Granard Primary School, Putney has achieved the Inclusion Quality Mark’s Inclusive School Award with Centre of Excellence status.
Granard is a two-form entry school with 455 pupils aged 3 to 11 on roll. The school is a diverse primary school situated in the centre of the Ashburton housing estate. The school takes great pride in being a community school with the well-being and welfare of the pupils and their families at the heart of everything they do. 75.2% of the pupils are from ethnic backgrounds which represents the cultural mix of the local population that the school serves. Currently 24.8% are white British, 13.7% are Asian Pakistani, 7.9% black Somali and 6.2% are from a black Caribbean background. The school employs a full time EAL teacher as 48.6% of the pupils have English as an additional language. 43.7% are eligible for Free School meals. A large number of pupils have academic, social, behavioural, and emotional needs and the school is committed to providing appropriate interventions to support their needs. There are currently 74 pupils (16%) of the school population who have been identified as having additional needs; 16 pupils have EHCPs with 4 in the process of being requested. The school caters for pupils who are out of their curriculum stage in two Learning Support Units.
The school is extremely well staffed with three SENCos working across the school as well as a Family Liaison Officer and a Learning Mentor. There are two Educational Psychologists available on site once a week to support staff, pupils, and parents. A Speech and Language Therapist comes into school every week and works closely with the Speech and Language TA who delivers Speech and Language programmes daily. Maths and English support teachers’ work with pupils who require additional support on a weekly basis. This, together with the highly qualified TAs who run intervention programmes, ensures that pupils’ needs are catered for in a systematic and thorough manner.
Welcoming and Inclusive
Granard School is a place where pupils and their families are welcomed into a warm and inclusive atmosphere. It is an environment where every stakeholder is given a voice and the well-being, social and emotional needs, and inclusion of all is given high priority. The school not only ensures that pupils’ academic needs are met but there is also an emphasis on developing the whole child. This nurturing and holistic approach to developing pupils’ character is a key feature of the school. The SENCos and senior leaders set the tone for inclusion and ensure that the vision is communicated clearly. There is a sense of a shared ownership of this vision across the school. There is a relentless determination and willingness from all staff to support the school in its inclusive vision and to continuously look for ways in which to improve practice further. In this school, creativity in learning and the exploration of their feelings support children in becoming fully rounded human beings.
All staff at Granard School have high expectations of all the pupils and they work hard to ensure that pupils’ individual needs are met for them to achieve their full potential, have ambitions and be independent in their thoughts and actions, with an overall view of empowering pupils with the skills and knowledge required to contribute to the challenging society they live in. All pupils have the right of entitlement to equal access to learning, equal benefit from participating in every area and aspect of the school’s life. The staff promote positive attitudes and awareness of all issues to do with all groups of vulnerable pupils including SEND, FSM, race, and disability groups. Middle Leaders and teachers are enthusiastic about their work and show that they have the skills and knowledge to ensure that all learners in their care thrive and excel academically, socially, and emotionally. Their commitment to the school and the pupils in their care is a real strength. The school’s aim is very much to create an atmosphere of mutual respect, peace, and harmony where pupils can flourish and feel safe. The school celebrates the way in which all pupils contribute to the school as a rich and diverse community and leaders ensure that pupils, parents, governors, and staff are included in the process. The SEND team at Granard ensure that all pupils and pupil groups make the progress they need to and ensure they have the support and resources needed to access the whole curriculum. Staff all commented that at Granard, their well-being and welfare is important to the senior staff, and they felt that they had a good work-life balance and were able to speak to their line manager if they felt overwhelmed with work or could not meet a deadline. They collectively felt that they were supported and listened to as well as being valued members of the school team. They all have excellent access to continuous professional development, and they are actively encouraged to develop themselves professionally.
Broad and Balanced Curriculum
The curriculum at Granard is exciting, broad, and balanced with staff constantly seeking to engage all pupils. Learning is carefully mapped to ensure that pupils are motivated and want to learn. Pupils speak highly of the support and care they receive by all the adults. On the day of the assessment, I observed pupils in Year 6 who had been working on different projects. One group of pupils demonstrated how skilful they were at programming a Sphero to go over an obstacle course they had created. They were able to work together co-operatively, solve problems and use different strategies to solve problems in different curriculum areas. In a computer programming context, pupils were able to apply their learning of code to make the Sphero perform a variety of actions. Movement with Sphero’s is not as simple as ‘move forward’ for a set number of steps. Pupils must apply an understanding of angles, speed, and time in order for the Sphero to move. They were developing an understanding of the link between speed, distance, and time to accurately program their device to move as intended. The school has begun to embed metacognition in across the school and the Assistant Headteacher spoke both eloquently and knowledgeably about all the research that had been drawn together around this area and how training had been delivered to all members so staff so that they were all equipped to develop pupils’ confidence in critical and analytical thinking. Pupils in Year 6 were seen to use metacognitive skills to develop thinking and learning using PLUGS (Pace, Learning, Understanding, Granard Strategy and Self-reflection) at the beginning of lessons as a platform for organising their thinking and work. Metacognition is at the heart of a number of parent initiatives provided by the school which allows parents to think about and plan how they interact and communicate with their children. ‘Parent Gym’ – a free 6-week training programme is open to all parents in the Early Years and they are also able to use the ‘Easy Peasy’ app where every week parents receive a video which is sent to their smartphone. This supports parents by modelling games based on serve and response techniques to develop language and communication.
Pupils’ Confidence and Resilience
Pupils also draw strength from their friends and from the school’s core emphasis on building pupils’ confidence and resilience to cope in the face of adversity as they have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pupils enjoy all the enrichment activities that the school provides for them as well as all the trips which help them with their units of study. They describe Granard Primary as a:
“Fun place with lots of sports activities.”
One child in Year 6 said that the school is:
“Great at helping you to overcome challenges.”
with another pupil stating that he loved using all the technology in the school.
No Barriers to Learning
Pupils in the Learning Support Unit were confident in talking to me about their learning and they spoke about their topic on water and how they were able to show the other children in the school in assembly about the experiments they had conducted with water and their findings. One of the pupils said,
“LSU is very understanding, and I like coming here.”
They really enjoyed the fact that they were able to join their classmates in mainstream class in the afternoon and they said that they have a lot of friends to play with and
“everybody is very kind.”
The pupils also told me about how much they enjoy swimming and going to the allotment to plant different things. It was clear that the LSU teacher I spoke with works very effectively to break down any barriers to learning using different resources and approaches according to the needs of individual pupils. The regular meetings with the SENCos enables the teacher to have discussions about individual pupils and staff collectively design further learning opportunities for the pupils in the LSU.
Parental Appreciation of Lockdown Support
Parents are incredibly supportive of the school, and they are well informed about their children’s progress. They were very complementary about all the support their children have received especially during the period of lockdown with almost daily communications via emails and phone calls. They have appreciated all the work that has been given to their children and where they were unable to print work off, the school provided hard copies of work so that no child was left out. One parent said,
“I am extremely happy with the school and my son is very happy and well cared for by all the staff.”
“The school is very supportive and helped to get a diagnosis for my child and if there is anything I need I can go to any SENCo for help, and they are really good!”
Governors’ Unstinting Support
Governors are very knowledgeable about the school and have a good balance of expertise on the Governing Body. Governors visit the school on a regular basis to look at different aspects of the school’s work for example the SEND Governor looked at SEND provision in the LSU with conversations held with SENCOs and observations of the environment. As a result of this visit a report was written and submitted to the full Governing Body on key findings. Governors often accompany pupils on educational visits and some volunteer to read with pupils and they attend various events in school. It is clear that Governors hold the leadership team to account for the most vulnerable and SEND pupils. Governors are committed to diminishing any apparent gaps in progress and attainment of the most vulnerable pupils. The Governors and Senior Leaders ensure that educational visits are subsidised so that none of the disadvantaged pupils are left out and that they have an entitlement to the same cultural capital and opportunities as their peers.
Passports to Success
The documentation presented for the review of the Inclusion Quality Mark Leader was both thorough and extensive with the first day of the virtual review being well organised and smooth. It was agreed that on the second day of the review in the autumn term of 2021, there would be an opportunity to talk with support staff and to meet other members of staff as well as different aged pupils. The school is currently working on designing ‘Passports to Success’ for pupils which will contain suggestions for enrichment activities that can be done easily and at little or no cost, with information such as how to get there and what to do/look at when there. This will ensure that families have the support to access learning and new experiences to enable pupils to develop their appreciation of their locality and wider environment. The ‘Passports for Success’ will also enable children to identify their own strengths and fill in gaps to catch up key year group knowledge. The school has been working actively to assess children’s academic progress and attainment with plans to put into place catch-up programmes and tutoring.
Positive Support for Children’s Mental Health Post Lockdown
The second day of the virtual review took place on 11th May 2021 with school leaders sharing the continuous work they have been doing with pupils, families, and the community, together with the progress they are making with the Centre of Excellence action plan, which is already underway. The Inclusion Leader and staff provided extensive evidence for the work the school has been engaged in since the Day 1 of the IQM assessment. Staff have already begun to focus on the well-being and mental health of the children and staff with appropriate support being put in place. In September 2020, the educational psychologist led an INSET session to support staff to have a better understanding of children’s mental health issues and how support them. Leaders have looked closely at the curriculum to find ways to support children’s mental health resulting in regular PSHE lessons/circle times to support children’s mental health using DfE resources to support where applicable. Teachers have ensured that the pupils in their care have receive a balanced curriculum, which takes into account the specific learning needs of different groups of pupils. The school has ensured that Boxall profiles have been completed, however, due to lockdown, it was felt that further work was needed to embed the use of the tool throughout the school, and this is an ongoing target for the year ahead so that appropriate support can be provided for those who need the emotional support. The school is engaged with the ‘Just Unity’ project which is on-going to support well-being with school-wide approaches such as using the emotion wheel which supports pupils in expressing themselves and self-regulating their behaviour and is incorporated into daily routines and in all situations. Conversations with the pupils showed how enthusiastic they were about the project, which is designed to ensure that teachers decide on the aspect of work which they feel would benefit their group of children in their year group.
Valued and Knowledgeable Staff
SENDCos have been working with LSU on using the B-squared assessment tool to identify the children’s gaps and to measure all progress. The tutoring programmes which were initially started in September continued after the re-opening of school after lockdown in March 2021. To support children’s development of key subject specific knowledge, staff have developed knowledge organisers linked to the topics they cover. In addition, the children at Granard remain front and centre of everything the school does with children’s voices being heard and valued.
Emotional and Physical Health
The ‘Bike It’ project is supporting the mental health of pupils with the promotion of exercise. The school took decisive action in providing bikes for those pupils who did not have them to allow them to become involved in the ‘Bike It’ project. Leaders leave no stone unturned to ensure that any barriers to access and learning are removed swiftly for all groups of pupils. The school also uses the services of Mabel, the dog who comes into school regularly, as a form of therapy to support children with their social and emotional learning needs.
Resilience and Fortitude
Conversations with pupils demonstrated their enjoyment for learning and their positive approach to the situation they faced during this pandemic. They showed resilience and fortitude in their approach to learning. Pupils are rightly proud of their school and enjoy the opportunities they are given. During the lockdown, the staff provided ongoing support for families and children with foodbank parcels for struggling families with online accredited courses for parents to access without any payment. The school has strong relationships with the parents who appreciate and trust the staff to help them and their children. The ‘I CAN’ project which is part of the Nursery Inclusion pilot is underway in the early years and supports targeted children with developing their language and communication skills with trained staff delivering the programme over a 9-week period. One parent I spoke to said that his son was making really good progress because of the involvement of his son in this project,
“My son has made huge steps of progress with his communication with the help of the staff.”
Continuous Support in School and Out
The school plans to continue to use and develop ICT for learning at school and for home learning with appropriate training in place for both staff and pupils. Various ICT apps are being used across the school, for example, the reading comprehension app, ‘Bedrock’ which is designed to narrow the word gap that exists between different groups of children and ultimately leads to improving outcomes across the curriculum for pupils. Currently some homework is on Chrome books, and this is ongoing work. Teachers have demonstrated to children how to access Google Classroom and the Apps so that all children can do this confidently at home. Teachers have ensured that every child has access to online resources if a bubble is closed. The school also aims for parents to feel supported with accessing school systems and supervising their children’s learning under COVID restrictions. As a result, the school has provided transition booklets for the parents with QR codes to virtual tours included in the booklet. This replaces the usual coffee mornings held for parents at the beginning of the academic year. The school has been successful in setting up parents’ evenings and SEN reviews via Zoom or phone. The school is planning to become a dyslexia friendly school and involve parents in the process. Two staff training sessions have already been delivered remotely but due to lockdown this will be an ongoing target for the school.
No Child Left Behind
The school has received funding for the delivery of tutoring programmes for pupils who have gaps in their learning, which has resulted in three programmes being run in school to support different groups of pupils: KS1 FFT Reading Catch-Up, Nuffield Early Language Intervention and Connex Maths tutoring programme. These programmes are all underway and are enabling pupils to feel confident in areas of learning where they were struggling. During the day I met with two pupils who told me that they were enjoying the programme and that they felt they were making good progress and that the tutoring programme was helping them with their work in class. In addition to this, the school is involved in ‘Achievement for All’ which is a non-profit organisation that works in partnership with schools to improve outcomes for all children with a view to accelerate academic progress, closing the gaps for all ages and stages, regardless of their background, challenge or need. This work, together with the school mentoring programme effectively ensures that all groups of pupils have access to high quality provision to their education. The close relationships with the local PRU means that pupils who are of greatest need are catered for within the PRU for a period of three terms. The teachers collaborate very closely with staff in the PRU to ensure that any child going into the PRU is supported and that close liaison and communication is fostered for the benefit of the child and parents.
Leaders and staff work hard to ensure that all pupils receive the best quality of provision based on group, and individual, needs of the children. They are collectively passionate about removing barriers to learning and work effectively as a team to provide a curriculum which serves the pupils’ academic needs as well as their social, emotional and mental well-being.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
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