider but also with home visits where needed and mentoring and support online. Support staff have been in school on a rota working in ‘bubbles’ with identified pupils with a ratio of approximately 1:6. The more informal meetings have helped to build good relationships between staff and pupils. All parents get at least 2-3 weekly contact.
Emotional, Social and Mental Health Needs
After the previous lockdown and the subsequent return to school, the priority was a safe transition using friendship groups, for example. The identified nurture group pupils in Year 7 will be taught as a distinct group on return to school. Pupils emotional, social and mental health needs remain a priority for eventual transition to school.
The AQA Awards went from strength to strength. Some of the Year 11 pupils now have over 20 awards across the board and the SENDCo has many plans for further development of the awards using parents, staff and some outside providers to assist with the delivery of more practical areas such as bricklaying skills. A Practical Learning Assistant will prevent many of the skills having to be outsourced on a paying basis. The more that can be offered in house and with parental support, the more awards can be offered. Many of these courses are being planned for delivery after Easter. The school is an accredited AQA Centre and has developed links and shared physical resources with their primary feeder schools. The SENDCo is hoping for the school to have its own polytunnel for example, to be able to develop the gardening and cooking area further. She would like to grow exotic vegetables and herbs from other countries and ask parents from other cultures to come into school and cook with the children using the ingredients they have grown. They are currently able to access a farm at Tallington, which is part of the ‘Farms for the Future network’. The more funds raised/parental support for facilities and resources will increase the curriculum opportunities within the school, not just for AQA pupils but throughout the year groups.
A Steep Learning Curve
The staff have been on a steep learning curve over the last academic year and have had to learn new IT skills very quickly through intensive CPD and in-house support, in order to offer a continuing and relevant curriculum for all pupils regardless of ability and needs. The Digital Champions, who are also teachers in the school have put a lot of time and thought into the training in order to ensure that all pupils have access to IT when at home. This has taken the form of physical resources such as laptops and Wi-Fi dongles to supporting staff in learning how to use the software to allow for those pupils who may not be able to process instructions quickly or join in with group chats.
Inclusive Values of the School
Despite the lockdowns the school has persevered with achieving their IQM targets, quite often in far more imaginative ways than was first planned, especially the extensive training and use of virtual lessons, virtual support and a growing and respectful relationship between parents and school. The inclusive values of the school go from strength to strength with a greater awareness of the needs of SEND children and the input all staff have into providing the best possible access for all. The school has become quite skilled at thinking outside of the box and will consider many of their developments as on-going, not just for lockdown.
IQM Flagship School
Over the last academic year, the school made the final of the National SEND Awards which was held virtually. CoPA came runners up to a primary school in the category of inclusion. This is a huge achievement for the school and a positive acknowledgement from a national body of the good work that takes place in the school. It is also positive reinforcement for the staff, pupils, parents and other stakeholders and sits very well with the school’s status as a current IQM Centre of Excellence and the transition to a Flagship School.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
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