Tottenhall Infant School in Enfield has achieved the Inclusive School Award for the fourth time.
Children are Confident
The school serves a needy community and many of the children have additional learning needs, some have complex needs. Others are vulnerable both emotionally and in terms of their ability to learn. The school has a reputation for its work with pupils with SEN and this means that they include large numbers of such pupils and they make them very welcome. Having said this, the mix of pupils in the school is broad based and I was able to observe some of their DSR (Reading Groups) and saw children in Year 1 reading and writing exceptionally well. The aim of the DSR groups is to target the needs of pupils and to move them forward at a rapid pace. Seeing children moving from room to room and from group to group to work with their assigned group was an example of organisation and independence at its best. Children were confident and clear about what they had to do, they really enjoyed the different activities and targeted interventions they received.
It was very disheartening to hear that the funding for the Children’s Centre has ceased and the school is having to try to keep some of the vital activities going through its own delegated budget. If ever there was a need for the support a Children’s Centre provides, it’s here in this community. There are so many vulnerable families in need of support and guidance and advice and the school is working exceptionally hard to continue to support them with an ever-decreasing budget. Staff at all levels are stretched and budgets are squeezed beyond limits. The Headteacher is doing an exceptional job in very difficult circumstances, by making the best use of the resources available.
Hard Decisions had to be Made
Many hard decisions have been made with the Governors this year. However, it is clear that decisions are always made with the children in mind and what is best for the children. The optimistic approach and can-do attitude is admirable, the staff are inspired and motivated by the Headteacher.
Morale is High
Despite the challenges this year everybody I met was positive and morale amongst staff and the leadership team was high. Everybody works together and there is a real collective and collegiate ethos where people support each other.
Parents/carers are as supportive as ever and speak highly of the school and what they do for their children. The children are a delight and just enjoy everything they do even the ‘hard learning’. Despite the reduction in funding the school still manages to take children out on various trips and visits throughout the year even if the visit is to a local park or shop as well as others more far afield. Whenever a visit or trip is planned every single child is included. No child is ever left out.
I spent some time in the nursery and was inspired by the work that is going on there. The school caters for children from nursery to Year 2 and then (most) children transfer to the primary school next door. However, some children leave at the end of Year 1 because parents try to get them into schools that provide primary provision up to Year 6. This movement can have a negative effect on the workings of the school, but it is understandable for parents to make these decisions. Mobility is an issue that the school has had to address over the years and the way they do this is a real strength.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
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