Hove Junior School has achieved IQM Centre of Excellence status.
Hove Junior School is a very large junior school on two sites serving a diverse population in Hove, West Sussex. There are over 800 pupils on roll: around 28% are from minority ethnic groups; around 14% are bilingual learners with various different languages spoken by pupils, including Polish and Portuguese. The catchment area includes almost 20% disadvantaged pupils and around 8% of pupils qualify for FSM. The number of children with SEND is around 14% with 4% having EHCPs.
A Warm, Friendly Atmosphere
The school is very welcoming with a warm, friendly atmosphere that is evident from arrival at reception on both sites. The environment is bright and very positive with beautiful displays in the corridors and classrooms. The leadership of the Executive Headteacher, Heads of School, Deputy Head and Inclusion Managers sets the tone for the supportive, caring, inclusive framework with high expectations of all and they are rigorous in ensuring that the school’s inclusive vision, encapsulated in the motto “LEARN”, is implemented and thoroughly embedded in the life of the school. They lead by positive, enthusiastic example and oversee all aspects of inclusion, empowering all staff to work together in order to do the very best for each individual child. As a result of the combination of excellent teaching and learning strategies, learning support, emotional and social support for children and families and a determination for children to achieve, the progress of pupils at all levels is excellent. The senior team listens to their staff, parents and pupils and are highly respected by all, with the result that everyone works hard as a team to achieve the best possible outcomes for children. The school’s two Inclusion Managers, one on each site, who are Assistant Headteachers, play a very important role in developing the school’s excellent support for children with diverse needs and work very closely with parents and families. The inclusion of children with SEND is superb with pupils’ individual needs at the forefront with an excellent team, including three Learning Mentors, Individual Needs Assistants and Teaching Assistants working together to provide exceptional support for children.
Positive and Energetic Staff
Teaching and support staff work closely together to do their very best for all pupils. They spend a lot of time in planning thoroughly to meet their pupils’ individual needs and in the detailed marking of pupils’ work. Staff are positive and energetic and are fully committed to the pupils and to the inclusive practices of the school and they have excellent support and resources to enable them to do their work. Lessons are planned in detail, ensuring they are interesting and challenging for everyone and there are many imaginative and exciting activities planned for pupils. Features of lessons visited on the day highlighted the consistency of teaching and learning strategies across both sites and include excellent interaction between pupils and between staff and pupils; the use of questioning to develop pupils’ understanding and encourage independent learning; assessment for learning strategies including peer and self-assessment; the use of edit pages to develop writing skills and self confidence in writing; the use of ICT to support learning; the use of photographs and ‘selfies’ to showcase good learning; the use of working walls to support learning; paired and group discussion and the use of puppets to encourage discussion and reflection on good learning. Year leaders play a very important role in the school, leading on issues such as the curriculum and assessment as well as ensuring the work of their year teams is consistent and of a high standard. They spend two days per week on their leadership roles, including supporting their teams through team teaching and the careful monitoring of lessons. They are also members of the SLT, which ensures excellent communication between staff and senior leaders. Staff are encouraged and enabled to develop their skills through a range of CPD opportunities and regular staff meetings have a strong focus on teaching and learning. Lesson studies are used very successfully to support CPD, for example, these have helped staff to develop skills and expertise on the new Maths scheme and are an integral part of staff training in the school. A thorough tracking system and termly pupil progress meetings ensure that pupils who are not progressing are targeted for interventions where needed. As a result, interventions are tailored to individual needs and are monitored very carefully and adjusted as appropriate. There are rewards for pupils to celebrate their many achievements, which they are very proud and pleased to receive.
Pupils are Very Happy at School
Pupils are very happy, articulate, friendly, self-confident, enthusiastic and aspirational and behave very well around the school and in their lessons. They speak very highly of their school and its staff, for whom they have great respect and they know that they are listened to and cared for. There are opportunities for pupils to take on roles of responsibility in the school including the school council, learning warriors, buddies, stress busters, play leaders and eco warriors. These enable children to take roles of responsibility, which develop their self- confidence and leadership skills while also providing excellent peer support for other children. Pupils love the opportunities that the school provides for them, including the range of clubs, trips and school journeys. Pupils enjoy learning and they explain how the teachers encourage them and make learning fun. They are aware of their own needs, strengths and next steps and have a clear understanding of inclusion. In our conversation a particular theme that came through was children’s love of the new Maths scheme, ‘Maths No Problem’, which was introduced over a year ago with great success,
“I want to be a Mathematician – I am confident, they make the lessons really fun and they teach you methods”,
“I enjoy all the lessons and my favourite lesson is Maths because they push you to understand it and we get a good amount of time to really understand it. I would like to be a motor mechanic or a pilot”,
“My favourite lesson is Maths – if you get stuck your teachers will help you and you can learn from your mistakes”,
“I enjoy lessons:I have dyslexia and they help me by letting me use a computer in class. We have very good music lessons here – we go to the music room and I have a band with my friends”,
“Our lessons are interesting and we really learn well. Our teacher gets us to explain in purple pen and this helps us to remember. I want to be an author or computer coder when I am older”,
“I like the PE lessons – they’re fun and the help you to get better. We try lots of different sports such as football, tennis, basketball and cross country”,
“I like Art because I love drawing and expressing my feelings in Art. When I am older I would like to have an eco-sportswear company with my friends”,
“I like Maths – it’s not so easy but there are lots of resources to help you”,
“I love Maths here because you really understand what it means”,
“I would like to be a vet”,
“I like education in general and I like the resources that can help. I want to go to Oxford or Cambridge and study classics”,
“I would like to write a book”.
The children spoken to from the ‘Outdoor Nurture Project, led by their learning mentor and an outside provider spoke very highly of their love for this project. It has helped these vulnerable children to develop resilience, self-confidence and to overcome some anxieties. They described the things they have enjoyed, such as going to a circus, reading a story together, making dens and lighting a fire from a ferrous rod. They were very articulate in describing how the project has helped them and it was lovely to hear how they have supported each other and are proud of their own achievements and the achievements of others during the project,
“We know each other and we trust each other”,
“I am proud because I tried to make fire and it worked – I did it! It has helped us all. I didn’t like talking to people but now I can talk in front of some people”,
“It has helped me and now I have lots of friends”.
Children also spoke of the other kinds of help they get to overcome anxieties, such as, the ‘anxiety gremlins group’ the school counsellor and the reading dog.
Excellent Relationships with Parents
The school has fostered excellent relationships with parents and has developed a very positive partnership with them: it finds many ways to communicate with them and to involve them in the life of the school. Parents speak very highly of the school and its staff. A group of parents spoken to explained the thorough, caring and effective approach that the school takes towards meeting their children’s needs,
“The school is there in a heartbeat: I had massive support almost daily, for my son who is now in year 7. Transition work was excellent. The learning mentor deals with every issue for everyone. There was amazing communication with her”,
“We don’t have to fight for things: they come to us and suggest things and say yes, we can do that”,
“My child struggled when she was younger but now she has 1 to 1 support and daily contact with me, she is happy and doing very well. She is coping and she has friends – this is all down to the school”,
“They are there for you and you wonder how they do it all”,
“They smooth things and work behind the scenes: if you ask for help they will check on things and call you back. Everything within the school has been brilliant”,
“Parent Gym has been very helpful”,
“It’s a very nurturing environment – in another school they could have been excluded. We work together”.
Parents described the excellent work the school has done to support adopted children and their families. As a result of their work with a few families the school now has a group for these parents/carers offering superb support on attachment and other issues such as anxiety and transition. One parent brought the wonderful transition booklets that were made for her children at her request which have been a real support during transition times for her children.
“The school listens and is very open to meetings expert and using strategies for other children, for example, they started the ‘Stress Busters’ project as a result of our work”,
“They put the help in before the funding arrives – there is a strong network here and they all know what is going on”,
“We’re listened to and heard. When my child with attachment issues arrived in year 3, they called me. This was very refreshing. The inclusion Manager is brilliant”.
The school listens to its parents and holds a number of workshops and courses to support parents in supporting their children. Parents indicate that they feel that communication with the school is excellent: the Headteacher and senior staff are always available to speak with parents. The Learning Mentors provide excellent support for needy children and their families, including ensuring their wider social and emotional needs are supported. Parents are actively engaged with the school and organise fundraising events for the school through the friends’ group. The parent forum involves reps from across the school discussing issues of relevance to parents and action is taken as appropriate.
A Very Positive Reputation
The school’s reputation in the local community is very positive: it works very closely with the LA’s inclusion service and there are good links with other local schools, including the main secondary schools to which pupils transfer. All staff and pupils spoken to were extremely positive about the school’s work. There is a very genuine sense of team effort, of mutual support, of listening, discussing, trying new things and of including everyone. The Governing Body is fully committed to the school’s vision and they play a very positive, active and supportive role in the school. They undertake regular monitoring exercises, which include pupil and staff voice,
“Governors are proud of how the curriculum is led by pupils with ideas taken from the pupil council”,
commented the Chair of Governors who also has high praise for the inclusive approach of the leadership of the school,
“Nothing is too much for the benefit of the school and the community”.
An Ethos of Inclusive Values
Exceptional features of this school include the overall ethos of inclusive values; the excellent behaviour and positive attitudes of pupils; the excellent work of the Learning Mentors with vulnerable children and families; the excellent teamwork of teaching and support staff; the excellent partnership with parents and the positive leadership of the Executive Headteacher, Heads of School, Deputy Head and Inclusion Managers to enable all children to achieve.
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)
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