Hayes Park School in Hillingdon has achieved IQM Flagship status.
A Highly Diverse Primary
This is a very large and highly diverse primary school with a well-resourced autism resource centre. Within the main school there are a number of other pupils who may be described as being on the autistic spectrum and advice from the specialist staff of the resource centre enhances the support of these children, whilst mainstream experiences are available to children from ‘The Acorns’, as and when they are appropriate to their needs.
The Importance of Inclusive Education
Ofsted defines an educationally inclusive school as one in which the teaching and learning, attitudes, and wellbeing of every young person matter. As an IQM assessor making my first visit to Hayes Park, this was definitely my overriding impression, not only for each and every child that I met, but for every adult too. By the end of the assessment day I felt as though I too had really been welcomed in by the Senior Leadership Team, Staff body and Pupils, also the Governors and Parents who gave up their time to come to meet me. At Hayes Park the Headteacher described the reasons why she and her staff follow the philosophy of inclusive education:
‘For us it’s the way we’re trying to build the whole child. We need to move away from old ways and do what we’re doing that tries to include all children, and not just the children with special educational needs. Our governors have taken that completely to heart … We have very high expectations – All children have the right to have the opportunity to experience.’
Highly Knowledgeable Professionals
At Hayes Park I met a Senior Leadership Team composed of highly knowledgeable and professional people who work together as a team and constantly reflect on the effectiveness of what they and their colleagues in the staff body do on behalf of pupils and their families. Independent thinking is fostered in staff members in much the same way that independence is valued for children, however the expertise of professionals from other agencies is sought in order to inform the decision-making processes that follow thoughtful reflection, and professionals such as an occupational therapist and speech therapist are regular visitors. Projects are undertaken that involve sharing expertise with and from other schools and the Headteacher explains that her staff need to do this because they ‘have to have the academic rigour.’
Inclusivity is the Right Option
Some staff members at Hayes Park have been there for many years and can speak about the development of the inclusive ethos from small beginnings. They are clear that inclusivity is not the easy option, but that they feel that it is the right option:
‘I’m not staying here because it’s easy, I’m staying here because it’s a constant challenge. For every member of staff who wants to lead something, there’s always a vision – We can always make it happen!’
Parental Involvement is Encouraged
Parent involvement at Hayes Park is encouraged, and strategically planned for. The PTA is an active organisation and the introduction of secondary-style Pupil Planners has improved the level of home-school liaison significantly. The percentage of pupils who read with an adult friend or relative has risen from 9% to a very impressive 91% in one year and statistical evidence shows that the percentage of children meeting academic expectations has improved by more than 10% since the introduction of the planners. This is a very simple piece of work that may be recorded and published as informal research for the sake of other schools.
During my visit I met with several very satisfied parents of Hayes Park pupils:
‘My son went into Acorn (and after only two days there) he came out with the biggest smile! The improvement he’s made this year is amazing’
‘My child has been to three schools. When she joined Acorn, that’s the first time I saw her smile’.
A Pupil Parliament
Hayes Park School has a ‘Pupil Parliament’ that supports the voice of the Hayes Park child, and on the day of the 2018 IQM review I met with the group to talk about their experience of representing their peers. The children were keen to tell me about fund raising and about the anti-bullying week activities they had organised, about their meeting with a local MP and about their trip to the Houses of Parliament. Individuals could see how this opportunity to learn specific skills might benefit them during their secondary education and in later life, and one child was very clear that it was all a very useful experience for someone like her, who might want to be Prime Minister one day!
An IQM Centre of Excellence
Hayes Park School was first awarded the Inclusion Quality Mark some years ago and is now an IQM Centre of Excellence. The school is linked to other schools and settings within the local area and in this way school professionals are already involved in several pieces of work that could be considered to be informal research projects relating to the care and inclusion of children and their families, the outcomes of which could inform practice development at Hayes Park and form the basis of further joint work with other schools.
Last year the senior leadership team at Hayes Park decided on a fairly large number of targets related to inclusion and IQM and these were reviewed on the day of the IQM review. Some of the prioritised areas were ongoing projects that had been noted in earlier reviews, but others were new and had been completed during the year. I was particularly interested in the outcomes of a project related to the development of independence and secondary readiness through a higher level of engagement with the Year 6 residential trip. This piece of work has already shown positive outcomes and it could be interestingly developed into a longitudinal study, possibly over a number of years.
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.
Want more information on the IQM Award? Click here to request your free IQM information pack.