Victoria College Preparatory School in Belfast achieves the Inclusive School Award for the third time.
A Sense of Warmth and Calm
Victoria College Preparatory School is a single form girls’ entry primary school set in the Malone Road area of Belfast. It is the main feeder school for Victoria College for Girls. The School has a preschool for 2 to 3-year-old boys and girls and a preschool for 3 to 4-year-old girls. The school was a very busy place on the day of the assessment, as are all schools coming up towards the end of term. Despite the busyness, there was a real sense of calm as I entered the school, greeted by two children at the door and an adult who greeted all visitors as they entered the school. A real feeling of warmth meets you as you step inside the doors. There is a relaxed atmosphere, and a sense of family, which is conducive to learning and well-being.
A Cohesive Unit
It was evident that staff and children alike worked together towards a common goal as a cohesive unit and that this was normal practice. It was clearly evident that staff were and continue to be well trained and supported to meet the diverse needs of the children. Supported by the Governors the school has and continues to set challenging but realistic targets for improvement, based on robust data and a thorough understanding of the pupils. There is evidence of all stakeholders within the school working together to achieve success. The Principal is a very visible, positive presence in the school and knows the children well.
Connected to the Community
This is a school that is not content to be its own self-contained island but rather one which reaches out and embraces its community, ensuring that the best possible opportunities for learning and developing the whole child, morally, spiritually, culturally and in their own well-being are sought. As a school it strives to be very much connected to the community it is located in.
Inclusion is a Priority Focus Area
It was clearly evident that inclusion continues to be a priority focus area for this child centred school. All stakeholders are extremely happy and proud of the efforts of the school to continue to meet the needs of the children and the wider school community. The stakeholders recognise the importance of the work the school is doing in developing pupil skills for life. This can be evidenced through the work the school is involved in.
Excellent Pupil Behaviour
The behaviour of the pupils is excellent, as was evident from a variety of observations both formal and informal. It is clear from the discussions that took place with pupils, in a number of different settings, that the pupils are motivated and keen to learn. The school provides a safe and supportive learning environment, where children know their needs will be met and worries addressed.
Wide Variety of Activities
I was escorted around the school by two knowledgeable pupils who wanted to show me every nook and cranny of their school. I was welcomed into every classroom and was impressed by the wide variety of activities being undertaken by the pupils and the variety of teaching styles. I was extremely fortunate to be part of the school assembly on camels, a practical maths lesson in the garden, on capacity and a very impressive lesson on the Egyptians and on Egyptian writing.
The various stakeholders reported the trusting relationships exist throughout the school and at the various different levels. They spoke of how they were supported through regular meetings and written feedback. All the stakeholders spoke about how supportive the staff are. Stakeholders spoke about how confident and happy the children are in school and the positive impact this has on children especially in encouraging them to become risk takers in learning.
Sources of Evidence
The various discussions were broad ranging and underpinned by written evidence. There were a variety of opportunities to talk to the key personnel within the school including various staff members, SENCO and SLT.
Success is Celebrated
Success is celebrated and the education provided is supportive and motivating. There is clear evidence of high expectations from all to ensure that children achieve in line with or above their ability.
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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