Star Primary School in Newham has achieved Flagship School status for the third time.
Making Successful Futures Possible
I have visited Star Primary School on a number of occasions, and every time I leave with such a positive feeling about the future of inclusive education at this school. The Head Teacher and her staff team are such enthusiastic people, in fact one of the staff body described them to me as being ‘inspirational women’. They think creatively about how to make successful futures possible for the children and families in their care, they consider the people of the area to be part of their wider responsibility, they share what they know to be effective with professionals at other schools and organisations, and they are concerned about the inclusion of their pupils into real life, for the whole of the life they will live beyond school leaving age.
Warm Relationships with Pupils
The staff members at Star Primary make me feel valued as a fellow human being and whilst I am in their school, I observe that their relationships with pupils are similarly warm. Some staff eat lunch with children, chatting with them as friends, and the dining hall is a jolly and relaxing place for children to be, nourishing in more ways than one! Every young person I personally came across on the day of my visit recognised me as an individual, holding a door open or saying ‘hello’ in the friendly way modelled by the Star Primary adults. The Head Teacher’s message on the school website states: ‘At Star Primary you will find motivated children inspired by wonderful adults’, and that is exactly how it feels when I am there.
An Inclusive Declaration
The Star Primary mission statement begins with the following inclusive declaration:
‘At Star Primary School we believe that everyone is equally loved and accepted. Acknowledging the diversity of our community we…
• Provide a broad and balanced curriculum encouraging every child to take the opportunity to achieve their full potential;
• Nurture positive home, school and community relationships;
• Promote tolerance and respect for all people and the world we live in’.
A Highly Diverse School
The Inclusion Quality Mark expects that its Flagship schools will work with not only the internal school community of staff, children and parents, but that they will take their understanding of the term community outside of the school walls, promoting joint work with other schools and including the local community into school activities, perhaps entering into nation-wide or even world-wide activities. Star Primary is a highly diverse school in terms of culture, language and faith, and a significant number of staff and parents have spontaneously told me how welcome they feel, in every way.
Extending Children’s Understanding
As one moves around the school, well-mounted displays of children’s work make it obvious that the school expects to extend the children’s understanding firstly of the world around them today, and secondly of opportunities their education may open up for them in the future. The study of Shakespeare at age-appropriate levels is obviously something that is considered to be important, and it is clear to see that it is not only the more able who are being successfully challenged and stretched. Discussions about the enriched curriculum show that music and the arts are catered for and that school trips to places of historic or natural interest that parents may not be able to organise, in London or much further away, are really useful in terms of growth mindset and equality.
A Research Based Project with Parents
As a school with the IQM Flagship award there is an expectation that Star Primary will develop an outline for a classroom or school-based research project which will build on the excellent inclusive practice already demonstrated and replace the targets set at earlier IQM stages. During the past year Star professionals have engaged in a variety of projects, large and small, relating to the full breadth of the eight IQM elements and a number of these pieces of work will remain ongoing between now and the next IQM Flagship Review (see the body of this report). In terms of strategic management, the Head Teacher and her leadership team are constantly looking for new avenues to explore and during this coming year the outcomes of an informal but research-based project with parents (IQM Element 6) will be the centrepiece of their IQM targets. Outcomes will inform not only the ongoing good practice at Star but will be recorded in such a way that they can be shared with other IQM schools, and perhaps even with schools outside of this group via a published article in an educational journal. The senior leadership team at Star love a challenge, and really understand the potential for such a piece of work.
Inclusion is Embedded
In summary, Star Primary School is an excellent example of a school where there has been highly inclusive practice in terms of pupils, their families, staff members, the local community and other educational establishments, for a number of years. This year the senior leadership team included into their assessment day the SENDCo of a local school, registered with IQM but not yet active, in hopes that the experience might enable her to see that membership of IQM is developmental and that every annual target builds on the successes of previous work. Every year in the light of new trends in education, new evaluations of Star outcomes and new challenges set by young people and their families, the Head Teacher and the Senior Leadership Team set the expectations of a child-centred and inclusive education at the highest levels and the staff body rise to their expectations. As an assessor I value the fact that these senior leaders welcome and enjoy the challenges set by IQM and that they continue to search for ways in which to effect change more widely as a Flagship.
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.