Samuel Whitbread Academy in Clifton, Bedfordshire has achieved the Inclusive School Award for the second time.
The Academy’s Core Values
Samuel Whitbread Academy is a very friendly and welcoming academy with relationships and the core values of equality, teamwork, determination, integrity, empathy, ingenuity and respect at the heart of its approach to inclusive truly comprehensive education. Everyone is encouraged to live the Vision Statement:
“to be the BEST that we can be” and there is an emphasis on “opportunity,” “excellence” and “achievement” for all.
Academy Leaders strive to achieve a learning community that reflects this.
Learning is Tailored
The Academy’s approach to inclusive education is design-focused, in addition to being appropriately resourced. There is an extensive range of provisions available and the attitude to support is clearly needs-led. Learning is tailored to individual needs and is personalised. The outcome of this is a student-centred approach throughout. Staff are encouraged to use a wide variety of resources in lessons and Quality First Teaching is understood as the important first step to developing inclusive provision for all. The academy works closely with research groups for example Cambridge University, NASEN, CUREE and staff are very keen to undertake skills-based training to further their own development and for the benefit of the school community as a whole. The Academy also hosts the central Bedfordshire ASD unit. Running the local authority’s ASD provision on site and having a well-established SEN provision has helped create a culture of inclusion in the academy.
Success is Celebrated
There is a celebration event at the beginning of each academic year. Success is also celebrated throughout the academy with large photographs of students enjoying and participating in a wide range of extra-curricular clubs and activities. Sporting achievements for both individuals and teams are a clear source of pride in the academy. There are displays of student work and subject-based information throughout the academy. Students of all abilities and ages have opportunities to take part in a range of activities including extra-curricular clubs and enrichment activities. This reflects a diverse range of learners’ contributions and reflects a culture of high expectations and aspirations for all.
A Clear Communication Policy Exists
The reception area is welcoming and there is a strong staff presence to meet and greet students at the start of the day. A clear communication policy exists and there is very effective communication with parents and carers via Edulink, a communication app and email tool, as well as social media, a regular newsletter and a comprehensive website. Throughout the pandemic, staff were praised by parents for the quality of communications with them meaning that students were able to learn positively at home during this time.
The Academy is Popular
Each year over 500 applications are received for 400 places, with waiting lists in all year groups. The popularity of the academy within the community has steadily grown over the last five years. Plans are in place to become a secondary school in 2023 in order to have students for the full five years of their educational journey. This will allow for full control over the curriculum intent and implementation for the whole of KS3 and KS4, which will enable the academy to further increase attainment at KS4 and raise progress above national expectations.
Staff and Students are Happy
Staff generally say they feel supported, their professional development needs are met and they feel confident in their roles. Academy leaders place a strong emphasis on wellbeing for all which is appreciated by staff. Students say they like the academy and the extra-curricular activities that are on offer. They feel accepted and believe that the academy genuinely tries hard to help and meet their needs. They say that they get a helpful level of support and that the facilities and resources are good. They are proud of their academy and their own achievements.
One member of staff stated:
“the Principal, Governors and the Trust all share the same vision and high aspirations for the academy…. pupils are polite, pleasant and respectful towards staff and each other.”
The Academy has an Exciting Inclusion Journey
The work of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion group which consists of staff, students, parents and governors is exemplary. Students have recently voted to change the names of their five houses to represent a more diverse range of inspirational leaders that they feel more closely represent and reflect their experience, the five-house system now includes Michelle Obama, Captain Tom Moore, Marcus Rashford, Ben Whishaw and Tim Sims. There is a recognition that there will always be work to do in relation to inclusion as it is clearly understood by the academy leadership that inclusion is a journey, not a destination. This means that the academy is an exciting and innovative place to be and enthusiasm for the initiatives that are undertaken is palpable. It will be exciting to see the academy’s progress going forward.
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: email@example.com for further details.
Want more information on the IQM Award? Click here to request your free IQM information pack