Lunt’s Heath Primary School in Cheshire achieves the Inclusive School Award.
An Overwhelmingly Happy Place
Lunts Heath Primary School is a pleasure to visit. It is an overwhelmingly happy place, with a vibrant, uncluttered and immaculately maintained learning environment. There is a clearly articulated determination, led by the Headteacher and supported by all his staff, that all the children who attend Lunts Heath will be the best they can be by the time they leave regardless of their academic ability or personal circumstances. Children are encouraged and provided with every opportunity to excel in their chosen field, be that art and craft, music, sport, or spelling for example.
Sources of Evidence
The assessment process included an evaluation of key documentation, discussions with parents, teaching and support staff, the children and the Chair of Governors, a learning wall with lesson drop-ins and lunch with the children. It also included an open discussion with the Senior Leadership Team and a school data and tracking discussion with the Deputy Headteacher.
Supporting Children with Additional Needs
The school has recently increased its PAN from 50 to 60 and this has resulted in an influx of children from other schools in the area, some of whom have additional needs. The school has responded positively to this change, training additional staff to support the additional needs of these children. Qualified staff are strategically deployed throughout the school in each key stage and are successfully cascading their knowledge to other staff members.
Excellent Use is Made of Space
Excellent use is made of all the space in the school, for example, the staff have transformed a storage space into a calm withdrawal room. During discussion the children referred to this room positively as a place they could go to talk over their problems with a teacher or to have some quiet time. The library areas too are inviting and well stocked with the Key Stage 2 area having been designed by a child as a Reading Forest. This is one example of staff listening to the views of the children and acting upon them.
“Be Your Best Self”
The school uses a variety of mantras to very good effect. The School Council devised the “Be your best self” posters which are displayed outside each classroom and the children particularly referenced during discussion, the mantra, “practice makes progress.” They talked about the fact that they weren’t afraid to make mistakes. One child stated that,
“if I don’t succeed, I don’t worry. I may feel upset but by working together I can make it work.”
The children believe that if they haven’t succeeded “yet”, they may well do in the future. In discussion the parents confirmed this attitude and recounted how their children referred to this at home. This idea was expanded when the children were asked about being challenged in their learning. They said that they were always challenged to try new things, learn new things. As the Deputy Headteacher said,
“We don’t ever put a glass ceiling on a child’s learning.”
Constantly Striving for Improvement
Parents and carers confirmed that the school is constantly striving for improvement and they are regularly consulted. They discussed the schools, “Growth Mindset” approach and the “Power of Yet.” They felt strongly that the children were focused on their learning and that they knew that if they had an issue, the school would help them through it. The power of “social stories” to tackle mental health and particularly anxiety issues was discussed as was the fact that the support the children received was not limited to the child’s own teacher. There was a very real sense that all the staff knew all the children. Parents valued the openness of the school and the level of communication. They commented on the level of mutual respect between the children and staff. They also felt strongly that the school was totally committed to success for everyone. As one parent put it, “every child has the chance to shine in equal measure.”
Very Interesting Displays
Displays throughout the school are very interesting and at the moment are mainly based around the school’s project of sustainability and the overuse of plastics. Based on a variety of relevant texts, the children have brought these books to life and have created art work and written work to compliment the displays. During discussions the children talked articulately about this work.
Children Challenge Themselves
Within classrooms, the displays clearly show progress and aids to learning are clear. Children explained how working walls and the learning buddy system helps their learning and allows them to challenge themselves. Parents discussed examples of when this buddy system had helped their child and parents with children in older year groups commented on how the “joy” of reading was now a priority in the school rather than just the ability to read. They discussed how the children were impressed that the Headteacher told them what he was currently reading and this often led to interesting discussions at home.
Inclusion is at the Heart of Everything
Staff, Governors and parents reported that inclusion was at the heart of everything the school does. Inclusion plans are reviewed regularly by the Governors and the Senior Team. Staff reported on relevant research the school has carried out which has improved resilience and perseverance. Recently the school has expanded its work on Building Learning Power with a common language for learning now being used by all the staff. The Headteacher stated that they do not adopt any new initiative without exploring whether it would improve the opportunities given to the children.
A Rigorous Tracking System
The school has a rigorous tracking system in place. The Deputy Headteacher explained how every term, each child was discussed, and their progress challenged in conversation with the class teacher. This leads to clear and focused actions either at classroom level, through intervention groups or by seeking external support.
A Strong School Council
The School Council is a particularly strong group within the school and has led to various initiatives such as anti-bullying and anti-racism champions being appointed. Children talked confidently about leading assemblies and attending training around these issues. They talked about specific local issues too, such as road safety and the need to support Widnes Vikings (rugby team) through their difficulties. Collaboration with their own community was obviously very important to the children as it was to the parents who talked at length about the Summer Fair, for example, to which local groups such as the Scouts, the rugby team and the local Church were invited.
An Inclusive School
In conclusion, the inclusive nature of the school can be summed up by the statement of two children who said,
“I absolutely love school because it helps us grow into the people we want to be… We work together to make our dreams come true” and “This school isn’t for one kind of person. We are unique. It doesn’t matter if people are different to us because everyone is welcome in our school.”
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.
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