St Winifred’s Catholic Primary School in Lewisham has become a Centre of Excellence.
Context of the School
St Winifred’s is an almost 2-form entry primary school, serving a diverse population in the London Borough of Lewisham. The catchment area is one that includes a wide social and cultural mix with 13% of pupils eligible for pupil premium. The 401 pupils on roll are from a variety of backgrounds, including Irish, Black Africana and Black Caribbean with children speaking a range of different languages, including Polish, Vietnamese and Spanish. The number of children with SEND, at around 20%, is above average and there are currently 4 children with EHCPs, mainly with social and communication difficulties. The school is currently undergoing an extensive building programme to incorporate the whole primary school on one site and enabling the school to fully expand to two forms of entry.
A Warm Friendly Atmosphere
The school is very welcoming with a warm, friendly atmosphere that is evident from arrival at reception. The environment, both outside in the playground and inside the school is bright and very positive with beautiful displays, including lovely artwork and samples of pupils’ work in the corridors and classrooms. The head teacher and SLT, set the tone for the supportive, caring, inclusive framework with high expectations of all.
Excellent Teaching and Learning Strategies
The Inclusion Manager, who is an assistant head teacher, oversees all aspects of inclusion and ensures that all pupils’ needs are catered for. As a result of the combination of excellent teaching and learning strategies and support for children where needed, the outcomes at the end of all key stages are at or above national expectations. The Headteacher and senior team have an open-door policy, they listen to their staff, parents and pupils, with the result that everyone works hard as a team to achieve the best possible outcomes for children. The inclusion of children with SEND is carefully addressed with pupils’ individual needs at the forefront and an inclusion team, led by the Inclusion Manager and including the Deputy Headteacher and two HLTAs, who lead on interventions and work together to ensure excellent support is in place for all children who need it.
Staff Work Well Together
Teaching and support staff work well together; teachers spend a lot of time planning thoroughly in year teams while also adapting plans to meet their pupils’ individual needs. They also ensure that marking provides useful feedback and helps pupils to move forward in their learning. Teachers are given autonomy to try out different groupings and strategies to meet their children’s needs.
Fully Committed Staff
Teaching and support staff are positive and energetic and are fully committed to the pupils and to the school. They speak very highly of inclusive practices in the school and are enthusiastic about the topic-based curriculum, which is exciting and motivating for children. They share the common, inclusive vision and they feel they have excellent support and resources to enable them to do their work. Staff are encouraged and enabled to develop their skills through a range of CPD opportunities and regular staff meetings have a strong focus on teaching and learning. Lessons are planned in detail, ensuring they are interesting and challenging for everyone and there are many imaginative and exciting activities planned for pupils. Lessons visited included excellent interaction between teachers and pupils, children working in groups with TAs and other adults including student teachers, work experience students and volunteers with LSAs ensuring that children with SEND are integrated into the classroom learning. Examples of the rich curricular and extra-curricular opportunities include a wide range of sporting opportunities with 82% of children participating in extra-curricular sports.
Enhanced Learning Opportunities
There are drama lessons for all classes every week led by one of the school’s HLTAs who is a drama specialist. There are also music lessons with a variety of instruments being learned by pupils. There are also regular curricular related trips for all pupils and school journeys for children from year 2 onwards. The school offers a wide range of after school clubs, including many sports, chess, music, art, cheer leading, languages and cooking.
Pupils Speak Highly of Their School
Pupils are very happy, polite, friendly and enthusiastic and behave very well around the school, in their lessons and in the playground. They speak very highly of their school and its staff, for whom they have great respect and they know that they are listened to and cared for. Pupils enjoy learning and they explain how the teachers encourage them and make learning fun. There are also opportunities for pupils to participate in a variety of events both in school and outside the school and they appreciate that their talents are encouraged.
Roles of Responsibility
A special annual newsletter, highlights pupils’ achievements during the year and is a celebration of all talents and skills. There are opportunities for pupils to take on roles of responsibility in the school including the school council, the eco team and various buddy roles. Year 6 pupils take a lot of responsibility for younger children and, for example, they lead the whole school inclusive sports’ day, ensuring that children are in mixed teams and that everyone has a fair chance to participate. Comments made by pupils include, “I like this school because people are friendly with each other. They play with you and you can make friends easily”, “The school has lots of people you can make friends with. There are lots of kind people and we’re very good at sports”, “I’ve been here for 4 years and now it’s even better with all the pupils from infants to make it an even happier place”, “Teachers are really good at explaining and, if you don’t understand, they explain until you get it”, “You can go on trips and make friends. It’s going to be a bigger school and a very happy place”, “I came in year 5 with no English. I thought no one would talk to me, but lots of people talked to me, even though I didn’t understand”, “I like the homework they give you on Thursdays, for example, the maths work”.
Interventions Tailored to Individual Needs
Progress is monitored every half term and individual targets are set for all pupils. A thorough tracking system ensures that pupils who are not progressing are targeted for interventions where needed. Pupil progress meetings ensure that action is taken to support any pupils who are underachieving. As a result, interventions are tailored to individual needs and are monitored very carefully by the inclusion team and adjusted as appropriate. There are rewards for pupils to celebrate their many achievements, including merit assemblies and the golden book, which they are very proud and pleased to achieve.
Positive Relationships with Parents
The school has fostered very positive relationships with parents and it finds many ways to communicate with them and to involve them in the life of the school. Parents speak very highly of the school and its staff. The ‘Friends of St Winifred’s” is very active and organises a lot of events to support the school, including school discos, a summer fair, coffee mornings and barbeques. Parents spoken to, including one whose child has additional needs, explained the thorough, caring and effective approach that the school takes towards meeting individual children’s needs. The school listens to its parents and holds a number of workshops and evening sessions to support parents in supporting their children. Parents of children in EYFS are able to come into school to read with their children in class, at the start of the day on a weekly basis. Parents feel that communication with the school is excellent, staff are always available to speak with parents.
Comments from Parents
Comments from parents included, “My children have all enjoyed coming here – it’s a very positive community where children feel loved and acknowledged. The school is exciting, different cultures are celebrated and they are constantly trying to improve”, “Teachers are very approachable. It’s easy to pop in and have a quick word and you get a quick response. It’s very open”, “There are many opportunities for children, the clubs are amazing as well as the trips to the theatre etc”, “My children have had amazing experiences here. My child never felt self-conscious, children understand that some children have different needs”, “We had weekly meetings about my child’s needs. Teachers helped me to support my child at home with useful strategies to use”.
Working with the Local Community
The school works closely with the local community and there are good links with other local schools, including several primary schools and some secondary schools to which pupils’ transfer. All staff, parents, governors and pupils spoken to were extremely positive about the school’s work. There is a very genuine sense of team effort, of mutual support, of listening, discussing and of including everyone. The governing body is fully committed to the school’s vision and they play a very positive, active and supportive role in the school.
Excellent features of this school include the overall ethos of inclusive values, the excellent behaviour and positive attitudes of pupils, the excellent support for children with SEND and the excellent teamwork of teaching and support staff.
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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