Northampton Academy has achieved the Inclusive School Award with Centre of Excellence status.
Friendly, Positive and Upbeat
From the moment our Assessor stepped into the Academy they could feel the commitment to inclusion. They were made to feel incredibly welcome and special throughout the visit, nothing was too much trouble. The Senior Team has spent time thinking about what inclusion means, looks and feels like. The Principal described inclusion as, “the feeling you get in a place where people are trusted, safe, respected and have a sense of belonging to the school community also to the local, national and international communities.” This is apparent as you walk around the school. Interactions between all members of the school were friendly, positive and upbeat. The Principal, Vice-Principal, Business Manager and Inclusion Manager meet and greet students at the start of every day to welcome students and pick up any issues. Students feel ‘known’. Staff make a point of getting to know students’ individual circumstances.
The Principal has a clear vision for the school, he wants Northampton Academy to be unique and it is evident that the school is on the journey to achieve this. There is buy-in from all members of the school community. The school is fast becoming a hub of the local community. New staff are taken on a minibus tour of the catchment area by the Principal and Safeguarding Lead so they can get a feel for the community the school serves and have a better understanding of contextual safeguarding priorities. Staff are proud of the school; they describe it as a very special place to work. Trust and teamwork are evident in all interactions across the school. Staff morale is high.
Inclusion Action Plan
“To give all members of our community a feeling of worth, belonging and empowerment to be their best selves.” This vision for inclusion is at the heart of all interactions, processes and structures at Northampton Academy. The word all is not, just a word, it is a reality. The strategies which underpin this vision are robust; designed and evaluated for impact. The school is an inclusive organisation supported by four leadership competencies; leadership behaviour, personal, interpersonal and systems and a process of self-evaluation, action planning and a continuous feedback loop.
There is a well thought through Inclusion Action Plan and all staff have taken part in inclusion and diversity training. The wellbeing provision for staff and students, which is overseen by a dedicated team, is an area of excellence. Staff wellbeing is a priority and funding is made available for activities when requested. There is a drop-in centre used by upwards of 30 students every lunchtime and the team are quick to act on student self-referrals or referrals from staff, putting in place immediate actions and support. This might include support from the school counsellor or bespoke programmes on raising self-esteem or anger management. There is a proactive approach with an attitudinal survey completed in Year 7 to trigger immediate intervention if required. The voice of the child and parent is always captured before any formal intervention takes place.
Staff are Child Centred
Staff in the school are immensely child centred. There is a strong culture of listening to students, ensuring they feel safe. One member of staff said “Everyone is striving to ensure that students are at the heart of everything we do. We go above and beyond. Progress is phenomenal, there is drive from the leadership team, all staff work hard and enrichment is the best it can be.” The school lives by their motto ‘The Best in Everyone’. All members of the community are proud of the school.
Students told our Assessor “Northampton Academy is an all-inclusive school, it’s not just a badge we wear, it’s everywhere in the school.” “Staff take our achievements very seriously.” “Teachers make you feel comfortable and relate to you, they are there for advice.” “On a Friday you can show work you are proud of and get recognition for it.” Our Assessor felt privileged to be there to see the Proud Table in action. Sixth Form volunteers were talking to students about why they were proud of a particular piece of work, praising students, stamping books and handing out rewards. Staff are invested in supporting students in all aspects of school life. Progress is excellent and aspirations high. As a result, increasing numbers of students are going on to study medicine, law and a range of other degrees at Russell group universities.
Inclusion is of paramount importance in the school. It is a feature of every Governors meeting. The Equality, Inclusion and Diversity committee have the opportunity to feed into the school’s action planning. The open door, nothing to hide, transparent culture extends to governors who can visit the school unannounced at any time.
Expectations are incredibly high and aspirations for students have no limits at Northampton Academy. Our Assessor felt it was a real privilege to spend two days soaking up the atmosphere of a truly inspirational school.
In keeping with the ethos and culture of the Academy the students should have the last word. They said, “I think Northampton Academy is different to other schools, staff hear the students, we are their priority.” “I feel I can be authentic here; my true self and I am proud to be a part of the Northampton Academy community.”
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.