Edgewick Community Primary School in Coventry has achieved the Inclusive School Award with Flagship status for the first time.
Edgewick is a two-form entry Community Primary School with Nursery provision offered in morning and afternoon sessions. It is situated in a socially and economically deprived area of Coventry and serves a highly multicultural community. In the Headteacher’s website address to the community she states:
’We offer a curriculum that meets the ever-changing needs of the children – many of whom need support to learn English or to develop their basic skills. Our staff are very experienced in meeting the need of children at all levels of development and as a result children make exceptional progress, between starting in Reception Class and when they leave at the end of Year 6.’
It is clear the school is working extremely hard to continue to develop and ensure that this remains the case whilst striving to raise the attainment of all pupils to their best possible levels.
Difficulties During the Pandemic
Leadership has recognised the difficulties experienced by the local community during the Covid19 pandemic and the school has been a hub for practical, social and educational support of children and their families. The ever-present food bank has proved to be of even greater importance (close liaison takes place with the local mosque and temple to ensure that contents of each parcel are culturally acceptable) and the school provides reduced price clothing and everyday items for families, to help all children to be fit to learn.
The School Exudes Inclusion
The large open plan environment exudes inclusion and displays in every classroom area re-enforce the values reflected in the statement:
‘be ready, be respectful and be kind’.
The journey of being an excellent ‘Edgewick Learner’ begins in KS1 and the skills required for learning are constantly reinforced through children’s daily experience and are thus embedded throughout the school. Consequently, there is a strong ethos of positive learning behaviour and a purposeful calmness pervades the school. A child was able to describe to me how his actions related to ‘perseverance’ as he had been determined and had shown ‘connection’ with his learning because, as he stated:
‘you must never give up… we can all do our best.”
Comprehension of vocabulary and its fusion with an understanding of skills and qualities required to learn successfully were clearly evident in his discussion. Children were also able to explain how they receive points for demonstrating ‘Creativity’, ‘Choices’ and ‘Curiosity’, thus reflecting the school’s emphasis on personal responsibility for learning through appropriate behaviour of all with relevant support provided as necessary.
Wellbeing is Key
Varied support required to ensure fitness to learn is provided for pupils in the ‘Wellbeing Room’. Learning Mentors are available and a Play Therapist works with children requiring encouragement to develop necessary creative, exploratory and social skills and with those experiencing barriers to learning caused by SEMH issues. Family sessions take place for the most vulnerable children and include sessions on healthy nutrition and exercise, playing with children and how to support children with positive behaviour. These sessions are facilitated by a Sports Coach and Health Mentor. In addition to these staff, Edgewick draws upon services from outside agencies, including Speech and Language Therapists, Educational Psychologists, the Complex Needs Team and the SEMH Team to support the needs of individuals and groups. Parents have increased their confidence in attending such sessions, as the school has returned to being a social hub for members of the community post lockdowns. Charity events are very well subscribed to. Staff are not complacent, however, are continuing to find new ways to engage with and support parents in working in partnership with the school.
Discussions with a Lead Practitioner around the school’s recent curriculum overhaul reflected Edgewick’s commitment to providing a holistic, deep education that is both accessible and challenging for all its children. The Foundation Subjects’ curriculum has been reviewed to establish coverage, depth and solid themes so that all subjects are taught logically and are meaningful. Subject leaders conduct regular monitoring visits to classrooms to ensure coverage and learning in their subjects. Offsite experiences to a range of venues, both within and out of the city, to support the broader curriculum have continued as far as possible in line with pandemic restrictions and it is intended that a full complement of activities will now take place. Assessment of attainment and progress in Foundation Subjects is an area for further development during this coming year.
The School Gets Creative
A desire to make STEM subjects creative, relevant and exciting for all is reflected in displays of models made by pupils on the theme of ‘Things that Move’. PhD students from Warwick University have worked with children on understanding concepts of Black Holes and visits by an Antarctic explorer and the son of a Jewish Immigrant in WW2, respectively, have deepened and enriched the learning experience for all children. A digital photography project with Coventry University has extended children’s creative and digital skills.
Decisions are Based on the Children
It is notable that staff are committed to ensuring that children are not withdrawn from foundation and creative subjects and do not undertake interventions unless absolutely essential. Their entitlement to inclusion in a full curriculum is supported by appropriate resources and scaffolding. A nurture curriculum in the mornings, for those children requiring it because the literacy and numeracy curriculum of their age-related peers is not appropriate for them, does not prevent children with SEND from having access to all other subjects, at their individual levels. The recent development of collaboration with a Special School has enabled this to happen through an extension of strategies and resources. This reflects the Headteacher’s mantra, which was echoed across all my conversations and observations:
‘All decisions are based around the children in order that they can achieve their very best’.
The exemplary sense of teamwork which I perceived and witnessed confirmed a common belief that:
‘all staff are in this together’
and want to make a difference to the life chances of all their pupils. The intention is that a ceiling is put on no child and no child ‘falls off the bottom’ – all are included and all positive skills and qualities, celebrated.
Leaders are Passionate
Confident, calm but energetic and passionate leadership which focusses upon children being, safe, engaged, curious with the self-confidence, knowledge and skills to have the best possible opportunities and choices in their lives has resulted in Edgewick becoming a beacon for holistic inclusion. It cannot be coincidental that the school was invited to contribute to the Education Section of a recent Parliamentary Review.
The School is Happy
Edgewick is a vibrant and happy learning environment where children are treated as individuals, to develop their full potential as learners and social human beings. They are supported in addressing any barriers to learning which they might have, whilst also being taught to understand the importance of personal perseverance, kindness and respect.
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: email@example.com for further details.
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