Kensington Community Primary School, Liverpool in Merseyside, achieves the Inclusive School Award for the second time.
Kensington Community Primary School is a larger than average primary school, with a nursery provision, for children aged 3-11 in the centre of Liverpool. Currently there are 510 pupils on roll, of which 19% have a Special Educational Need or Disability (SEND), 59% of pupils speak English as an Additional Language (EAL), with 23 different languages spoken, and 49% of pupils are in receipt of Pupil Premium catch-up funding. There are high mobility levels amongst the school population. The percentage of children who start at the school in nursery and complete their schooling with them until Year 6 is much lower than the national average. Since September 2020, the school has welcomed 72 new starters and had 41 children leave. The school caters for children with a wide range of needs and vulnerabilities. Out of 97 children identified as having SEND, 47% have a communication and interaction difficulty, 24% have a cognition and learning difficulty, 25% have a social, emotional mental health difficulty and 5% have a sensory and/or physical difficulty. There are 5 children who are accessing High Needs Funding to facilitate 1:1 support and 7 children who are supported through Education Health and Care Plans.
Hard Work is its Own Reward
The school was judged as ‘good’ in their last Ofsted inspection in July 2018. The report recognised that the effective safeguarding procedures
“ensure that pupils are well cared for and nurtured”
and that there is
“an uncompromising focus on pupils’ personal, social and health education.”
Pupil progress at the end of Key Stage Two in 2019 was broadly in line with national averages for reading and writing. Progress in maths was below average, however it showed an improvement compared to the previous year. The percentage of pupils achieving the excepted standard in reading, writing and maths increased by 12% compared to the previous year.
Commitment to Inclusion
At Kensington Community Primary School, there is a genuine, unwavering commitment to inclusive practice which informs all systems and approaches. The Headteacher will accept and welcome all children into the school, regardless of need or background. She will never exclude, hence the exclusion figure of zero. The Leadership Team is deeply passionate about, and committed to, the inclusion agenda. They want to make a difference to all the children and improve their life chances.
The Headteacher has accurately evaluated the provision and is aware of the areas which need to be developed to keep moving the school forward. All Leaders know their staff well and deploy them effectively to have a positive impact on pupils. They recognise the importance of improving the quality of teaching and learning as they want the pupils to leave with the best outcomes academically, as well as developing the wider skills they acquire through the holistic curriculum. There is a collective responsibility, amongst the staff, to look after the children and give them the best school experience possible. All adults who work in the school are welcoming and kind. This thoughtful and inclusive ethos permeates all staff, regardless of role; all staff are valued and respected.
Teachers have a good understanding of the factors which influence pupils’ mindsets and their ability to learn. They understand that behaviour is not who that child is, it does not define them. They seek to uncover the causes behind the behaviours. Staff also recognise the importance of building positive relationships and listening to the children, giving them a voice. The Headteacher believes that with the appropriate staff and personalities, you can build the desirable ethos. You can upskill and train staff in different areas, but it is imperative that their beliefs fit into to the school’s shared vision. The Headteacher feels fully supported by her staff and they feel fully supported in return.
Enquiry Based Curriculum
The recently appointed Deputy Headteacher brings new energy to the curriculum role. She has exciting plans and a vision for curriculum development. The plan is to deliver an enquiry-based curriculum with a broader range of topics and experiences. Once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, the school looks forward to re-establishing their comprehensive enrichment programme, which complements the curriculum.
The school’s environment lends itself well to the inclusive ethos through its range of facilities, spaces, and equipment to enhance the learning and daily experience. Inclusion is engrained in the fabric of the school; it extends to the actual building design and layout.
Value of Commitment and Determination
The SENDCo is very focussed on getting the best possible provision for Kensington’s SEND pupils. With her unique experience and skillset, she is an asset to the school. Since the last IQM assessment, she has further developed her role and is now a non-teaching member of the Senior Leadership Team.
Positive Approach to Mental Health & Well-Being Support
Pupils appear happy at school and socialise well. They are very friendly, and all behaviour observed during the assessment days was excellent. Where pupils start to veer off task, it is where the learning is not as engaging. The strong emphasis on mental health and wellbeing ensures that pupils’ emotional needs are well-supported, allowing them to focus on learning in the classroom. The introduction of the Thrive approach has had a significant impact on improving children’s mental health and wellbeing.
An exciting addition to the Inclusion Team this year is the school’s therapy dog, Beau. She is training as an Educational Assistance Dog, to support the school’s ongoing work around mental health and wellbeing. In addition to listening to the children read, Beau will be supporting pupils with mental health and wellbeing interventions. In the letter to communicate the news with families, the Headteacher explained that,
“animals help with depression, anxiety and stress and promote happiness and wellbeing. Our belief is that having a School Dog will make the school feel a ‘nicer’ place to be, for the whole school community. We are sure that her introduction will: encourage positive behaviour; build self-confidence and increase self-esteem; encourage respect, responsibility and trust; improve reading skills by the children having fun and enjoying the experience; help with anger management and de-escalation of anger/frustration; improve attendance.”
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)