St Margaret’s Primary Academy has achieved the Inclusive School Award with Centre of Excellence status.
Inclusive Aspirations for the Chidren
St Margaret’s Primary Academy School is a large primary school with 411 pupils on roll. The number of Pupil Premium (PP) pupils is above the national average at 54% of all pupils. Within the school there are 81 pupils on the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) register and 32 pupils on the English as an Additional Language (EAL) register.
Lowestoft is one of the top 10% most deprived places in the county with the mobility of pupils over time often turbulent. Since September 2023, the school has had 31 pupils leave the school and 26 in-year admissions. Attainment on entry to the school is below the national average with speaking, listening and communication being an area of need for a large percentage of pupils. Early intervention is a focus within the school to ensure that all pupils have the best start possible within their education.
The leadership of the Headteacher and the senior leaders in ensuring that all staff have similar inclusive aspirations for the children is one of the many strengths of the school. The school is an excellent example of inclusive practice.
Inclusion permeates all aspects of the school’s work and there are good links with the Governors and community to offer support for families. The Headteacher works effectively with her leadership team, the Governing Body and the REACH2 Academy Trust to ensure that all staff have similar aspirations for children at the school. The Headteacher demonstrates strong, caring leadership, is open to challenge and has the ability to recognise and implement the suggestions of other members of staff.
‘Unlocking Potential, Transforming Lives’
The school’s Statement of Intent is ‘Unlocking Potential, Transforming Lives’ and this is reinforced around the school with reminders at every turn stating ‘How can we unlock a child’s potential today?’ This statement applies to ALL members of the school community. For the children, this may be removing barriers to ensure they approach their secondary education, equipped socially, emotionally and academically; for others it may be unlocking a hidden music skill which shapes their future. For the staff, this may be providing opportunities to help them progress professionally. For the parents, this may be removing barriers to help them access adult education. For the wider community, this may be helping them to attend a school social event to prevent loneliness and encourage volunteering at future events.
The school actively promotes its core values of being a St Margaret’s Learner through all aspects of the school day. There are “no excuses” made for underperformance. The staff look at the individual needs of each child, identifying their barriers to learning. They work with other agencies to support learning and provide extensive support for parents when it is needed.
The Pastoral Team provides excellent support for parents and families in times of crisis and demonstrates a commitment and focus on ensuring the school caters for the needs of every child. Children’s needs are addressed with targeted interventions and the school works hard to recognise and build on children’s strengths to boost their confidence. Everyone ‘goes the extra mile’ to ensure individual needs are met and all pupils can progress through the school.
They also have worked hard to ensure a safe school environment by maintaining positive relationships. The school provides a stimulating, well-thought through, creative curriculum delivered in a supportive learning environment where all pupils are encouraged and enabled to achieve their best. Pupils have made good progress over the last 3 years from low starting points and all staff in the school are committed to ensuring individual progress continues to reflect the hard work that has gone into enhancing the curriculum provision and the improvements in the core subjects.
The Ofsted inspection in November 2021 confirmed this commitment: ‘Leaders have focused relentlessly on improving the quality of provision for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The new Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) has tackled the backlog of outstanding assessments and reviews, ensuring that appropriate provision is in place. Pupils’ individual support plans are precise with helpful strategies for teachers to follow. Adults carefully consider different ways to support pupils with SEND so they can learn well. Pupils with SEND are accessing the curriculum very well alongside their peers.’
Excellent Work is Carried Out With Families
Excellent work is carried out with families, pupils and the community generally to ensure that children are cared for and valued. The SENCo plays an important part in ensuring every effort is made to cater for the needs of every child and goes out of her way to ensure all agencies, teachers and support staff have the child’s needs uppermost in their minds. Parents were supportive of all the efforts the school makes to help their children and to communicate with families. Appraisal targets for all staff over the past year have continued to move the school forward and to support staff in providing the best possible opportunities for the children at the school.
Good performance management systems have been effective in focussing teachers and non-teaching staff on pupil progress and the individual needs of the staff themselves. There are common themes related to the School Development Plan (SDP) and personal development opportunities which relate to whole school improvement. The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) is committed to raising standards and providing staff and pupils with the best possible environment and opportunities. There is a strong programme of professional development for all staff informed by research and provided by the school, the Trust and external providers.
The Governors are experienced and their understanding of the key issues relating to school improvement also impact on outcomes for children. Governors are positive and proud of the progress made by the school and the improvements in progress at the end of each key stage which has been a result of the high expectations of all staff. There is a close monitoring of data and learning and teaching which has had an impact on raising standards throughout the school. The triangulation of lesson observations, data and pupil work provides evidence that pupils receive an education that prepares them well for the next phase.
Children Feel They Have a Voice
Children are often involved in the decision-making process when matters relating to their school environment and learning are concerned. They feel that they have ‘a voice’ and that they are heard when matters relating to school improvement are brought to the attention of the staff. The atmosphere in classes and in shared areas is calm with children reflecting and valuing the care and attention which all staff show for them.
Displays around the school demonstrate the diversity within the school. The outdoor environment for each key stage is practical and offers creative and physical opportunities for all children. The Forest School area is an excellent facility and is well developed offering children an outstanding opportunity to experience an outdoor environment where there is interest, relevance, excitement and challenge.
Children develop their independence but understand the safety aspects, the need for common sense and the need to collaborate. The involvement of parents in the Forest School’s approach is also to be developed with the view to encourage parents to use this approach at weekends and during holidays to experience with their children the many advantages of taking their children into the countryside.
The high quality work carried out with children raises their expectation and lets them see beyond their present home circumstances. Relationships between staff are excellent and pupils feel cared for and supported in their learning with teachers and non-teaching staff understanding their pupils’ needs. Office staff, the cook and the caretaker have an important role to play in the school and their work with children and parents is an important aspect of life in school. Children enjoy their time in school and consequently attendance is improving with the school’s Attendance Officer providing an excellent system of monitoring and accountability. Ofsted reflected this improvement in the following statement: ‘The new leadership team has driven forward significant change in a short period of time. The improvements are many. Suspensions have substantially reduced. Disadvantaged pupils attend school well. Pupils who had poor attendance in the past now attend school regularly.’
There is a provision of a wide range of extra-curricular activities which enhance the curriculum and a programme of enrichment, including the first-hand experiences to local places of interest and areas further afield which expand children’s view of the world and also offer ‘fun’ and enjoyment.
The Self Evaluation Report reflects the high quality of evaluation that exists in the school. It is comprehensive and reflects the school as seen by the Assessor. St Margaret’s Primary Academy School is an example of a school committed to meet the needs of its children and is outstanding in its commitment to and implementation of inclusive practice. It is an outstanding, caring environment for pupils where high expectations have a huge impact on progress, attitudes, behaviour and wellbeing.
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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