Oasis Academy Byron Surrey, has achieved the IQM Inclusive School Award.
Challenge, Achieve Nurture
Oasis Academy Byron is an excellent example of inclusive practice. The school website describes the ethos of the school as one that:
“aspires to treat everyone inclusively and recognises the importance of a holistic approach to education.”
It also reflects on the importance of a:
“first class education and building a strong community.”
The Principal observed that in developing a Strapline for the school three words had been identified as central to Byron; Challenge, Achieve and Nurture.
Challenge pupils and people to be the best that they can be.
Achieve well and aspire.
Clearly Established Ethos and Aspirations
Throughout my visit to the school it was clear that both the ethos and aspirations identified within the above statements have clearly been established and have led to the success of the school. The children describe their school as a place where:
“our future life is set up.”
They made reference to the nine habits that the Oasis Academies have identified as central to their overarching ethos – compassionate, considerate, forgiving, honest, hopeful, humble, joyful, patient and self-controlled. In the children’s view the school helps them to learn how to use the habits by “telling us how to achieve every single one every day.”
High Quality Teaching
The school has in recent years become:
“the school of choice”
as both parents and Governors described. The Leadership Team are passionate about the school and have focused on providing exceptional provision that enables the children attending the school to make excellent progress. Outcomes over recent years have continued to improve with children making exceptional progress from their entry into school. This has been achieved through the development of high-quality teaching alongside high expectations. Teachers and support staff all have challenging performance management targets that are designed to have a positive impact on teaching and learning. Teachers are involved in peer class observations of support and challenge with each other.
Teachers and Support Staff described the consistent training that is available to them both through the school and as part of the Oasis Academy Chain. All staff are encouraged to attend the regional Oasis INSET days so that they are able to hear Key Speakers and meet staff from the other Oasis schools. The school is also committed to the ERASMUS+ programme. Teachers have had the opportunity to visit Sweden, Italy, Spain, Iceland and Poland. Staff feel highly valued by the Senior Leadership team. Staff described:
“feeling part of a team that is trying to do some good for the children.”
Effective Monitoring Systems
Leaders have established effective monitoring systems to maintain the excellent teaching. Governors noted that any concerns with regard to teaching are dealt with quickly and the appropriate support is put in place should it be required. The monitoring systems also focus on pupil progress with regular meetings with teachers and effective assessment systems in place. Staff described the leaderships commitment to early identification of children’s needs and their passion about ensuring all children are given:
“as many opportunities as possible to reach their potential and fully develop as a person.”
The Governors acknowledge that the school has a:
“fluid approach” to individual children “adapting and changing the provision as necessary.”
Focus on Achievement and Progress
The school uses both “O’Track” and the Oasis “Headstart” assessment tracking systems to review pupil progress termly. The systems enable leaders to look for patterns and maintain focus on achievement and progress. The school has seen a consistent improvement in outcomes for all children. The school has a focused School Improvement Plan that leads the development of the school. It is based on accurate analysis of data and self-evaluation from the regular monitoring. The Pupil Premium Plan is reviewed regularly and the funding has been used effectively to support the outcomes of the individual children as well as continuing to focus on the holistic aspect of the child.
The team have focused on the development of an exciting curriculum using the International Primary Curriculum as its model and adapting it to ensure it is appropriate for the individual children in the school. The curriculum lead describes enthusiastically the use of the thematic approach with subjects such as History and Geography blocked. There are clear links to Literacy, enabling children to practice and consolidate both reading and writing skills. The children’s engagement with the curriculum and learning is evidenced by the highly successful outcomes at the end of each Key Stage.
Memorable Learning Excursions
Trips and visits are an important part of the curriculum experience and the school focus on enabling all children to attend. Staff noted that there is a:
“strong commitment to trips, even little trips to expand the children’s knowledge of the local area.”
Staff recognise that trips make learning and the curriculum more:
“memorable because children are able to experience the place and the environment.”
The children described their recent trips to the National Gallery, to Fairford Hall to attend and meet children from the Czech Republic who were presenting a concert, as well as the Year 6 trip to Kidzania with enthusiasm. One of the most inclusive aspects of the school trips is that the majority are made using public transport which both cuts costs and develops children’s skills and knowledge. Parents spoke about the wide range of activities and trips with great enthusiasm, commenting:
“lots of trips are free or very low cost, no one excluded, the PGL trip is over the weekend as it is cheaper.”
Alongside the trips there are a wide range of clubs and activities that the children can attend.
Outdoor Learning Environments
The school uses both the indoor and outdoor learning environments to further engage the children in learning. The school is on a large site with incredible outdoor space. Children have access to a Mile a Day track which has helped to improve concentration and fitness. Most recently, there has been the addition of an edible playground. Classes have responsibility for raised beds within the playground, grandparents have been encouraged to help with the gardening and the children spoke enthusiastically about the project.
The Reception children have access to the local coppice which is used for Forest School activities. On the very wet and cold day of the assessment the children were very enthusiastic about their Forest School experience. They had lots of parental support to help both with the walk to the school and the activities. The school has provided waterproof clothes and wellies so that all children can be involved. The school has successfully refurbished its new Library part funded by HSBC. The school council members were very enthusiastic about their involvement with the library development.
Bright and Engaging Environments
The internal environments are bright and engaging. Displays around the school celebrated the different learning the children had been involved in. In the hall the learning muscle display reflected the work on Growth Mindset. The children described how the displays are referenced during Gold Book Assembly. A very interesting display on the amount of sugar in drinks in the Hall offered an excellent visual picture of the importance of drinking water over fizzy and other drinks.
Resources are Adapted to Meet Individual Needs
In the classroom children are able to use the English and Maths Learning Walls to support their learning. Resources are adapted for children with specific needs from the use of workstations, to wobble cushions and ear defenders. The school has a dedicated Lego Room available for Lego Therapy as well as a trained member of staff to deliver the therapy programmes. Staff and parents all commented on the fact that resources and environments are adapted fully to meet the individual needs of children.
Effective induction, transition and welcome is an important aspect of an inclusive school. At Oasis Academy Byron, parents talked about the welcome they received on a daily basis from Senior Leaders as they greeted the children coming into school. As part of the entry into school, staff complete home visits to all Reception children. New parents have induction packs and regular meetings with teaching staff to inform them of their child’s progress as well as the opportunity to attend workshop. Parents describe their children as:
“settling in well, staff know all the children.”
The in-year joiners are also welcomed with an induction meeting with a member of staff, one parent who had joined partway through the year observed how welcome they had been made to feel and that:
“teachers talk regularly to you, there is lots of communication.”
Those children with SEN have additional support offered as part of the move between year groups.
Well Informed Parents
Parents felt well informed about the progress of their child and were able to talk about the Learning Ladders the children have to help them to achieve their targets. Parents considered that all staff will try to “find a solution” if there is an issue. Leaders noted that there are clear procedures for any complaints and these are used to try to resolve issues quickly.
Sense of Community
As a small school it was very clear that the sense of community that the school aspires to is strongly felt by all members of the team. The school has previously worked on the Leading Parent Partnership award to improve parental engagement. The impact of this work could be seen with the number of parents keen to talk about the school. The Friends of the Academy fundraising group has also increased in popularity over the years and now has its own space in the school grounds to store its equipment.
Oasis Academy Byron is a one form entry primary school with a bulge class remaining in Year 6 for 2018/19. The Academy works alongside Mulberry Bush, The Oasis Community Partnership Nursery and Byron Children’s Centre. The pupil characteristics of Oasis Academy Byron are very different to those of other schools within the local cluster (Coulsdon) i.e. a greater proportion come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Attendance has Improved
Attendance has improved over the last few years. The school has established good systems to encourage children to attend. The team have established good relationships with parents which enables them to work closely with families to improve attendance.
A School with Many Awards
The school holds several awards including The Healthy School’s Status, Primary Science Quality Mark Silver Level, Leading Parent Partnership Award, Eco Schools Bronze Award. In 2017, Byron was proud to be recognised as the DfE/TES London and South East Pupil Premium Champions and the Croydon Primary School of the Year because of the progress made by Year 6 pupils.
Sources of Evidence
Evidence was gathered from a variety of sources within the school. The range of evidence was extremely useful presenting a full picture of life in school. Meetings on the day with Governors and Parents, the Senior Leadership Team, Children, Support Staff and Teachers. A Learning Walk also informed the evidence base.
Unswerving Approach to Inclusive Practice
The Self Evaluation Report reflects the high quality of evaluation that exists in the school. It is comprehensive and reflects the school as seen by the assessor. Oasis Academy Byron is an excellent example of a school committed to meet the needs of all its children. Its unswerving approach to the implementation of inclusive practice creates an environment that develops the whole child.
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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