Red Lane Primary School in Bolton, Lancashire achieves the Inclusive School Award with Centre of Excellence status.
Larger than average, Red Lane Primary School has 410 pupils on its roll from Reception to Y6 and a 52 full time equivalent place nursery from 2 to 4 years of age. Key Stage 2 (KS2) has its own building on a shared site separated from Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Early Years by the playground. Based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation, 89% of pupils live in areas which are in the 10% most deprived areas nationally and 63% are eligible to receive Free School Meals (FSM), which is much higher than the national average.
The school is mostly White British with approximately 12% of children from homes using English as an additional language (EAL). There are currently 17 children who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) whilst 26% are on the SEND Support register. Prime areas of need are predominantly Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and Moderate Learning Difficulty (MLD). The Chair of Governors emphasised the strategic vision of the school is to meet everyone’s needs and ensure that everyone is included.
The Core Values
The core values and achievements of Red Lane Primary School are proudly proclaimed around the school – on the playground, in the hall and along the corridors – using large red banners to portray children’s achievements.
‘Believe, Achieve, Succeed’ encapsulates the essence of the whole school community.
A Joyful Virtual Visit
There is a joyfulness which leaps out from the screen during my virtual visit. Staff cannot wait to share the children’s achievements; parents cannot thank the school enough and the children themselves are a proud testament to the whole school community. Following the daily life of the school via its social media presence, the rich opportunities and the inspirational curriculum come to life as children engage in fun and meaningful activities. Unexpected visitors appear in the reception classrooms leaving behind big footprints; the well-developed outdoor area provides engaging opportunities to investigate plants and insects whilst the whole staff team produce polished Christmas videos with dance routines. There is no doubt that this is one big family enjoying every school day.
The School’s Creative Journey
The school has been on a determined and creative journey to raise expectations and aspirations since the arrival of the current Executive Headteacher in January 2012. Opening up the school to external scrutiny and welcoming partnerships with parents and professional agencies, behaviour and achievement have improved dramatically. Beginning with a personal mission to ensure all newly recruited members of staff were fully supportive of the school ethos, the Executive Headteacher spoke of her amazement at how far the school has come. This nurturing and aspirational ethos has become embedded throughout the school community.
The Headteacher is an Asset
The current Head is regarded by the Executive Leadership as an asset to the school in continuing the drive to do everything possible to make things better. Ofsted noted in July 2019 that
‘Leaders have created a nurturing environment in which pupils thrive collectively and personally’.
Children Make Good Progress
From extremely low starting points, children make very good progress as they move through the school. Typically developing at 16 to 24 months on entering nursery, increasing numbers of children at Y6 are reaching national expectations for reading, writing and mathematics.
Every Child is Included
The school strives to engage every single child by providing effective interventions for learning together with a huge focus on the social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) needs in the community. Creating a safe and secure ‘Hub’ in the KS2 building has been so successful that this is being extended for younger children ready for next term. The introduction of Thrive throughout school is the next step in further embedding the focus on the holistic needs of each child. Far from simply enjoying what has been achieved, all staff are firmly committed to moving forward.
‘Everything is Worthwhile’
A longstanding staff member explained his commitment to the school, telling me
“The children are absolutely amazing. They want to learn and do better. And the enjoyment from working with the team around you – everything you do is worthwhile.”
Learning Commitments During the Lockdown
This commitment was extended over the Covid-19 lockdown. Staff ensured continuity of learning for all children by handing out tablets and SIM cards in addition to paper packs. Whilst few children attended school during the first lockdown, over half came during the second. The school invited any child to attend school they considered to be vulnerable as well as children who were struggling at home. Food hampers were delivered to children on FSM including fruit and pasta. This also allowed staff to check in with children from the doorstep and talk to parents.
There is a Very Supportive Community
Whilst well-regarded and offering a haven for many children and families, the immediate area presents many challenges. Several staff referred to the large fire in October 2018 which destroyed the entire Early Years’ building whilst smaller incidents of fires, stolen cables and smashed windows are regular occurrences. A security guard has now been appointed. Shocked but determined to move forwards, the Head reflected on the outpouring of support from the community at that time. She described how parents offered help to rebuild and donated items, even parents who had not previously engaged with the school.
Engaging with the Inclusive School Award
The Head explained that the school’s decision to engage with the Inclusion Quality Mark Inclusive School Award is to self-evaluate against national standards. Whilst aware of the great progress made in behaviour and achievement in school and receiving praise from external agencies including Educational Psychologists, the Inclusion Quality Mark’s Inclusive School Award provides both an objective assessment and a tool for further development.
Inclusion is Embedded at Every Level
It has been an absolute pleasure to spend time meeting the staff, children and school community of Red Lane Primary School and learn about the way they live out their values on a daily basis. The school represents the epitome of inclusive practice and clearly meets the standard required by the Inclusion Quality Mark’s Inclusive School Award. Building on several years of commitment to developing a welcoming and aspirational ethos, core values are now embedded at every level.
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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