Grovelands Primary School, Walton-On-Thames in Surrey, has achieved the Inclusion Quality Mark’s Inclusive School Award with Centre of Excellence status.
The Headteacher and staff at Grovelands Primary successfully and creatively led the school through the pandemic, and they were given an award for what they did for parents and families during that time. As a show of thanks, a mysterious banner appeared on the outside the school fence thanking them for all they did during that time. This came from parents/carers who wanted to express their sincere thanks.
Heart of the Community
The Head told me Grovelands is known as a Community School and their main aim is to ensure children’s wellbeing and safety. The school now has a good reputation and is the school of first choice in the local area. This year they have a bulge year, so they have not had to disappoint the many who would not get a place as is normally the case.
Ensuring the Right Fit
The school is in a very different place now after a few challenging years. Governors took the decision to invest the time and patience to recruit the ‘right’ Headteacher, who is now in post and all stakeholders are extremely happy with the choice. The Headteacher is clearly someone who values inclusion and he works with his team to ensure that staff at all levels understand what that means in their school.
Dynamic SEND Provision
They also recruited the Assistant Head and Inclusion Lead, who has transformed the SEN provision within Grovelands in a very short time. Every member of staff, including the Head, told me that Assistant Head and Inclusion Lead had made a real impact in the school since she came to Grovelands School. She has been a bit of a whirlwind since she arrived but despite the many changes she has initiated she has managed to take staff and parents and indeed pupils with her.
Staff voice is important and the Headteacher and his team are always there to listen. He is approachable and he communicates well with staff at every level. He and his team are visible and know what is happening across the school. He is very determined to take every action to ensure the pupils get the best education possible and he has been able to persuade the school community to follow his lead, which is a great leadership skill! As a result, there is staff “buy-in” in terms of the vision and direction the school is moving.
Compelling Pupil Voice
The Head understands that trust is key, for pupils, parents, and staff. Pupil Voice is heard, listened to and where appropriate acted upon, teachers work together as a team to support the School Council and they usually set the agendas for the meetings, but the pupils can ask to include different things they want to talk about. The Council were very pleased that the Headteacher came to talk to them, to tell them about all the things he wanted to achieve in the school, and he made suggestions on how they could help achieve them. They told me they give children little certificates when they catch them doing the right thing and for being kind. Generally, pupils are very happy in their school, and they have a voice that SLT want to hear.
When asked what the best things are about their school are the pupils had a whole host of things they wanted to share.
‘Brilliant teachers who are really nice – ‘not too shouty’
‘Fun teachers and lots of good friends’
They mentioned the library and the reward system (usually giving extra free time). They loved that teachers are very clear when they explain things – ‘this helps us to learn.’ After School clubs – chess club, breakfast club, sports teams, dancing, judo clubs, homework clubs and so on. Residential trips for Year 6, Year 4, and Year 5. Also, lots of day trips. They really appreciated the range of outdoor adventure days and visits to a nearby farm, where Year 2 are going to Windsor for the day very soon.
When asked what makes a good lesson and pupils all said when teachers make it fun. They were not sure what they actually did to make it fun, but they enjoyed having teachers who they had a good relationship with them.
It was good to meet some of the support staff who told me they love their jobs and love working in the school. Both were experienced Teaching Assistants who said their work was very rewarding. Both said they feel an integral part of the Groveland’s Team. They feel valued and appreciated. They feel included in every aspect of the school and said if they have a problem or a concern or indeed if they are just having a bad day, there is always someone to talk to and that all staff support each other. One said:
“School is my safe place.”
Effective and Efficient Governing Body
The Governing Body are very impressive. They know the school well and they know the staff. The fact that so many are parents of children in the school means they are heavily invested in the school, and this does make a difference. They are reflective and forward looking. They are very supportive of the Headteacher and his team, but they don’t shy away from challenging them when they feel it is appropriate. The relationship between the Headteacher and his Senior Team and the Governors is very strong and is very effective.
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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