Sunnyside Primary Academy in Northampton achieves the Inclusive School Award for the third time.
Sunnyside Primary Academy is part of Greenwood Academies Trust. The school is a growing school with two classes in every Year Group. Year 6 will become two classes from September 2018.
A Warm Welcome
The school website states: ‘we want our children to be happy, confident individuals with a passion for learning. We believe every child should feel valued and encouraged to achieve their very best in all aspects of Academy life.’ This was evident from the start to the end of the visit. As soon as you enter the school, you are greeted with a warm welcome and a smile.
Journey of Inclusion
The entrance displays start the ‘Journey of Inclusion’ inspiring any visitor to experience life at Sunnyside including the colourful mosaics designed by the pupils showing the simple school rules ‘Be Responsible, Be Safe, Be Kind’ and the ‘SMILE Tree’ reflecting the wishes and thoughts of parents about their individual child.
Importance of Home Links
The school is below the national average in terms of EAL. Pupil Premium is also lower than the national average. The main cohort of pupils is White British. The Head ensures links are kept very closely with the pupils’ home environments through a variety of strategies. The impact of this means that all pupils feel safe, support each other and enjoy school.
High Aspirations for All
The Head has high aspirations for all the pupils and staff. She is not complacent in her approach to continued School Development. The KS 1 and KS 2 results have improved since 2016 and the Head is determined that the results remain on an upward trajectory for 2018 onwards. To this end, pupils are swiftly identified for both extra support and challenge. Interventions are put in place. The impact is measured by the SENCo and Inclusion Lead in discussion with the member of staff delivering the intervention. The Learning Environment is engaging. The displays throughout the school are exceptional. In conversation with the SLT, they were clear on their expectations of what they expected to see in each classroom to compliment the learning experience for the pupils. This included working walls for both Maths and English, inviting displays regarding topic-based work such as the Rainbow Fish, Ancient Greeks, Space, Rainforest Habitat, Hogwarts, War Poetry, World Book Day to name but a few. The use of corridors to exhibit home learning and incorporate them into 3D displays was exceptional. The simple rules were displayed in every classroom and ‘Kindness Mats’ encouraging pupils to reflect on, and reinforce, the positive qualities of their peers.
All classes were equipped with resources to support independent learning in both English and Maths as well as interactive whiteboards. Tasks set enabled pupils to progress in their learning. Pupils felt that they were supported appropriately in the lessons and that their teachers and teaching assistants had high expectations of them with differentiated challenges. Due to the planning of the curriculum and an inviting environment, pupils’ attitudes across the school were very positive. The pupils were extremely respectful of each other and took pride in their work.
Open and Honest Pupils
When the pupils were interviewed in a group session, they were honest and open. They shared their experiences of school life and stated that there was always someone to talk to. If there was any bullying, it was dealt with immediately. They were very keen to share their roles as members of the School Council, House Captains, Librarians, Play Leaders and Buddies. The older pupils were a credit to the school and listened respectfully to the younger pupils. The younger pupils saw the older pupils as role models and mentors.
All pupils spoke highly of the school. They spoke of the ‘Calm Corners’ in each classroom to support their emotional well-being, the resources within the classroom to support the development of their skills in Literacy and Numeracy and the ‘WOW’ walls. Success Criteria in their learning meant that they aspired to reach the third step from ‘Simplify, Expect to Deepen’. They also felt that the term used by some class teachers ‘3B4 Me’ encouraged them all to use their ‘brain, the work on the board, or a buddy’ to solve any challenge in their learning before resorting to asking for help. This made them more independent. In addition, they stated that the teachers’ comments in their books supported their learning as well as the ‘PROUD’ template at the front of their books to support them with their presentation.
Lots of Extra Curricular Activities
They thought the Play Leaders and Buddies supported their lunch times and were ‘really fun’. They stated that there were lots of clubs including sports, as well as others that helped them with their learning. They enjoyed the school day and residential trips that supported topics in the classroom. For example, the Year 6 were full of excitement as they were raising money to visit London to experience an overnight stay on HMS Belfast, a visit to the London Eye, the Science Museum and a riverboat taxi ride. It was commendable that the staff were supporting the pupils to raise money through cake sales, sponsored marathon, World Cup evening as well as other events. The pupils had raised £2000 which was clearly an inspiration to the other pupils in terms of Enterprise as well as learning about the value and amount of organisation that goes into a school trip. The Year 5 pupils were excited about their imminent visit to the Harry Potter Studios.
Leaders are ensuring English and Maths is constantly tracked with necessary interventions put in place. If Leaders feel the impact is not great enough towards progress they will quickly re-evaluate. They are determined to improve progress and attainment from the pupils’ baselines. For example, there has been a drive on improving Reading, Writing and Maths across the school and monitoring the progress to diminish the difference between different cohorts of pupils including girls and boys. This is supported by resources and interventions including the newly developed library which is well stocked with engaging reading areas to encourage reading. All classes are timetabled to use it with each pupil having a reading log with an expectation to read at home after school which is tracked and monitored. ‘Book Talk’ had been introduced and was in its second year. Resources for Maths such as ‘Times Tables Rock Stars’ as well as Numicon Maths supported progress.
CPD is Important
CPD is encouraged throughout the staff. One of the team is about to train as a Teacher and another is about to train as an Educational Psychologist. One of the classes observed was taught by a trainee teacher.
The staff felt very strongly that there were opportunities for training courses such as Time to Talk, Mindfulness, Lego Therapy, Anxiety, Phonics, Chataway Programme, Phonics, Bereavement, Protective Behaviours, SMILE as a whole school initiative, Work with the SALT, Emotional Literacy, Precision Teaching, PixL Spelling.
Two members of the Middle Leadership Team are LA Moderators and involved in LA moderation which supports the staff to understand Assessment Criteria and to have high expectations for all pupils from their respective baselines.
The Head and Leadership team are rigorous in monitoring Teaching and Learning. High standards are expected through the appraisal system of all staff. Support and positive feedback is a key feature for staff from the SLT. The staff felt that it was a very supportive environment. Staff give up their time freely to run extra-curricular activities as well as evenings such as ‘World Cup Evening’ for families.
Parents were very supportive of the school. They felt that they were kept fully informed of all aspects of school life. They felt welcomed at the school and that
‘nothing was too much trouble’. ‘It is an ‘open door policy’.
One parent said that even though she lives 2.5 miles away now,
‘it is such a good school, she would not want to change’.
They felt that any problems ‘are always sorted out’. They felt listened to and felt that they were kept informed about their child’s progress and that interventions were always put in place to support any learning needs. One parent described how they had just moved recently into the area and the school fully engaged in making a smooth transition for her child. Her child had settled very well having been anxious at first.
The parents spoke highly of the mornings at drop off where they were encouraged to engage in activities with their child such as word searches, educational based games within the classroom until 8.55 am. They enjoyed the informative Parent Assemblies at the end of a topic. They felt the school House Point System had a positive impact on their child’s engagement with learning. They felt the breakfast and after school club was supportive for working parents enabling a smooth transition into and out of the school day.
Strengthening Community Links
The school has strengthened its links with the Community since the last IQM assessment. The local Vicar comes into school to lead Assemblies and to take part in school events. The local Community attend the school fetes and are also invited to run stalls at both the Christmas and Summer Fetes.
The school also takes Harvest donations to the ‘Hope Centre’ and has also visited the local elderly people’s Home to sing.
Pastoral Inclusion Team
The newly formed PIT (Pastoral Inclusion Team) includes the Learning Mentor who has a dedicated room to ensure confidential extra support is there for the families within the school in times of challenge. The Learning Mentor is dedicated in her role to ensure families are signposted to the correct support. The PIT team are determined to create new ways to engage parents through the community café run in school for ‘coffee and cake’. In addition to this, links have been forged with the local Early Intervention Team and the PCSO which has had a positive impact on improved parenting and therefore engagement and attendance of the more vulnerable pupils.
The school work closely with the Academy Trust and LA sharing ideas and training as well as moderation of standards within schools.
The school’s website is constantly updated with a regular weekly newsletter to inform the parents and the Community what is happening within the school.
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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