St Joachim’s RC Primary School in Newham has achieved the Inclusive School Award for the second time.
Finding Ways to “Make it Possible”
St Joachim’s RC Primary School is a Catholic primary school in the London Borough of Newham. It is part of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy Trust. There are 271 children currently on roll. It is a growing school with two classes in Reception and KS1 and one class in each of the KS2 classes. There has been a recent addition to the 1960’s building enabling it to increase its capacity. The Headteacher has formed a strong team and his vision of running an inclusive school is a reality. The school is well equipped and provides for all of the needs of its diverse population. There are plenty of computers for those who need them. They try to address the needs of all children focusing on them as individuals rather than in groups. If children have difficulties accessing the curriculum the attitude of staff is positive, finding ways to ‘make it possible’.
Checking Children’s Progress Regularly
Target Tracker and Fischer Family Trust are used to identify the gaps and NFER and Rising Stars are used to assess the children’s’ progress. There are regular reviews of vulnerable children every term to ensure that the systems are working and the children are making expected progress.
Safeguarding is a Priority
Leadership meetings are held every week and each one starts with any safeguarding issues. The children’s work is regularly scrutinised, lessons are observed and the planning is monitored to ensure the work is differentiated for their different needs. The majority of interventions take place in the classroom, for example, First Class Number, Box Clever and Colourful Semantics but some do take place in the Inclusion Room depending on the need.
A Bespoke Service to Each Child
The staff find the children’s strengths and areas that they need to work on, they aim to offer a bespoke service to each child. These targets are inside their personal folder and those with IEPs go home. Children understand the steps to success marking system. They are set challenges and enjoy their lessons. The Leadership Team encourage a variety of teaching styles and the staff are trusted to use what they feel works best. The children enjoy the variety of opportunities they receive here. They have a chance to raise money for those less fortunate than themselves in the Mini Vinnies Fundraising Club and they work with the homeless. Although this is a Catholic school their RE syllabus teaches them about the other main world religions. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic they go to the Gurdwara, the synagogue and the mosque as well as their local church. Some are Science Ambassadors and some are members of the School Council. Some run a tuck shop selling fruit, water and croissants. They know who they would speak to in confidence if they needed, there are also worry boxes around the school. They like the reward systems and they know their targets.
A Passion for Going the Extra Mile
The staff are very supportive of each other and always seeking ways to improve. Prior to the pandemic, they observe each other, always with a purpose. There is a thorough induction process for new staff. NQTs have the opportunity to observe good practice. The Deputy Head is their mentor who has ‘a good listening ear’. The staff have the opportunity to observe teachers across the Trust. The TAs are considered an integral part of the school with a wide variety of experiences and skills. They are trained to deliver most of the interventions. Many of the teachers were TAs in the past. The school trains them to become teachers as the school is part of the Partnership London SCITT. Staff have lots of opportunities to go on courses to further their CPD. They feel listened to and are well supported by the Leadership Team. They enjoy the community ethos here and love being in this close-knit school. They said,
“There is something special here.”
There is a feeling of family and they share a passion for going the extra mile.
Forming Good Relationships
The Learning Mentor has only been in post for two months but is already forming good relationships with the parents and children. She plans to run parent workshops and coffee mornings. She, along with other staff, welcome children at the gate and meet the parents. She runs homework sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays for targeted pupils from Year 4 to 5.
Staff Always Available to Parents
The parents feel reassured by the support they receive from the staff, they are pleased to have the opportunity to speak to staff who always make themselves available. Parents of vulnerable children said that they do not worry about their children whilst they are in school as they are confident that the experienced staff know what they are doing. These parents have regular meetings with the SENCO and feel they are part of the team. They appreciate the interventions that their children receive, especially the Art Therapy. One parent said that they have helped her as much as her child. Parents feel that the homework that their children receive is appropriate and welcomed the additional materials that they received during the lockdown. Their concerns about transition into secondary schools were addressed. They miss the trips to listen to the choir sing in Trafalgar Square and other visits but they feel they have lots of opportunities to get involved in school life if they have the time. They feel part of this community and they are proud that their children have collected food which was delivered to vulnerable families.
Governors are proud that this is an inclusive school and fully support the Headteacher, they welcome all learners no matter what barriers they may have. They are confident that the staff will do their best for every pupil. The Chair, who is a Deputy Head in a local secondary school, is straight talking and is a problem solver. The Governors receive training from the Local Authority and the Diocese. They are rigorous with their questions to the Headteacher at meetings and they are experienced at interpreting the data that is provided by members of the SLT. They miss not being able to come in to have lunch with the children and go on learning walks with Curriculum Leaders. The school works closely with many external agencies to ensure that all of the children’s needs are effectively addressed. Newham offer many services that the school taps into, including their Conflict Service, Family Counselling Service and their Dyslexia Service.
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.
Want more information on the IQM Award? Click here to request your free IQM information pack.