Haberdashers’ Hatcham is a two-form entry primary school including nursery provision with 415 pupils currently on roll. It is one of nine schools in the Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South. The school serves the richly diverse community in New Cross in the London borough of Lewisham. Pupils from an ethnic minority background make up 88% and 11% of pupils speak English as an Additional Language (EAL) with 22 languages spoken by pupils. The proportion of pupils who are in receipt of the Pupil Premium (PP) grant is 33%, which is higher than the National Average.
The school was last inspected by Ofsted in February 2019 and judged its then all-through school to be ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ Early Years provision. The report highlighted that, “the school’s inclusive ethos enriches pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.”
Importance of Emotional Regulation
At 21%, the level of pupils receiving additional Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) support is higher than the national average. Currently, 11 pupils have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP); however, once those that are pending have been agreed, the number will be significantly higher. The school has seen an increase in special needs since the pandemic, especially for Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH).
The Executive Headteacher told our Assessor that they have worked hard as a school to adapt to these changes. A big change is how the school has developed its approach to behaviour. Leaders have begun to address the Mental Health and Wellbeing needs of pupils, staff, and families, and provision for this came across as a real strength during the assessment days. Just one example is how the Zones of Regulation are used effectively across the school. All staff now understand the importance of emotional regulation and how it impacts behaviour.
The Executive Headteacher has been at the school since 2015. She describes herself as a, ‘hands-on’ Headteacher whose door is always open. Her vision for the school is clear and ambitious and she deeply understands the needs of the school and its community. When asked to describe inclusion at Haberdashers’ Hatcham, she said, “everybody. Everybody has access to the same starting part no matter their background and everybody should have the experience of excellence.” This is evident in the opportunities pupils are given and the high expectations all staff have of their pupils and of each other.
Inclusion is Everyone’s Responsibility
The message received from all staff during the assessment days is that inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. The school’s journey towards inclusion has been transformative and staff are proud of the changes the school has made. The Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) said that the school has changed dramatically over the last three years and children are now more integrated and included. Pupils are nurtured and well cared for and the relationship all staff have with the pupils and their families is the underlying success of their inclusive practice.
When asked how they include everyone in their class, teachers told our Assessor, “we know the children really well. We make sure everyone is included and feels valued.” Staff find out pupils’ strengths and thoroughly know what their difficulties are. They understand the importance of celebrating the small steps pupils make, especially those with SEND. Wherever possible, pupil independence is encouraged, and not over-reliant on one-to-one support. The Deputy Headteacher said they aim for “less Velcro, more elastic. Pupils used to be taken out of the classroom, completing separate work but they are now fully included and experience the same curriculum.” Interventions including pre-teaching and consolidation of key learning is used to ensure no child gets left behind.
Differences and Uniqueness
Differences and uniqueness are celebrated and welcomed. The SENDCo is involved in open days for potential parents which occur three times a year. The Inclusion Table at these events shows parents that everyone is welcome here. Linked to their core values, the school promotes diversity and tolerance, and pupils accept that others need extra support and time. When asked what makes this school special, the SENDCo explained, “the children. They are models of inclusion. Children with high needs are made to feel included.”
Our Assessor spoke to the Head Girl who explained about how through the support of the teachers, she has become proud of her autism. She helped the school celebrate Autism Awareness Day and said that she is already planning the next one. She said, “I felt proud, and it helped. Everyone is now aware when I act differently”.
The school has taken care to ensure the cultural diversity in the school community is both represented and celebrated. Topics, core texts, and influential people are chosen so that pupils can see themselves and be inspired. Black history is embedded in the curriculum and is not tokenistic. Pupils were proud to show our Assessor the stunning artwork of influential people of colour displayed in the main corridor. Year 6 pupils spoke about Katherine Johnson and her inspirational achievements. They also said how much they enjoy Multicultural Week where pupils and staff come into school dressed in their national dress and bring and share food.
Our Assessor added, “It is clear from the IQM Self Evaluation Report, and from my conversations with them, that leaders know their school well and can provide evidence to demonstrate its effectiveness. Importantly, they also constantly evaluate and adapt their practice and there is a drive for constant improvement. Leaders are clear about what they need to do next. The SENDCo spoke about a focus on KS2 girls’ SEMH due to the risk of masked behaviour and an intervention to address this is in its development stage. Potential plans for inclusion include out-of-class SEND specialists with LSAs running interventions. ”
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:
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• Our inaugural National Inclusion Conference will take place on the 27th November, for further details click here.