Greyfriars Academy in Norfolk has achieved the Inclusive School Award.
Inclusive Practice at its Heart
Greyfriars Primary is part of the KWEST Academy Trust. The Academy Trust has inclusive practice at its heart with Inclusion being one of the 5 core values. One of the schools in the MAT already had achieved IQM and the Trust felt that this would be an excellent indicator for all the schools. The Trust is in a unique position as all schools in the Trust were already good schools (Ofsted rating). They chose not to join an existing academy trust but to create their own.
Each school has its own identity. As part of the KWEST Multi Academy Trust which consists of 7 schools, they operate together with one Local Improvement Team (Governing Body) and Leadership Team. Greyfriars is set in King’s Lynn in an area of deprivation, with a higher percentage of pupils with SEN and FSM than nationally. There are 276 children organised into 11 classes.
Providing Education for All
The school’s website states: ‘We are a happy, caring and busy school in King’s Lynn. We offer a lively and engaging curriculum and we want all our children to develop a love of learning and to achieve their very best.’ ‘The Trust’s core values of Inclusion, Independence, Excellence, Capacity and Community reflect our commitment to providing education for all children. We believe in entitlement and opportunity, enabling all children to reach their capacity and thrive in a truly inclusive environment.’
Significant Additional Needs
The school has a class base, (Overstrand) for the increasing number of pupils who have significant emotional and behavioural needs. Children in Overstrand have their own base room and, when and if they are able to be integrated into the mainstream classes, they will move out of the base.
All schools across the Trust use BROMCOM as their management system and PIXL which involves termly testing with the older children to track progress. There is subsequent question level analysis to enable teachers to track progress and target specific individuals or groups of pupils with specific needs. This includes PIXL therapies. Learning journals are used with younger children, EYFS and KS1 and with children with SEMH and other learning difficulties if relevant. The children have ownership of their journals and they are shared with parents as a working document. They will also include IEPs and equivalent and all other necessary documentation. The Rainbow Continuum is used to ensure that the curriculum is differentiated and matched to pupil needs. These shared assessment processes ensure that moderation can easily take place across the Trust.
Outside agencies are used when needed but there are also named leads in the school for many interventions such as Shine Time, which gives 1:1/ small group support for children who may need to develop resilience or manage emotions. The school has a nurture group lead who works in the classrooms in the morning and leads small group work in the afternoon. Live marking and post-it notes ensure that learning needs are quickly picked up on.
CPOMS is Used
CPOMS has been provided by the Trust as a way of recording all information on children, not just CP issues.
For moderation of progress, developments across the Trust and in specific areas, named staff attend many professional networks including Trust networks, SEN, maths, English, Leadership and the Curriculum.
High Aspirations for All Pupils
The Headteacher has high aspirations for all the pupils whatever their needs. The success of integrating children previously in Overstrand back into the mainstream classes is testimony to the success of this class base. The school has applied for an SRB base in the school and is optimistic that this will happen soon. It was immediately obvious on talking to the Headteacher and SENDCo that the school is reflective in all developments and is willing to change with the needs of new cohorts. Underpinning all work in the school, is the belief that every child should be given the opportunity to reach their capacity and be equipped for the future regardless of need. The environment of the school and the classes reflects the children’s needs to make the school a place where children can operate independently. The entrance area has an EAL display and a Celebrating Women in Art Competition display. All displays around the school are clear, colourful and draw you towards them. The classroom had extremely visually exciting displays of current work and everyday reminders for the pupils for their individual work. I also saw other displays around the school celebrating ‘Uniqueness’ and different nationalities within the school. The Headteacher firmly believes that good relationships between adults and children underpins feelings of belonging and being cared for.
Calm, Happy and Engaged Pupils
The classes are large with approximately 30 children with one teacher, apart from some children who have individual support sometimes for integration or medical reasons. However, the classes were calm, happy and engaged. The classes had a workstation outside the room where individuals could move to. One of the lessons I observed, led by an NQT, was a ‘We love maths’ session with the children showing obvious enjoyment and pride in what they were learning. There are calm areas in each class; some were in use on my tour around the school, by pupils who needed that space. A new Sensory/ Calm Room is also due to be established. It was immediately obvious that the staff knew their children well. The staffroom had a board showing new admissions, EAL arrivals, medical alerts.
Imaginative Outside Space
The outside space has been used fully and most imaginatively to maximum potential with zoned areas for different play, buddy benches. The space facilitates exploratory and cause and effect play. It was noticeable that all staff on duty outside, including the Headteacher and SENDCo who showed me around the school, were always welcomed by the children who were very interactive with the staff and obviously pleased to see them. There is also a Sensory Garden included in the space which was funded by County Grounds Maintenance and installed by Splinters, who are a local handyman group. One of the outdoor buildings is used for Before and After School Clubs. The school is in the privileged position to have a swimming pool on site. This is also used regularly by other schools in the locality.
Parents are Very Happy with the Support Offered
The SENDCo deploys support staff according to pupil needs. The praise for the SENDCo from the parents I interviewed was exceptional. They told me that she is always available for them and gets back immediately to requests/messages left. The parents said they had noticed a huge difference in communication since she came to the school and had nothing but good comments about her and the positive progress they had seen in their children due to the interventions she had initiated with the class teachers and support staff.
Pupil Reports Written in Layman’s Terms
Parents also praised the fact that pupil reports are written in layman’s terms which make them very accessible to read, understand and ask questions about. Parents also praised the transition process when joining or leaving the school. One of the parents described the school as a “Kind and supportive environment.”
The parent questionnaires I looked at fully supported the positive comments that I had heard from the parents I had interviewed. They agreed unanimously that they would recommend Greyfriars to any parent with a child who had special needs.
Junior Leadership Team
I also met with representatives of the school council who are now called the Junior Leadership Team. This is a new venture led by an NQT teacher. The children were keen to tell me how responsible their job was; all pupils voted via a ballot box system. They will also be meeting with the school’s parent teacher group, FROGS (Friends of Greyfriars’ School’). The JLT told me how their Headteacher was always seen around the school and regularly came into their classes. They also explained their ‘Hot’ and ‘Cold’ work tasks to me, the cold task being the initial beginning of the task with hot tasks being more specific parts of the overall piece of work after they had worked on them with the teacher in the lesson.
The pupils were happy with the number of clubs that were on offer throughout the week. These were mostly after school, but some were at lunchtime. They also have the opportunity for residential trips where a variety of outdoor activities are available. A holiday camp takes place at Greyfriars School.
Working with the Community
The school welcomes working with the community which obviously also includes the other Trust schools. The new hall can be hired and is currently used by local dance and drama groups. The swimming pool is also used by private swimming instructors and parent and toddler groups. The school visits local businesses in the town and takes part in the mini GEAR running event.
FROG is an intranet that can be used within the school or within the Trust schools to share resources and celebrate events.
Sources of Evidence
It was a pleasure to visit the school and meet with the Headteacher and other members of the school community. This included visiting members of KWEST after the school visit at the King’s Lynn Innovation Centre in Norwich. There is a definite work ethic in the school but also an overwhelming feeling of community and enjoyment.
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.
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