Greenfields Community Primary School in Newcastle upon Tyne achieves Centre of Excellence status.
The Inclusion Agenda
My visit to the school, which included a tour of the whole site, with the opportunity to meet both teaching, support staff and pupils, enabled me to confirm the information presented in the SER document. The staff have a total grasp of the Inclusion agenda and the whole school is geared towards a positive Growth Mindset attitude for all.
Out of School Centre
The Out of School Centre, which is an outstanding provision for children from 7.30 am until the start of school and after school until 5.30 pm. This not only gives flexibility for parents but also allows pupils to engage in social and academic activities before and after school.
Nurture Group Facility
In addition to the Out of School Centre, the school also runs a nurture group facility at lunchtimes (The Den) specifically aimed at those children who require a quieter environment during play. These facilities, plus The Rainbow Room are all staffed by qualified members of the staff team who are highly skilled in providing a therapeutic and stimulating environment for those children who require such support either short or long term.
In addition to these provisions the school also runs intervention groups for those children identified as requiring extra help. These groups take place during the afternoons to avoid conflicting with core subjects. The following resources are in regular use:
• Read, Write Inc
• Blast, reading programme
• A variety of Reading interventions
• Makaton signing and Drawing and Talking
• Black Sheep: Assessment of Communication skills
• Leuven Scales: Well Being and social involvement
• Thrive programme and Lego Therapy
The school might like to check out the following as additional resources:
• Emotional Literacy: Assessment and Intervention (GL Assessment).
• Pupil Attitude to Self and School (PASS).
The school recognises the research carried out by the Education Endowment Foundation in the recommendations to use qualified staff and only use resources with a proven and successful track record.
Although the school has an excellent tracking system, designed by the Headteacher, they might like to investigate online resources such as “mintclass.com” or “classcharts” as an addition to the current system, enabling staff quick and easy access to individual pupil information. The school also asked me to include a reference to Kinetic Letters Handwriting (kineticletters.co.uk) “Narrows the achievement gap between boys and girls, Learn through movement and multi-sensory experiences, Physical programme develops concentration and motor skills, Motivating targets and personal challenges, Stories and role play, underpin learning.”
Outstanding Opportunities for All Pupils
In regards to the school meeting the criteria of the Inclusion Agenda as described within Inclusion Quality Mark, I was particularly impressed by the “extra mile” taken by staff to provide outstanding opportunities for all pupils to develop their skills and interests beyond the formal aspects of the school curriculum. The Early Help Assessment Team engages a multi professional approach to the team around the child (see also Kent Local Authority LIFT programme).
Supporting Other Schools
The Headteacher is a school development partner with 14 schools across the local area and also works closely with Newcastle University with their PGCE course content. The school has supported local schools (Benton Dean) and has engaged in Stonewall training, uses CPOMS for all their safeguarding recording and tracking.
Interventions and Activities
My discussions with the Deputy Headteacher covered many aspects of the Schools Direct input for parents. The following successful interventions and activities are embedded in the school’s practice:
• Structured parents forums.
• Regular parental questionnaires (used in determining topics for the forum,) parents able to observe lessons in school.
• Homework system now changed to accommodate suggestions from staff and parents.
• Anti-Bullying sessions with parent videos included on the school website.
• EAF project “Triple P” parenting programme for vulnerable parents and pupils.
• The school Twitter account.
• Nuffield Early Language Intervention: “The Nuffield Early Language Intervention is a 20-week programme proven to help young children overcome language difficulties. It is designed for children aged 4-5 years and combines small group work with one-to-one sessions delivered by trained teaching assistants, targeting vocabulary, narrative skills, active listening and phonological awareness.”
Breaking Down Barriers
Through this work the school has successfully broken-down barriers with parents who are now trusting and willing to share information. The message to parents has been a very clear one of inclusion: “Inclusion focusses on you as an individual and ensures that you and your children feel part of the whole community and helps to develop individuality and resilience.”
Excellent Home School Communications
The school has excellent home school communication systems in place including meeting face to face (playground at the start and end of the school day), texting service, direct phone calls, reflection events arranged half termly for parents.
Sources of Evidence
I was also able to speak with representatives from the teaching and support teams who shared the following information:
• Operation encompass: “Operation Encompass directly connects the police with schools to secure better outcomes for children who are subject or witness to police-attended incidents of domestic abuse. Rapid provision of support within the school environment means children are better safeguarded against the short, medium and long-term effects of domestic abuse.”
• Greenfields University on Friday afternoons: Pilates, Yoga, Mindfulness.
• CPD: staff are encouraged to take part in topics linked to subject responsibilities. CPD usually has extended runs (over a half term) to ensure depth of understanding and impact.
• TAs contracted hours allow for teacher/support staff discussion and planning before and after school.
• Pre Teaching to “High Flyers” prior to lessons (the school might like to check out “Flipped learning is a pedagogical approach in which the conventional notion of classroom-based learning is inverted, so that students are introduced to the learning material before class, with classroom time then being used to deepen understanding through discussion with peers and problem-solving activities.”
• Opportunities to visit other schools and shadow moderate.
Working with External Professionals
I met with representatives from outside agencies which the school engage with: Language and communication specialist and Educational Psychologist, both working with the school on service level agreements and both spoke highly of the levels of expertise, professional trust and willingness to engage. The school in turn values the input of outside professionals and always provides a key contact within the school, appropriate meeting rooms and gives in-school staff the chance to observe/discuss and share information with these professionals.
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