Rotherhithe Primary School, Southwark achieves the Inclusive School Award with Flagship status for the second time.
Passionate about Inclusive Education
The team at Rotherhithe are passionate about inclusive education and are committed to meeting the needs of all the children in their care. Parents described the:
“nurturing and holistic”
approach that members of the team have towards all pupils and:
“A feeling of cohesion across the school.”
All parents noted that the school focused on meeting the needs of all pupils from early identification of need in the Nursery to ensuring that each pupil is challenged in their learning in the classroom. They described the reluctance that their children have as they reach the transition to secondary as they:
“Never want to leave.”
Parents and staff discussed the early intervention structures that are in place to support all learners in accessing the provision effectively. Over time the school has improved outcomes for pupils in reading writing and maths. In 2019, pupils made particularly good progress in writing.
The School Focuses on Developing the Whole Child
Parents considered that the school focuses on developing the whole child. They reflected on the breadth of the curriculum the school has developed that enables all children to flourish from the themed termly learning, the mindfulness sessions to the opportunity to take part in the Daily Mile if they would like to. Leaders have recognised the importance and value of sport, music and the development of creative skills, investing in Sports Coaches and Music teachers. Regular curriculum weeks promote the development of Creative skills. Displays around the school celebrated the variety of learning that children are engaged in. In each classroom the school values were displayed – Ambition, Creativity, Courage, Empathy, Resilience and Respect. In some classrooms the work on Growth Mindset was particularly evident and clear to the pupils in Key Stage 2. In the Early Years the characteristics of Early Learning were reflected through the use and display of Mr Men characters. A suggested area for further development, would be to see that good practice shared across the school and a consistent language of learning developed for all pupils.
Sense of Being a Family
Parents spoke enthusiastically about the information that the school shares with them from the informative workshops to the weekly Newsletter. They particularly valued the staff at the gate in the morning from Senior Leaders to the Learning Mentors. During my visit and from discussion with different members of the school community, each group echoed the views of the parents particularly the sense of being a family. As pupils commented that:
“The school is almost like a second home.”
“If I don’t feel that happy, I know I can rely on teachers and friends and can tell them how I am feeling.”
The use of Christian names for the staff contributes to that feeling of being part of a family.
Focused on School Improvement
Leaders are focused on school improvement. They have recently updated the School Development Plan to a new format that enables regular self-evaluation of progress towards the key priorities. There is evidence of a long-term vision for the school based on the school’s aims of developing:
• A Passion for learning and highly motivated learners.
• Values that help learners to prepare for an exciting yet unknown future.
• Empowering families by working in partnership with them.
Systems have been established to enable the development of a distributive leadership approach that promotes the inclusion of the whole staff team in reviewing the progress of the school. The challenges of the new build that was planned to start earlier in the academic year has been embraced by the team with the adaption of learning spaces that still offer engaging learning environments. This was particularly evident in the Early Years area where both internal and external spaces had been adapted to maintain the opportunity for free flow play. Parents were also extremely positive about the effective communication with regard to the new build and the Leadership’s team response to concerns regarding the pollution of the project.
Opportunities to Develop Leadership Skills
Pupils have a range of opportunities to develop leadership skills through a number of roles within the school. During my visit I was able to meet School Councillors, Peer Mediators and Play Leaders. Pupils were enthusiastic regarding their roles and the training that they had received in order to undertake their jobs in school. The Peer mediators talked about the training they had had with the learning mentors over a half term to be able to “make sure the playground is going well, people are having fun, no problems.” They recognised that any physical issues should be referred to the teachers and that “friendship problems are easier to solve.” Play Leader training is off site at a local secondary school. The play leader was very enthusiastic about having a training day off site with other pupils. The importance of the role in retaining fairness in games and supporting a new person in settling into school was very evident. The school has also clearly established democratic systems to vote both School Councillors and the Chair of the School Council into position from nomination speeches to secret ballot boxes. Pupils clearly valued the opportunity to take part in the range of roles and contributes to their development of the school values as well as British Values.
Rotherhithe is a school where leaders and staff understands the importance of all children being able to access learning in an inclusive environment. The team work hard to provide a safe caring environment that engages pupils and enables them to make progress in their learning. The school offers children the opportunity to visit a range of places and build on their skills and knowledge as they move through the school. Leaders have thought carefully about the intent of their curriculum and the context of their school in developing and implementing the inclusive learning approach.
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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