Kings Hill Primary in Kent has successfully achieved the Inclusive School Award.
Inclusion is Embedded
Inclusion is embedded into the ethos of Kings Hill Primary and is evident in all aspects of the school’s work. Visitors to the school are given a warm and friendly welcome. Discussions with stakeholders concluded that one reason for its success is that it is run as a team, with everyone feeling that their contribution is listened to and valued. One teacher said, “Everyone works very hard here because there is a good team spirit and we feel very valued.” The excellent relationships between staff mean that children feel well cared for and supported in their learning. The children enjoy their time at school and, as a result, attendance is excellent. The school uses its Pupil Premium to good effect and there is clear data to monitor the outcomes of interventions such as additional support in the classroom, Pets as Therapy and breakfast club attendance.
The Head of Inclusion is very knowledgeable and ensures that all stakeholders, including governors, are kept up to date with the inclusion agenda. Both staff and parents speak very highly of the support that she gives them. One parent described how the Head of Inclusion had, “Battled for high needs funding” for his child.
The Importance of Inclusion
The Headteacher fully supports the role of inclusion within the school and the change of title from Assistant Head to Head of Inclusion shows the importance placed on it.
The Headteacher, Head of Inclusion and Senior Leadership Team are committed to the implementation of inclusive practice to ensure a caring environment for their pupils where high expectations have a huge impact on attainment, progress and wellbeing.
A Stunning Environment
Kings Hill Primary is set in stunning grounds which are used to their full potential. Each morning before school, targeted children are met by a member of staff who supervises them in completing a sensory circuit. This ensures that sensory needs are met and the children are ready for the morning ahead. The grounds also include an outdoor classroom, manned by an outdoor TA, a large polytunnel for growing and outdoor apparatus. Outdoor education plays an important part in the life of Kings Hill. The children describe these sessions as their favourite times, feeling that they are always fully engaged when outside.
Not only are the displays in the classrooms and hallways of the highest standard, but they show the care that the children take in their work and the value that is given to it by the staff. Displays varied from Florence Nightingale, to India, the Romans and the human body, each demonstrating aspects of art, creativity, and imagination. Also on display in the corridors are quotes from parents and visitors which demonstrate the continued emphasis on a warm welcome, good behaviour and an interest in the local community.
The school operates many successful reward strategies including house families where children strive to earn house points in all aspects of school life. Every child also has a record of achievement card which moves from bronze to silver to gold. Once a child has achieved enough stars to earn the bronze level they are sent to the Headteacher for praise and stickers. This allows the Headteacher to be directly involved with her pupils’ learning.
Values Based Education
The school has a Values Based Education Award and this is obvious from the moment that you step into the school. Children and adults treat one another with respect and are always ready to listen. Once a week the children in KS2 are given a thinking point. This week the children were asked, “Is one charity more important than another?” Having discussed the question in class, the children arrived in the hall in their classes to debate it. The session was led by a teacher and the Values Ambassadors who were elected by the children themselves. The Values Ambassadors point out pupils who want to contribute to the discussion. The children then move from one end of the hall to the other to register their opinion and end with a vote. The children were totally engaged during this short session.
Displays around the school reiterate its values. An anti-bullying display, using the children’s handprints, was particularly eye catching. During the period of the assessment the school took part in a minute’s silence to pay respects to those killed in the Manchester bombing. All children, from the youngest to the eldest took part in this, standing together in absolute silence on their playground.
Pupils as Leaders
As well as the Values Ambassadors, the children are given plenty of other opportunities for leadership including, places on the school council, Play Leaders, Play Buddies, Prefects and House Captains. Members of the school council were keen to explain the role that they take in helping to move Kings Hill forward, feeling that their opinions were listened to and acted upon by the staff. Members of the Eco Warriors group explained how they had helped to increase the amount of recycling that now occurred across the school.
The Importance of Safety
The children feel safe at Kings Hill and know who they can talk to if they have a problem. Each class has a worry box which the children feel is used well. Several TAs are trained in Drawing and Talking Therapy to help those with more complex emotional needs. The children spoke about a special safety week that had been held for them and about visits to and from the police. They knew how to keep safe on the roads and on the trains, but did not speak specifically about online safety. Kings Hill has clear safeguarding procedures.
The Importance of the Support Assistants
Kings Hill Primary has a large team of support assistants, including 10 HLTAs. Discussion with, and observation of, these ladies shows that they are an extremely knowledgeable and skilful part of the school team, making a considerable difference to the pupils with whom they work. They are keen to research new ideas and are given the freedom to lead and be the experts in some aspects of the school’s inclusive practises. Discussions with the TAs who lead Lego Therapy and Social Group Therapy showed knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication to their roles. Kings Hill has budgeted to ensure that all teaching assistants start work at 8.30 am to allow them a chance to talk to the class teacher before the pupils arrive. Parents hold the support assistants in high esteem with one parents saying that, “The 1:1s are amazing!” Parents feel that there is very good communication between the school and families and the support assistants are a contributing factor in this.
Kings Hill has a good range of digital resources, including a spacious computer suite which the children clearly enjoy using. There is also a music room incorporating a small sound studio where the children can write and record their own music.
The Importance of Parents
Kings Hill has a very active PTA. The children were keen to describe some of the special days that had been funded by them. Staff describe the parents of Kings Hill as, “very generous” both with their time and resources. Parents are keen to share their skills with pupils and to help the staff whenever possible. There is good communication between the school and the parents. The Headteacher meets regularly with a small parents’ group and there are class representatives who help to keep communication lines open. Parents are given staff emails and staff feel that this has been a useful tool in communicating with working parents. There are also regular newsletters and a regularly updated website for further information.
The Importance of the Local Community
Kings Hill has an excellent reputation in the local community. The Headteacher ensures that the local community is kept up to date with activities taking place at the school by newsletters and articles in the local papers. The community is welcomed into the school often for such activities as assemblies, concerts and pamper sessions. Visitors from the local community, including the local vicar and police officers, share their knowledge with the pupils. Good citizenship awards emphasise the importance the school places on this area. Children are also taken beyond the local community on their trips. These include visits to a farm, to the 02, museums, the Kent Country Show and to Rochester.
Sharing Good Practice
Staff at Kings Hill work closely with the two local primary schools, as well as with a nearby SEND school. The Headteacher is also part of a group of 10 schools from across London known as Inspire10, working with a national leader of education, sharing ideas and visiting schools in different contexts. The Head of Inclusion also works closely with outside agencies including, OT, EP, SALT, Pets as Therapy and the Specialist Teaching Service to which she had a secondment.
It’s OK to be different
In March, the Head of Inclusion organised a very successful Diversity Week. The outcomes of the week had made it memorable to all stakeholders with governors, staff, pupils and parents all mentioning its successes during discussions. The children felt that they had learnt a great deal about each other’s differences and felt that it was fine and important to be different. Staff felt that the week had allowed pupils who were often harder to reach an opportunity to express themselves. They spoke of a year 6 pupil who read a piece from “Aspie Girl” aloud and told her classmates that this was how she felt. Staff felt that this had been a breakthrough both for the pupil and her classmates. Parents were impressed with the homework/pre-teaching sent out prior to Diversity Week and had enjoyed researching their family background with their children. The children had also experienced Japanese drumming and an international dance day during the week.
The school has a small percentage of EAL pupils. One pupil explained that her friend had moved to the school from India two years previously with no English at all. She was thrilled to tell of her friend’s progress which was evident the following day when both girls took a lead role in their class assembly.
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 (9.00am to 5.00pm) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
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