Genuine Commitment to Inclusivity
At Marlfields Primary Academy, the Headteacher and staff team embody a genuine commitment to inclusivity. The Headteacher inspires and motivates the entire school community to embrace diversity and provide an inclusive environment where every child feels valued and included.
The school’s curriculum is carefully designed to facilitate the holistic development of every child. It goes beyond academic excellence, incorporating elements that nurture physical, emotional, social, and creative growth, ensuring a well-rounded educational experience. Learning is fun at Marlfields. The creative staff ensure pupils enjoy the lessons and overall educational experiences. Children are provided with a broad range of opportunities that enrich their cultural capital, exposing them to various experiences and perspectives. These opportunities are presented in a way that is enjoyable and engaging, making learning a delightful journey for them.
Leaders promote an evaluative and reflective approach to education, constantly experimenting with different methods and initiatives, always with the best interests of the children at heart. They invite feedback from stakeholders and visitors, learning, adapting and evolving to ensure the best possible learning outcomes for the pupils.
Child’s Voice is a Key Priority
The child’s voice is a key priority. Making sure pupils feel safe and confident to express their opinions and ideas is important to the staff. Through open conversations and careful observations, they gather evidence of the impact of specific projects and initiatives on the children, valuing and respecting their perspectives. Provision is very much shaped around what the children need but also want.
During the review day, it was immensely heart-warming to witness the growth and development of the school’s Resource Provision. The SENDCo and EYFS Lead have played a significant role in enhancing the specialist provision over the past 12 months. The Rainbow Room Resource Provision has proven to be a success in providing tailored support and opportunities for children with diverse needs. Each child’s individual needs are addressed in a gradual and holistic manner. As a result, all children are now able to access some aspect of mainstream provision, fostering a sense of inclusion within the school community.
The staff’s dedication to familiarising the Rainbow Room children with the local area, particularly through walking to swimming lessons, is commendable. This proactive approach not only aids in developing necessary life skills but also eases the transition into different environments. The SENDCo’s commitment to, “walk the talk” by actively engaging with the children and modelling approaches is pivotal. Additionally, the strong partnership with external agencies such as Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) professionals has greatly benefited the children. The successful integration of Rainbow Room children during break and lunchtimes demonstrates a nurturing and inclusive environment. With a full team of staff on duty, they can model play and help initiate interactions, creating a supportive social environment.
The change in teaching style in the EYFS provision to accommodate the needs of the SEND children is commendable. This flexible approach ensures that all children, including pre-verbal or shy ones, can effectively communicate and engage in learning.
The use of symbols, communication boards, and sensory materials in various areas reflects the Rainbow Room’s dedication to addressing diverse learning needs. This approach supports children with different sensory sensitivities and communication styles. The commitment to building on the achievements of the past year and extending best practices to other teachers is a clear sign of dedication to continuous improvement. The work on Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant Time-bound (SMART) targeting with staff, and a focus on adaptive teaching methods, ensures that each child’s unique needs are addressed effectively. The Rainbow Room’s ability to provide a calm and focused environment is a significant achievement. The use of support materials, whiteboards, and a sensory table demonstrates a commitment to catering to children’s needs, ensuring they can access their education in a supportive setting.
Strength and Dedication
The Teaching Assistant (TA) team at Marlfields exhibits remarkable strength and dedication. They play a vital role in supporting the educational process, demonstrating exceptional skills, passion, and commitment to the growth and success of the pupils. This dedication was displayed through the camaraderie shown throughout the teacher strike days last academic year. Due to the high number of vulnerable children, including those with SEND, the decision was made to keep the school open to all pupils. This meant that the Headteacher and TAs had to plan and lead activities to engage the children.
The enrichment days comprised a diverse range of engaging activities and themes, including circus tricks, a donkey welfare day, science experiments, quidditch, cinema day, Lego building, baking, sports day, willow weaving, and chicken wire sculpting. All children, including those EYFS, were invited to participate, ensuring inclusivity across different age groups. Understanding the importance of routine for the youngest year groups and pupils from the Resource Provision, efforts were made to keep elements of the usual school routine intact while allowing flexibility for children to access activities as suited to their needs. The school collaborated with external visitors, such as the donkey sanctuary and Macclesfield cinema, to enhance the enrichment experience for the children.
The success of these days was a testament to the remarkable dedication and hard work of the TAs who played a vital role in leading and organising various activities, contributing to the smooth running of the days. Regular communication with parents and carers through blogs and social media provided updates on the activities throughout the days. A total of 92% of children attended school on the final strike day, demonstrating the appeal and success of the activities. Parents and carers expressed their appreciation for the enriching activities, with one parent stating that their child, “didn’t want the day to end”. Another parent commended the dedication of the school’s team during these challenging times.
This annual IQM review visit served as an ideal example of what inclusive education is truly about: the children. Engaging with them, learning from them and seeing the school through their eyes allowed the Assessor to understand what it is like to be a pupil at the school. The Assessor met with various groups of children throughout the day, as well as spending lunch in the dining hall to carry out informal pupil voice. It was a genuine pleasure to meet the wonderful children and hear just how much they enjoyed attending the school. Through the various conversations, a real sense of joy of learning shone through.
Marlfields pupils speak very positively about their school and demonstrate high levels of respect towards each other, and visitors. Describing their experience of the school, one pupil said, “the teachers make me feel safe and will happily talk to you if you have any worries”. Another shared their favourite time of the day, which is hearing their teacher read the class novel aloud as they, “use dramatic voices”. The school staff were described as, “kind and fun,” and the Headteacher was praised for being, “amazing” and for organising enjoyable trips and treats for the pupils.
The pupils find the best thing about school to be the opportunity to, “learn more”, and they, “look forward to coming in” because they never know what exciting things might happen. Most pupils come to school on time and attend because it is fun, and they genuinely want to be there. The day of the IQM review was National Poetry Day, where pupils in Year 6 were invited to memorise and perform either their own poems or those of others, creating an engaging learning experience. Pupils were keen to recite their poems to the Assessor who was blown away by the articulacy, passion and confidence with which the poems were performed.
Our Assessor added, “I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Marlfields Primary Academy and hearing from the wonderful children. I found all members of the school community to be friendly and welcoming. The Academy has continued to build on its excellent inclusive practice.”
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.
Want more information on the IQM Award? Click here to request your free IQM information pack.
• Our inaugural National Inclusion Conference will take place on the 27th November, for further details click here.