East London Independent School in Stratford has achieved the Inclusive School Award.
East London Independent School (ELIS) is a small independent Special School with 44 pupils on roll ranging from KS2-KS5. The pupils have complex learning needs including SEMH and ASD. The catchment area includes 9 feeder Boroughs. The school’s population is made up of pupils from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and all pupils have EHCPs.
Developing Growth Mindsets
The school has created an environment and a curriculum to cater for the diverse needs of the pupils. This enables the pupils to take ownership of their behaviour and to develop growth mindsets of self-realisation and self-regulation to become successful and responsible citizens. This was clear to see during the IQM assessment.
Sources of Evidence
The day included a tour of the school and a learning walk. Discussions took place with key members of staff including the School Proprietor, the two Co-Heads, the Deputy Head, The Inclusion Team, Motivational Speaker, Health and Fitness Well-Being Consultant, Support Staff and Parents and Carers.
Purposeful and Dedicated Staff
Conversations with all the staff showed they had a true sense of purpose and dedication. They wanted the very best for all the pupils and to create opportunities to improve the lives of all pupils. The staff were confident in their knowledge of the pupils which meant the pupils were on task and motivated to learn in the classroom.
Planning is Meticulous
The teachers’ planning was meticulous in the lessons observed to ensure differentiation had an impact on the progress of the pupils with clear Learning Objectives and Success Criteria. Classroom displays and displays in the corridors were related to the pupils’ learning. Feedback was clear with learning put into context.
The school has recently been extended and built to cater for both ASD and SEMH needs on one site. This has been carefully managed. The amalgamation of two schools into one has been exciting with positive outcomes but has also raised anxiety levels and a fall in attendance which continues to be carefully managed to ensure attendance improves.
ELIS makes outstanding use of the space available. The outside area is very well thought out with excellent outdoor facilities including horticulture area, play area for table tennis, space for a sensory garden for those who wish for reflection time and an enclosed court area for games. The main building is very inviting with a sense of purpose in every classroom. There is a dedicated Science lab, Food Tech room, Art room, Music room and library as well as a fully resourced Sensory Room. The Post 16 area is a separate block to cater for pupils’ transition to College.
Skills for Life
During the learning walk, it was evident that the curriculum was geared towards enabling the pupils to become independent; teaching them skills for life across a broad range of subjects and opportunities. This organisational approach by teaching in stage not age means that pupils feel safe in an atmosphere balanced to suit each pupils’ needs.
Off-site provision is also available if the needs of the pupils cannot be met fully on-site. There is an opportunity for work experience and college courses in KS4.
Visits to local Olympic facilities such as the Stadium, the Velodrome enrich the lives of the pupils as well as the chance to horse ride and take up Fencing as extra-curricular activities.
The staff interviewed stated that they collaborate as a team respecting each other’s skills set and ensuring that their approach gives each pupil confidence to take advantage and to progress in all areas of school life. They felt that they were given appropriate training and support so that they felt confident in dealing with the challenging and complex needs of the pupils in their daily care. Parents/ carers confirmed that they felt supported with their child’s education.
The Importance of Respect
During the morning of the IQM visit, a very powerful message was outstandingly put across in an assembly regarding our actions and the importance of respect for oneself, one’s community and the world. All the pupils who were present were fully engaged and showed skills of self-reflection, empathy and were able to focus and listen.
In the afternoon, ‘Group Process’ took place. This was again successfully managed by the same motivational speaker who encouraged the pupils to reflect and engage in the debate regarding the Police and their role in keeping the community safe. The discussion was led in such a manner that the conversations were carefully structured and extremely well thought through. Pupils showed maturity and respect for each other’s point of view. When the conversation was going ‘off course’, it was brought back on task through the structure that was in place and the expertise of the speaker as well as the staff supporting in the discussion.
The Five Part Curriculum
ELIS develops Key Skills of pupils not only through the Group Process and Assemblies but also through the 5-part curriculum. This includes Academic/ Vocational, Enrichment, Engagement, Therapeutic and Condition Specific. The Additional Health, Fitness and Well-Being Programme links PE, Science, PSHE and Food Tech together through a well thought out Well-Being Passport for all pupils. The Consultant in charge of this initiative is an excellent role model and like all staff, is passionate about delivering a curriculum to promote positive changes in the pupils’ self-esteem, values and attitudes. In addition to the Well-Being Passport, the L.I.F.E Programme offers Leadership, Independence Skills, Financial Awareness and Empowerment, Employability and Enterprise Skills. This was seen in action with a group of pupils and a teacher explaining the importance of finances. The pupils were fully engaged through careful preparation and guidance by the teacher. This allowed for a group discussion on the implications of credit cards and debt.
The school works closely with external professionals including OTs, Drama Therapy, Family Intervention Teams, Key Workers, YOT, Police and Social Care. This ensures that the pupils are kept safe and feel supported with individual needs being met.
Best Opportunities for Inclusion
The dedication of the staff for the pupils at ELIS means that pupils have the best opportunities for inclusion and for success in life. The school has developed a model for Teaching and Learning to address differentiation and ensure that pupils understand and feel secure in their learning so that they can achieve and make progress.
Working on Raising Attendance
ELIS is working hard to raise attendance for those pupils who have struggled with the amalgamation of the two schools to ensure they are safe.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Want more information on the IQM Award? Click here to request your free IQM information pack.