Kenmore Park Infant and Nursery School, Harrow in London, achieves Flagship School status again.
This was Kenmore Park School’s Year 3 Flagship Review, conducted remotely over one day. During the time of this review the country was facing a global pandemic, in the form of COVID-19, with all the restrictions that this has brought for schools. Despite all the challenges the school has faced during this difficult period, the school team has worked diligently to ensure that the IQM review day ran smoothly with all relevant stakeholders given a voice via a virtual platform. Prior to the review, the IQM Manager /Deputy Headteacher/Inclusion Manager submitted comprehensive documentation of the school’s own evaluation of progress. The school currently has 280 children on roll and serves a diverse local population with 10.71% of children eligible for free school meals, 92.14% have English as an additional language, 10.36% access SEN support, with 3% of those with EHCPs. There are additional numbers of children accepted for EHCPs assessment and are in the process of their drafts being issued.
Warm, Productive, Happy and Respectful Setting
Kenmore Park Infant and Nursery School is a three-form entry school which serves a diverse population. The school is a vibrant school with its last Section 8 OFSTED report in 2018 stating that the school was ‘Good’. Staff and children alike are justifiably proud of all of KPINS’s achievements. Children feel valued for who they are and are confident that the adults who work at the school will meet their diverse needs. A warm, productive, happy, respectful atmosphere is prevalent, underpinned by strong inclusive goals and robust systems. Visitors to the school are warmly welcomed and staff work together as an efficient team, valuing each other’s expertise and roles within the school.
The school was part of an expansion project increasing its capacity from three to four forms of entry from September 2016. However, following expansion it has continued to operate as a three-form entry school, due to falling rolls and over projection of the potential increase in pupil numbers, which failed to become a reality following an investment in a borough-wide school expansion programme. Consequently, the school is dealing with falling rolls, together with increased pupil mobility, which brings its own challenges, for example, severely impacting the school’s budget and published pupil attainment data. The school has therefore, requested a formal temporary PAN reduction in Reception 2021/22 for the foreseeable future. Across the school there are currently twenty-two different languages spoken, compared to thirty-one in January 2018. The predominant first language of pupils in the school continues to be Romanian, making up 49% of the whole school cohort.
Together Achieving Lifelong Learning
There is a very clearly understood set of inclusive principles and aims communicated by the Leadership Team. This has resulted in shared values related to striving for the absolute best in all areas for school life, for all groups of children. The school environment is welcoming, and vibrant displays represent the diverse nature of the community and celebrate attainment. Carefully selected high quality resources meet the needs of the children. The school’s motto is “Together Achieving Lifelong Learning,” and this is reflected in the desire of all members of staff and governors to promote a love of learning, extending beyond the time that the children are at Kenmore Park School. As a Visible Learning school, Kenmore Park promotes the “dispositions of an effective learner” at all phases across the school, developing children’s resilience when faced with challenges and being resourceful in supporting their own learning, and to become assessment capable learners.
Community Focused Hub
The school rightfully takes great pride in being a community-focused hub, with the United Nations Conventions Rights of the Child (UNCRC) firmly at the centre of its heart, reflecting the ethos of the school. Leaders are determined to develop the children they serve into life-long learners, who understand, appreciate, and respect different cultures and traditions. Throughout the school, the staff have created a safe, cohesive, calm, and caring environment, where all groups of children feel valued and are provided with a continually evolving, broad and balanced curriculum. The school is currently in the process of setting up a sensory room, which will support those pupils with the greatest need.
Removing Barriers to Learning
In this school the achievements, attitudes, and wellbeing of all children, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, attainment, disability or background matter, and staff continually endeavour to remove all barriers that children may face in their learning. Teachers ensure that learning plans are informed by previous assessment, and the provision map to ensure that each child’s needs are met through precision teaching. All staff receive regular training on the use of key strategies and materials to support different learners. Staff actively take, and act upon, professional advice from colleagues and outside professionals such as Educational Psychologists, specialist teachers, Speech and Language Therapists and Occupational Health Therapists.
The school ensures that teaching and learning opportunities meet the needs of all the children and that appropriate provision is made for those children in vulnerable groups; this includes children with all levels of special educational needs and children with English as an additional language, whilst ensuring the needs of socially disadvantaged children are adequately assessed and addressed. This is done effectively, through early identification, assessment, early interventions, preventions/triggers and setting achievable personal goals and aspirations for all children. The school’s tracking system ensures that children who are not progressing are targeted for interventions where needed. Interventions are specifically tailored to individual needs; they are monitored carefully, and adjustments are made appropriately. In addition, the school has developed a clear and robust ‘Catch-up’ plan to ensure that any gaps, which have resulted from the COVID lockdowns for children, are addressed to ensure that the needs of all groups of children, including the most vulnerable, are fully met. From my meetings with staff, it became clear that they take ownership of ensuring that any barriers to learning are overcome and that all children experience success in different contexts.
Covid Challenges Met
It must be noted that, at Kenmore Park School, communication and interaction remains a significant area of special educational need amongst learners. The number of children requiring Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) input is consistently high. The SALT Team in Harrow continues to experience higher-than-ever levels of demand and referrals. Consequently, children may not necessarily receive their full entitlement, due to limited resources. Children who join the school in Reception have their sessions protected as do the children who are on the Autism pathway. To mitigate any gaps for those children with the greatest need, the school is fortunate to have an ELKLAN-trained Teaching Assistant (TA), who is qualified to supplement the input from SALT with additional support for the children. The school has been relentless in ensuring that the needs of the most vulnerable children are met and, in-line with the government guidance during Covid lockdown/school closure, the school ensures that parents of children in receipt of an Education, Health and Care Plan were given the opportunity to attend the setting. No children attended, due to parental fears regarding their children contracting the virus. Instead, differentiated work was sent home to these families and parents were contacted weekly to check on their situation, and to remind them that they could access the provision. In addition, children in receipt of Speech and Language Therapy had resources sent home to them to support the targets on which they were working. These were emailed via a secure digital platform and paper copies were made for families not able to access online support. The school is to be commended for its proactive approach and determination to identify and remove any barriers for all children during unprecedented times. Indeed, the Inclusion Manager together with the Headteacher have played a key part in ensuring that the needs of the children, parents and staff have been met.
Broad, Balanced Curriculum
Teachers at Kenmore Park carefully plan learning so that tasks and activities are meaningful and relevant. Staff work hard to identify any barriers to learning and adapt the curriculum accordingly, with appropriate intervention and support to diminish gaps in learning and knowledge acquisition. The school has a broad, balanced curriculum which ensures that it engages the children’s interests. The school ensures that both teachers and support staff have access to continuous professional development programmes, so all staff keep abreast of the latest educational research to develop their practice further. Staff appreciate the support provided by school leaders and take full advantage of relevant CPD opportunities. One member of staff said,
“At Kenmore Park we are like a family. The staff are very friendly and helpful, there is an open-door policy, and we can speak with the Headteacher and the Inclusion Manager if we have a concern and they always listen and are very responsive.”
Another commented that,
“This is a great school with happy children, and we all work as a team to support all the children.”
The children I spoke with were polite and friendly. They respect the staff and know that they are listened to, cared for and appreciated for their individuality. The voice of the children is valued and contributes to their provision. Personal development is a priority, as is the development of pupil aspiration. They understand that they are rewarded for good behaviours for learning, and they enjoy taking on responsibilities around school as part of their RRS values. The children clearly enjoy coming to school and feel safe and secure. They were clear about the rules of the school, and they said that they could talk to any adult in school if they had a problem.
A key strength of the school is the work the school does to engage with parents, offering emotional, social, and academic support. Parents are appreciative of the support provided by the school to their children. They feel that they are listened to, and the school has fostered a real partnership ensuring both parties share the process of educating their children. Conversations with parents during the review demonstrated how supportive the school has been for families, especially during lockdown. Parents reported that if they had any concerns, they felt confident that teachers and leaders will take them seriously and will act with immediacy to resolve any situation. The use of the Dojo system for communication was praised by the parents, as they can contact teachers directly and the school keeps them updated with a whole host of information via this communication system. One of the parents was extremely pleased with her son’s progress at the school and said,
“Kenmore Park provides high quality education and care for all the children. All the staff are very good at removing any barriers to children’s learning.”
“This is an amazing school. Everyone is really approachable, and Mr Snowden is fantastic. He has really helped my son and my family, and my son has come on really well with his learning and always looks forward to going to school every morning!”
Amongst the evidence that the Inclusion Leader provided was a statement from a parent who wrote the following,
“I have known this school for six years. Never felt more proud to be part of the KPINS (Kenmore Park Infant & Nursery School) community than I feel now. Despite all the challenges that the school had to deal with during lockdown, they managed to keep children’s and community’s wellbeing at the heart and provided the same high-quality standard of education. The school goes above and beyond to help every child with their learning and support their families. The ongoing support from school during the lockdown, and before that, empowered our family and provided us with the ‘tools’ we need to help our child academically and support emotional wellbeing. It made a huge difference in the whole family’s life. We thank every one of the truly inspirational KPINS staff. They are our lockdown heroes because of their dedication, professionalism, and tireless efforts to make a positive difference in the life of every child and members of KPINS community.”
Leaders, including governors, know the school well. Governors assure the quality of education by challenging and supporting leaders on a range of issues. Teachers and other staff said they appreciated the unstinting support from leaders, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor I spoke with commented on the strong parent partnerships that the school builds with its families and leaving no stone unturned to help children and their families. She commented that, “There is a real drive, a clear focus and genuine commitment to provide high Quality First teaching throughout the school and that leaders are continually building on the strengths of the school under very challenging circumstances.”
It has been clear during the review day that at Kenmore Park School, inclusion is a natural part of the very fabric of the school and a place where care, nurture and support occur naturally; in a calm and purposeful learning environment, through helping children to develop the skills they need to be effective, independent learners and positive members of their community and society. Existing strategies, programmes and projects monitored, evaluated, and refined ensure the school, its staff and children move forward and continue to develop inclusive practice.
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