Orchard Primary School in Hackney, London have achieved the Inclusive School Award with Flagship status for the second time.
Orchard Primary School is a very popular school and is full in Reception and in almost every year. There are around 75 members of staff (teachers and support staff). Any vacancies that exist are due to pupils/families moving out of the area. The school belongs to a Federation of three schools, and they share many services including a Bursar/Business Manager and IT professional who works across three schools. There are four Premises Managers shared across the three schools. There is an Executive Head who oversees the work of the three schools and there are many opportunities to network and to collaborate. The three schools share a common curriculum and many school policies and procedures. The Executive Head spends time in each school every week. In addition, there are many meetings involving Senior Teams across the three schools. Currently, there are 19 pupils with EHCPs, with many more in the pipeline waiting for plans. Additionally, there are many others who need support but are (not yet) funded. The school provides the support they need from their own budget. There is a Teaching Assistant in every classroom and some one-to-one TA’s where they are needed. Apprentice Teachers provide additional capacity as they support teachers in class.
There was a positive response from teachers including the Excellent Practitioner Programme and experience that had given them time for reflection on their own practice. The regular inset and training sessions and the way teachers are encouraged and enabled to collaborate and work together were all cited as examples of excellent practice at the school. They spoke positively about the Federation and the benefits of planning with the Subject Leads in the different schools. Having a larger team to develop the curriculum means the workload of individuals is lessened. They like the school and Federations structure and the fact that they are one community that can and does support each other.
Pupil Voice is highly valued in the school and there are leaflets in Reception where you are able to see the policy document covering this aspect. The children are very keen to discuss their different roles and indeed about the school in general. They must apply for the roles and there are different application forms for the different jobs. At the start of the year, there is a stall set up outlining all the Pupil Voice roles and they can choose which one they are interested in, and they can pick up the forms and apply. The School Council is the most popular and sought-after role, but others are also popular because of children’s individual interests.
All Children Are Safe
Some of the children are Peer Mentors and their main role is to “watch and observe” in the playground and make sure children are safe and are included. If they notice someone on their own without anybody to play with, they approach them and try to get them to be part of a group. They are trained for this role and learn how to deal with problems and to respect pupils’ feelings and how to respond to them. The PHSE curriculum helps pupils to talk about managing their emotions and how they should respect everyone. They are taught how to solve problems and find solutions. They talk about their differences and what makes them different and why this is a good thing. They talk about friendships and about preparing for secondary school. They learn about peer pressure and how they can deal with it.
Benefits In The School
The children stated the best things about Orchard School. Everyone was able to contribute, and they were very keen to do so. The best things included:
• children value education
• the fabulous playgrounds
• everyone is treated equally
• everyone is included
• the diverse community
• the focus on kindness
• the teachers are really kind and patient
• the lessons are fun, and we learn lots
• literacy and creative writing
• the Rights Respecting award
Pupils Are Proud
It is clear that pupils are very proud of their school, and they enjoy it. The school curriculum ensures the needs of the whole child are covered and they want children’s voices to be heard. The fact that the Headteacher takes responsibility for the School Council herself is an indication of the value she places on pupil voice.
“SEN Tip of the Week”
The MAP termly meeting termly involves the SENCos and all agencies and they review the impact of the various programmes available to support children. The SENCos do observations of individual children with EHCPs, and they give advice and guidance to teachers and class TAs (and 1:1 TAs) on how they can meet the needs of the children in their class. There is a “SEN Tip of the Week” at the briefing every week and they send out useful resources as well. The school policy is to identify children’s needs early (in Reception) and they are all screened to help identify any barriers to learning. This Flagship project is being carefully monitored and tracked to ensure it is effective and I look forward to seeing the outcomes. I know the school will be more than happy to share its findings and learning with other schools.
Committed to Inclusion
Orchard Primary School is extremely welcoming and the school is keen to share the work they are doing. The Acting Headteacher is doing an amazing job and really knows her school well and is totally committed to the inclusion agenda. Staff are happy to be led by her and they obviously trust her to make the right decisions. The school certainly benefits from belonging to a small Federation and by working so closely together. It is a truly inclusive school.
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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