Oakthorpe Primary School in Enfield has achieved Flagship status for the third time.
Innovative and Creative Online Lessons
Oakthorpe Primary School continues to be very inclusive and supportive of all pupils, their parents and the school staff. Teachers in the school are passionate about the school and rightly proud of the way they have adapted to the “new normal” during the COVID-19 restrictions. Staff describe the Headteacher as amazing, with the children truly at the heart of all her decisions. During these difficult times, staff went shopping for parents who could not leave their homes, they made weekly phone calls to all families and they delivered innovative and creative online virtual lessons. They adapted existing plans and made sure that their caring, family ethos pervaded everything. A good example is how transition arrangements were adapted so that Transition Books contained information about social distancing and how the bubble system would work in secondary school. Transition meetings were held to help with pupils online and they had the same opportunities for discussion as if they had been in school. At the other end of the age spectrum, Early Years staff formed a home learning closed Facebook Group, lots of parents said it was a saving grace for them when their child could not be in school.
A Safe, Welcoming, Consistent Environment
The school staff work in identified teams which means that they can meet pupil needs more strategically and effectively. Timely referrals have been made where there have been changes in pupils’ mental health, the Oakthorpe staff are very observant and responsive. During the COVID-19 first wave lockdown vulnerable and key worker children attended the school continually. The school provided a safe, welcoming and consistent environment during these stressful times, with an adapted curriculum that addressed pupils’ mental health with activities such as art and crafts, art therapy and making rainbows for the neighbours. Dance and exercise classes took place daily. Cooking and needlework were popular. The pupils loved the sessions.
Outstanding Ofsted Grading
Ofsted graded the school’s work to promote pupils’ development and welfare as ‘Outstanding’ in 2019 and this was apparent in discussions around the school’s response to all the changes that had to be made during the pandemic. Ofsted stated, “Pupils are proud of their school. They behave well in lessons and around the school. Staff develop positive relationships with all pupils.”
Responding Creatively and Imaginatively
In normal times, pupils can access a very wide range of after school activities as well as a breakfast club that is run by school staff and open from 8 am. The pupils took part in Children in Need, National Kindness Day this term and they contribute to the local Food Bank. Diversity is celebrated throughout the curriculum with Black History week being very successful, the main theme during Book Week was ‘Brilliant Black Authors’. The school has responded creatively and imaginatively during the lockdown restrictions, so in response to parents not being able to come into school Oakthorpe carried out virtual events for Book Week such as storytelling and staff did a production for pupils to watch from their bubbles.
A Clear, User-Friendly Website
The school has a very clear, user-friendly website which is easily accessible for parents with all the key information that they need, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning for all is at the forefront of the school’s drive for improvement. The Destination Reader project has had a significant impact on pupils’ understanding and love of reading as reflected in this feedback from a Year 4 pupil,
“I enjoy reading because I learn new words. The skills I got better at is taking evidence from the text because sometimes I read the same text twice. I have got better at clarifying because now when I get stuck on a word, I read back until I understand the word.”
White Rose Maths is embedded in the school now and as can be seen in the project, has helped the pupils to make great strides in their understanding of key concepts. Unfortunately the Maths Week was not able to go ahead. However, the plans show that when it does happen the children will love the variety of fun activities which will help them see how maths is relevant to everyday living.
An Outward-Facing School
The Ofsted report (2019) commented that the school has “strong links with other schools which provide opportunities for research and innovation.” The school continues to be outward-facing, they are the lead school in the 2Schools consortium and runs the school direct salaried programme and the SCITT programme.
Very High Quality Displays
The quality of displays around the school is very high, they are linked to the topic with lots of evidence of pupil voice within them. Some eye-catching displays were the science display of a Meteor shower, an art display around portraits in the style of Jean Dubuffet and a creative display in the style of a t-shirt. The outdoor environment has been revamped and improved since the last Ofsted visit with new equipment for Reception classes such as tunnels and slides and easier access to outdoor play. There is now a very popular pirate ship in the playground. The school is well-resourced with IT equipment with trollies equipped with ICT Chromebooks and iPads.
Community Spirt and Family Feel
The School Council continues to be the voice of the children, representatives come from each class and they take their role very seriously. The school ensured that all pupils had a very clear and shared understanding of the role of the School Council through class discussions and assemblies. The school is planning to carry out the School Council Meetings remotely. The community spirit and family feel of the school was very evident in the discussions. The support that the school has given families, their children and colleagues during these difficult times has been remarkable and a testimony to the inclusive nature of the school. Well done, everyone.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
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