St Michael’s CEP School in Bolton has been assessed and approved as a Centre of Excellence for Inclusion.
St Michael’s CE Primary School is a larger than average sized primary school (currently 414 on roll with 76 part time nursery places) with provision for children aged from 2-11. The school places itself at the heart of the community with a deep-rooted desire to serve the children and their families. There are currently 28 languages within school and staff are well equipped to remove any potential barriers to learning, having a range of over 11 different spoken languages between them. The proportion of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs is below average yet the school has had many external validations that recognise its strong inclusive practice. The school was inspected by Ofsted in 2015 who acknowledged the stimulating provision both indoors and outdoors. More recently in the school’s National Society Inspection, the relationships amongst all members of the school community was deemed outstanding. Children are confident and courteous, a growing strength of the school since its last IQM assessment. Inclusion certainly is at the heart of daily life.
The Learning Environment
The school has expanded significantly from its last IQM assessment in 2013, including developing expertise with a rich and diverse staff. An extension to the building was completed in July 2014; adding a media suite, community room, stage unit and further outdoor facilities. There is a sense of continual improvement and a desire to provide more opportunities for the community in which the school serves. In the words of the children, St Michael’s CE is a place where
‘children help each other by sharing and being friends altogether’.
The staff are united in the passion they have for their school, and proudly describe all they have achieved together for the benefit of all types of learners. The diversity of faiths, backgrounds and languages are embraced within the school community, supported by a strong Christian character
A Warm Welcome
The school site is very large but with a warm welcome that is sincere and genuine as I experienced first-hand throughout my visit. I was invited to access all parts of the school including:-
• Specialist classrooms for intervention (Learning Mentors’ room).
• All key stage teaching areas including the nursery.
• The community room.
• Media Suite.
Outside spaces included: Both key stage playground areas, woodland areas, adventure trail, plus a wide range of outside teaching areas.
A Proactive School Council
The school makes excellent use of the extensive grounds and is constantly looking to add to the amazing variety of resources. The school council are pro-active in seeking bids that can support new developments and are about to surprise children in key stage 1 with a brand-new tyre park and key stage 2 den building equipment.
Rigorous Self Assessment
The IQM Self Evaluation Report (SER) submitted by the school is extremely comprehensive and gives an accurate description of the truly inclusive ethos evident throughout the school. Progress since the first assessment is evident and the school is whole-heartedly committed to continuing its journey being outward facing and supporting the community at every level; locally, nationally and internationally. Through its own rigorous self-assessment and development planning, the school is aware of areas to develop. The evidence presented to me indicates that significant progress has already been made and will continue to be.
A School Committed to Inclusion
The school has a passionate Head Teacher, Mrs Hart, who is committed to inclusion at every level. At the heart of any school decision is her desire to serve the community and ensure the school is there for the children and their families. There is a strong network of staff and support staff, led by a fully committed and dynamic Senior Leadership Team. Leadership is demonstrated at every level and an open-door policy is in place that parents value and respect. The team approach fully involves all stakeholders and ensures a solid foundation for lifelong learning. Indeed, everyone at St Michael’s shares the same vision; inclusion is not something you do but something you breathe, and here at St Michael’s, that is certainly the case!
The evidence presented to me during my two day visit to the school and information contained within the Self Evaluation Report clearly demonstrates the outstanding practice in place within the school and the on-going commitment to Inclusion. The school is looking at continuing its journey through applying for Centre of Excellence Status and has set some challenging targets, I am confident that it has the capacity to sustain and develop inclusive practice.
A Pleasure and a Privilege to Visit
It was both a pleasure and a privilege to visit St Michael’s CE Primary. I would like to thank the pupils, staff, governors and parents who gave their time to speak to me and especially the Inclusion team in the school who arranged the assessment visit. Their careful preparation made the whole day progress efficiently and smoothly.
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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