Samuel Whitbread Academy, in Bedfordshire has been assessed recently and has achieved the IQM Inclusive School Award.
Samuel Whitbread Academy is a large 13-18 comprehensive school within Bedfordshire. The school is part of the Bedfordshire Schools’ Trust (BEST) and there are currently 1650 students on roll, including a Sixth Form of 420 students. The school was judged as ‘Good’ in the 2017 Ofsted inspection.
The school sits within the village of Clifton with a large catchment area which draws from semi-rural locations around Shefford in Bedfordshire. There are 34 students with EHCPs and a total of 104 students on the SEN register for the school. 11% of students receive free school meals and 5% of students are Services children. The SENCo has identified a further 145 students with a learning difficulty or disability who are making good progress and are not in receipt of additional support as quality first teaching is effective for those students. The challenge going forward is to ensure that those 104 students on the SEN register make equally good progress.
Extensive Range of Provision
The school has an extensive range of provision available and the approach to support is clearly needs-led. The school hosts the central Bedfordshire ASD unit with space for 6 students. Currently, the unit has a roll of 13 students, all boys, who are supported through the unit and in mainstream lessons by a dedicated team.
Throughout the school, interventions are targeted to meet the needs of the students and the staff know their students extremely well. The school identifies and supports vulnerable students effectively. There are currently 4 CLA, 3 students on a CP plan, 8 students with CIN plans and 13 students open to TAC/EHA assessments. In addition, the school has identified 70 vulnerable students who are closely monitored and for whom the school seeks specialist support and services as required.
Attendance is currently 95% with 10.3% PAs (127 students).
Students were Positive
I met with several groups of students, including the student leadership team and they all feel safe at the school. Throughout the 2 days of assessment the students I met with and observed were positive about their teachers and the level of support they receive.
SEN Students Articulate and Enthusiastic
The students I met within the SEN provisions were particularly articulate and enthusiastic about the support they receive from the learning support team. They were also clear that they want to decrease their level of dependency on LSA support as teachers differentiate the work more clearly for them. One student said, ‘I don’t want the teachers to pity me, I want them to recognise that I just need them to go slower for me and give me time to understand what I need to do’.
The students in the ASD unit each have a personalised timetable of sessions in the unit and mainstream lessons. They too were positive and appreciative of the support and guidance they receive. The ASD unit is an excellent resource for the school and this can be developed still further as part of the ongoing development of inclusion, inclusive practice and the school’s focus on improving the consistency of quality first teaching.
Closing Progress Gaps
Results in 2017 saw 71% of students achieving grade 9-4 in English and Maths, an 18% improvement over two years. For students identified as SEND this was 63%. At Key Stage 5 progress at A2 ALPS and three-year T scores were 4, AS is a 3 and BTEC is a 2. A key priority for the school is to continue to close the progress gaps for students with SEND or who are disadvantaged.
Many Sporting Successes
PE and the performing arts are strong, and the school has achieved many national team and individual successes in sports, clearly celebrated with photographic displays around the school.
Activities Open to All Students
Students of all abilities and ages have opportunities to take part in a range of activities including extra-curricular clubs and enrichment activities. Breakfast is available for students and is free for students in receipt of pupil premium. Student work is well displayed in most areas of the school although the display of the ‘BIG 6’, learning and study skills and available support/self-referral is less consistent.
Sources of Evidence
Over the course of the two days of the assessment I undertook several learning walks, lesson observations, visited an assembly, the ASD provision, met with students including the student leadership team, senior staff and members of the wider inclusion team. I did not meet with any parents and the planned meeting with the Governor did not take place.
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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