Perrymount Primary School in Lewisham has become an IQM Centre of Excellence.
A Very Inclusive Establishment
Perrymount Primary School is a very inclusive establishment which clearly demonstrates the values they hold dearly: “We aim to create a safe, welcoming and caring environment, where all are respectful and work together as a community, for the children their families and the staff. We teach all to value different communities and religions and to respect and understand people’s lifestyles and background.”
Perrymount Primary School is a single-form entry, mainstream primary school with 210 pupils on roll including a 16 place part-time Nursery. The school is situated in a residential area of South-East London close to the South Circular with a mixture of owner-occupier and rented accommodation, including local authority housing, in the neighbouring roads. Most families live in the immediate vicinity of the school. 26 different languages other than English are spoken across the school. Currently, 63 pupils, 30% of the current roll, have English as an additional language. The number of pupils eligible for free school meals is currently 24.29%. 17 pupils (8%) have Education Health Care Plans. 31 pupils (14.7%) are currently on SEN Support.
Exciting and Stimulating
The Headteacher and her SLT make the most of the ‘flat-level’ building and its grounds to accept the diversity of needs of pupils and create an exciting and stimulating environment for all its learners in order to ensure that all children are welcomed to Perrymount. Staff work hard to know the children and are proud to say that they care for all the children at Perrymount. They have designed a great curriculum and are working hard to make the community the heartbeat of the school but also ensuring that the school remains the heartbeat of the local community.
Well Embedded Values
Throughout the assessment there was clear evidence of some excellent inclusive practice, driven by the Ms Keen, the IQM co-ordinator and all staff within the school. The inclusion agenda and the Equalities Act framework of 2010 are wholeheartedly supported through an ethos of well embedded values and there are good structures and systems in place to ensure an open dialogue with all stakeholders to continue to improve the experiences for all pupils.
Welcoming and Friendly
There was a welcoming and friendly approach from all staff, pupils, parents, and all members of the school community throughout my very enjoyable one day visit. My observations and involvement with pupils throughout the assessment clearly demonstrated that they are ambassadors for the school. Their exemplary manners, behaviour and comments reflected their pride in belonging to Perrymount Primary School. Throughout the assessment everyone spoke with conviction and a unity of purpose as to the inclusive nature of the school, thereby substantiating the school’s impressive SER and supporting documentation, which was considered as part of the assessment. The teamwork and spirit shown by the Inclusion team really captured the assessors’ imagination from the get-go. So many stakeholders spoke with great passion and affection for the school and were ready to deliver and improve the learning opportunities available to the children at Perrymount.
Very Good Behaviour
Pupils’ behaviour in and around the school was very good. This is because there are comprehensive and consistently applied positive behaviour systems in place which reward tolerance, kindness, friendliness and a willingness to ‘have a try’. Pupils know that bullying and behaviours such as the use of hurtful language are wrong and have shown the impact it can have on others’ feelings and achievement. One of the successful motivational strategies in place is based on the omnipresence of the school’s message for, ’Growing Together, Learning Forever.’ This togetherness and collegiality ensure that inclusion at Perrymount isn’t just something that the school does, it is something that they breathe.
The Importance of Well-Being
The well-being of all stakeholders is of great importance in Perrymount. Senior leaders have created a school with an open-minded, accepting and inclusive atmosphere. Everyone is well cared for and well supported in their respective roles, both professionally and at a personal level. In fact, most people with whom I spoke commented on the positive ethos within the school and numerous comments were made about the growing warmth and friendly atmosphere, happy people and the fun experience in all aspects of school life.
Staff Know Their Local Community
Another key to this success is the staff’s detailed knowledge of the needs of its community and their ever-changing social demographics. Staff consult parents and carers fully and they take steps to ensure the pupils are able to thrive and achieve as well as they can. This involves a high level of tolerance, empathy and support.
Communication with Families is Strong
Communication with families is strong, frequent and effective. The school ensures that all its communications convey respect and value to all types of family. All stakeholders have a sense of belonging to the school and inclusion is well embraced so that each pupil is valued for their individuality and can develop their enquiring minds and spirit of curiosity through participating in a range of challenging, fulfilling and happy educational experiences in order to reach their full potential.
Sources of Evidence
The assessment, which was effectively organised by the Inclusion Manager included a series of formal and informal meetings with the Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, teachers, teaching assistants, Speech and Language therapist, lunchtime supervisors, Governors, parents and pupils. There was also an opportunity for a tour of the school, involvement in a number of school experiences and an examination of a number of key school documents.
High Quality Teaching and Learning
Key to the school’s success in promoting high quality teaching and learning is through their MITA (Maximising Impact of Teaching Assistants) approach. This assessor was blown away by the professionalism, aptitude and resourcefulness of the Teaching Assistants in Perrymount. Whilst dropping in on classroom lessons, on no less than three occasions, I needed to seek out clarity on which facilitating adult was the teacher and which was the assistant due to the high levels of dual instruction involved.
Whole Staff Commitment
It is clear that at Perrymount the success of the school is linked to a high-performing Headteacher and SLT. However, they do not work in isolation. The involvement and commitment of the whole staff are further reasons for the school’s success. All staff, including lunchtime organisers and teaching assistants, have received information and bespoke training as part of a CPD prioritisation set out by the Head. The training received combined with clear commitment from all adults ensures a consistency of approach and means that whichever adults are in school on a given day, the message of openness and tolerance is the same.
In summary, Perrymount Primary School is an excellent example of inclusive practice, energy and aspiration for all members of the school community. The Headteacher leads inclusion with the courageous and forward thinking belief that complacency or lack of funding can never influence the integrity of purpose in striving for continuous improvement for the learning community within Perrymount Primary School. After time spent in Perrymount this assessor has adopted the position that the closely held belief systems of the Head and SENCO have had a lasting influence on how inclusive this school is. In other words; the way that inclusion, disability, SEN/EAL is thought about and planned for in this institution has had a significant impact upon the practice and visible consistency witnessed.
Vibrant and Significant Pupil Voice
Joy and celebration are important for all pupils and the voice of every pupil in this school is vibrant and significant. Children from all cultures, backgrounds and faiths are represented in displays. This is a school that clearly evidences focus, energy and enthusiasm in its commitment to the growing reality of inclusion for all. I found Perrymount to be an educationally inclusive school. A place where the teaching and learning, achievements, attitudes and well-being of every young person matters.
Expertise in the Governing Body
There is a wide range of expertise on the Governing Body. They are well led and their commitment to the inclusive ethos is evident in discussions. They attend the school regularly and have a consistent monitoring timetable related to the school improvement plan. The infectious child-centred and ‘can-do’ enthusiasm of one Governor in particular rubbed off on me and it was a joy to meet with such great people.
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)
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