Harris Church of England Academy in Rugby, Warwickshire achieves the Inclusive School Award for the first time.
Harris Academy’s curriculum intent is expressed as a biblical quotation:
“Whilst we have time, let us do good to all.”
This is evident as care exudes from the Academy and it is this focus on the wellbeing and individuality of each child, alongside a determination to provide the absolute best teaching and wide range of learning opportunities enabling all students to become the best they can be, that have created its current inclusive ethos.
The Academy Has Lots of Support
A relentless drive to review the curriculum and deliver high-quality pedagogy is now underpinned by a clear process for the identification of needs in order that students can be appropriately supported and challenged. This occurs through a comprehensive range of pastoral support, both internally and externally, to ensure that children are fit to learn. Further investment is being made to this effect by the appointment of a full-time mental health support worker in addition to a counsellor, safeguarding staff, heads of year, pastoral assistants, nurture staff and a SENDCo. Harris Academy has used current research in reviewing its staffing structure and has chosen to provide an increased number of specialist teachers, supported by graduates to work with small groups and individuals, both pastorally and academically.
There is a Clear CPD Programme
Improvement in teaching and learning has been led by a robust and clearly focused CPD programme for staff, drawing upon expertise from other institutions and individuals. There is now a strong matrix in place by which relevant training and its impact can be tracked. A monitoring system that focuses on the data received and progress of key cohorts of students informs adaptations, interventions and teaching strategies. Students comment on the improvement in their lessons, on how teachers use a range of different strategies to help them learn and how every student is supported to do his or her best.
The Junction Facility is Impressive
Particularly impressive is the Academy’s ‘Junction’ facility which nurtures and supports children originally from the local special school within the Harris Academy setting. Children are happy and thriving with the extensive support they receive to meet their range of complex and medical needs. Parents expressed their delight that their children attend Harris Academy and were universally complimentary and appreciative of all the Academy does. They feel that the Academy has reached out to form genuine, impactful partnerships and that their children have been instilled with the desire, confidence and skills to achieve.
There is an Inspirational Environment
The Academy environment is clean, tidy, informative, inspirational and celebratory. Displays around the Academy support expectations, academic learning, wellbeing, general knowledge, rewards and the Christian ethos, either overtly or more subtly. As one parent explained:
“Religion is not forced upon people – it’s all about being good and thinking about everyone else.”
In doing so, learning areas have been adapted to ensure that SEND students have full access to the curriculum.
There is A Clear Passion for Inclusion
A passion for inclusion emanates from the Chair of Governors and Senior Team, reverberating throughout the staffing structure. There has been both a significant reduction in exclusions and a more focused learning atmosphere within Harris Academy. The Chair of Governors believes that the mantra of asking,
“What else can we do for this child?”
underpinned by a comprehensive toolkit of pastoral and pedagogical strategies has majorly contributed to this being the case.
Students Are Proud
Students are proud of their Academy and recognise that Harris Academy is a ‘family’ in which diversity is normal and accepted and where everyone supports each other, according to their individuality and needs. This was eloquently articulated by the Head Boy and Deputy Head girl, both from BAME backgrounds with clear ideas and plans to make their positive mark on the world through embarking upon higher education. They attribute this to the experience they have had at Harris Academy.
There are Opportunities for All
It is not surprising that the academy’s year 7 intake has markedly increased, as has the academy’s PAN, in view of its inclusive values and determination to provide the absolute best opportunities for every child in its community.
Plans to Develop Further
There are plans to embed and develop further the significant improvements made to date. The Academy clearly has a strong culture of:
“What needs to be better? What could be better?’
within its already extremely strong inclusive provision.
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: email@example.com for further details.
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