Meadow High School in Middlesex has achieved the Inclusion Quality Mark’s Inclusive School Award for the third time.
A Warm And Caring Environment
The school has been under a massive refurbishment and extension program. The onsite work is due to be finished in September 2022. The school is planning a grand opening on the 22nd of September. The building site is fenced so that pupils can see the progress and ask questions. The opening of the new building will not be the end for the school, the next phase will follow very soon after and include the refurbishment of the school’s outdoor facilities. It has not always been easy for the Head and Leadership Team to lead the school with such a large-scale build and the complications that come with it. Add to that the issues that the school faced during COVID, and it is a credit to the school that they have ensured the school remains a warm and caring environment where all student needs are met.
A Growing School
The Head is aware that a change of site for some pupils is not popular with parents and also aware of the challenges of maintaining the inclusive feel and sense of belonging when the school is split. The Head has held eight sessions with parents to look at how they can resolve any issues that they feel the new site may cause. The first meeting was well attended but the attendance numbers have dropped as parents have become more comfortable with the situation. There will be a Deputy Head for the new site and the Head will spend time in both locations. The school has been careful to ensure that the new site is as well, if not better, equipped as the current site. The Head is very aware of the advantages of growing as a school.
Teaching In Pathways
Meadow High School meets the needs of the diverse range of pupils it has by teaching pupils in pathways. Pathway 1 focuses on life skills and topic learning following a primary model. The other pathways follow more formal learning based on the national curriculum. In these pathways, pupils are taught using specialist teachers, following a secondary model. There is always a focus on employability. Pupils in Pathway 2 upwards all have moderate learning difficulties with some of them transferring to Meadow High from mainstream high schools where they struggled to integrate. Many of these pupils have limited resilience and social skills. Within each pathway, the curriculum is differentiated, and pupils can move between pathways. For example, a pupil in Pathway 1 because of sensory and communication needs is taking GCSE maths.
An Experienced Governing Body
The school has a fully active Governing Body, who are very experienced. The Governors spoke of the positive ethos in the school and how, no matter what the issue, the school will find a way around it. They keep everyone engaged and motivated.
The school has a wide range of learning activities. For example, Year 10 pupils in wood technology making bread bins and wood houses, art lessons, reading sessions, and a ‘Mad Hatters Tea Party.’ Pupils had decorated the food technology room and made the food for a tea party, inviting other members of the school to join them, including pupils and staff. In the Sixth Form, pupils were selling hotdogs, leftovers from the previous night’s BBQ and two students were working in the beauty salon. They had been practising hairstyles that pupils may want for the school prom on the following night.
Adapting To Covid
The school has a full-time Attendance Officer who has worked tirelessly to improve attendance at the school, especially post-COVID. The school remained open throughout the pandemic with fifty-eight pupils attending every day. The school was quick to respond to the new needs of the school, including adapting IT and the Chair of Governors spoke to the whole staff team aware of the increased stress and challenges that teachers faced.
When asked what inclusion means at Meadow School the Head responded, “If there is a barrier, we will seek to overcome it no matter what that is.” The Deputy Head added that the aim is for pupils to “learn the skills in the right setting so that all skills are transferable.” It is a school that follows the ‘life beyond Meadow Mantra’ – they want all pupils to leave with the highest level of independence possible.
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:
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