East Hunsbury Primary School in Northampton achieves the Inclusive School Award for the fourth time.
There are many strengths at East Hunsbury Primary School which promote inclusion for all. The school is exceptionally good at communicating and sharing expertise both within the school, the Academy and in the wider international community. Being part of the Northampton Primary Academy Trust (NPAT) is seen as being part of a bigger, supportive pool of knowledge for staff development as well as meeting the needs of all pupils. They feel that the pupils also enjoy being a part of something bigger and enjoy opportunities to share experiences, such as transition picnics. The staff speak highly of the school and NPAT and are proud of the whole team.
Inclusion Values of the School
It is evident through discussions with school staff that they believe that there are high expectations for all. All members of staff are valued, mentioning that the person who delivers the fruit is a part of the school community and is valued by the school staff and pupils. The staff report that pupils also say that they feel that they are unique and valued. The school is part of the Northampton Primary School Trust and seek to be extraordinary. The staff members reinforced that ‘everyone is extraordinary.’ An example was that both volunteers and school staff have equal access to the planning site as this will ensure best outcomes for the pupils.
Using Sign Language
There are a number of pupils in the SU who use sign language to communicate. Each week a different team of pupils, known as Makateenies, volunteer to learn a new sign and visit every part of the school to teach it. This includes every classroom, office and area of the school. During the Friday Celebration assembly the weekly sign is used by the whole school.
The school have developed the role of Digital Leaders for pupils. Digital leaders are already fully involved in the school community and are supporting other pupils. A special day was held to develop the skills of the digital leaders but in future these will be adapted to half days to enable pupils in the SU to benefit. Alongside the digital developments are planned ‘unplugged’ activities ensuring that pupils use a range of approaches and experiences and don’t become over reliant on IT.
Further Developing Skills
The next steps are to plan regular half days for pupils to work collaboratively to further develop skills and to continue to include representatives from the whole school. Also, to develop digital leadership within the Specialist Unit by identifying a shadow digital leader from the SU.
There is a School Parliament which leads assemblies about what the children would like to learn. They collect ideas and work together as the Prime Minister and other Ministers to lead ideas and take on areas of responsibility, one example was the children adapted the Shoe Box appeal to support adults at the local Hope Centre and Women’s Refuge. This resulted in shoeboxes of personal items being delivered, by the children, to a local distribution centre. Due to the time of year the children added poems and Christmas tree decorations. The children were learning that there are adults in their local town needing help with basic items.
Assessment for All is an assessment tracker to plot the progress of pupils who learn in smaller steps. This has been developed by Fairfield’s School, Northampton and has been piloted at East Hunsbury Primary School. During the process of using and reviewing the system, staff working in the SU have made suggestions which have resulted in adaptations. The parents have also been fully involved and have been shown the profiles which are recorded as a rainbow. The assessment information has been shared with parents in February and will be part of the end of year reports.
Learning and Teaching
The staff share good practice within the trust and develop the curriculum to ensure all pupils are included.
NPAT has built up a collegiate approach with professional learning opportunities which are highly valued by staff. The annual conference is an opportunity to access a massive network and to really get to know each other. The communication is strong and even during COVID-19 the training continues. Within the trust there are is a central team, known to all. These are all experts in their field and support all teachers to meet the needs of all pupils. One teacher described it as a “massive spiders web of communication.”
Curriculum leaders and SU leaders are working collaboratively with other NPAT schools to develop planning and share expertise. This results in consistency in coverage and progression. Medium Term Unit plans have been developed that include PowerPoints for the classroom and organisers for parents. The plans include links to prior learning and opportunities for autonomy, whilst keeping the consistency across NPAT.
Curriculum Writing Groups
There are currently three members of staff who have been key participants in the curriculum writing groups for Science, History and Geography. They have created medium term plans, knowledge organisers and resources to support reading and writing across the curriculum. The English Leader has worked across all writing groups to suggest texts to read aloud and writing tasks to support assessment.
A Reading Challenge
English leaders have worked hard to develop the school approach to reading. A reading challenge was introduced and involved parents and children sharing and recommending books they enjoy. This was initially an idea of two librarians who work within the NPAT schools. Staff at East Hunsbury Primary School report that parents and children became fully involved and enjoyed the competitive element.
The English leader has also mapped out books which should be read in each year group and introduced an intervention to improve fluency. Staff report that the pupils enjoy reading and love the phonics sessions. Reading for pleasure is promoted and pupils enjoy opportunities to read to volunteers as well as their families and staff.
Governors have completed a learning walk and seen the reading strategy in action. The emphasis is on quality texts with a wide range of cultures, experiences and genres.
Parents are Well Informed
The school work hard to keep parents, carers and guardians well informed. During the pandemic, the school have listened to parents and adjusted timetables in response to parents’ comments. Due to initiatives such as Dojo there is still good interaction between home and school. The school is working hard to continually review and develop this to provide the best support and education for pupils who cannot currently attend due to COVID-19.
A Governor has been regularly out and about with pupils on the school minibus. More Governors would like to be visible in the school and so the next step is to match classes to a key named Governor and to introduce them in an assembly.
The School in the Community
The school work in strong partnership with the local East Hunsbury Parish Council. Pupils take the lead in projects and lead assemblies to involve the whole school. A current initiative is that the gardening club have become ‘Litter Picking Heroes’ and this is highly successful. The next step is for different pupils to become part of the team.
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