Wallisdean Infant School in Hampshire, Achieves the Inclusion Quality Mark’s Inclusive School Award.
Wallisdean Infant School is a truly inclusive school. The Executive Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher, Senco and staff share a passion for meeting the individual needs of all their pupils and their commitment to inclusive practices, within a caring environment, was very evident throughout the IQM assessment. The school adopts a holistic approach to inclusion, nurturing the whole child, and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of all is a priority for the school. When talking about inclusion, the Deputy Headteacher explained:
‘It is about meeting families’ needs and providing support so that all the children can make progress.’
It’s a Warm Welcoming School
Wallisdean Infant School is a warm, welcoming school and friendly staff, colourful, bright displays, together with music playing, greet you as you enter the building. The school is situated in Fareham, Southeast Hampshire. A smaller than average-sized infant school, it has approximately 160 pupils on roll, who attend from the local area and are mostly of White British Heritage. The percentage of pupils with SEND is broadly average, with the proportion of pupils who are eligible for pupil premium being higher than the national average. The school admits a number of children from a local refuge and also has a number of children whose parents are in the armed forces. Pupils’ attendance at school is good and the school experiences some mobility amongst its pupils.
The School is Part of a Federation
The school is part of a Federation made up of three schools: Wallisdean Pre-School, Wallisdean Infant School and Wallisdean Junior School. Under the leadership of the Executive Headteacher, the Federation shares one governing body, together with key personnel. Staff across the Federation are provided with opportunities for joint working, training and collaboration.
Support for Pupils is Excellent
Systems of identification and support for pupils are well embedded with half-termly pupil progress meetings. A range of individualised interventions are in place for pupils. These include early literacy support, mighty maths and phonological skills. They are regularly reviewed and adapted, according to individual needs and are delivered by highly skilled teaching assistants and higher-level teaching assistants. The 3 HLTAs have specific areas of expertise in Early Years, speech and language and parental support. The school offers a broad, balanced, relevant and topic-based curriculum, providing ‘a vehicle to achieve with.’ Encompassing the EYFS and KS1 National Curriculum, non-core subjects follow the ‘Chris Quigley’ milestones and skills programme.
During the Pandemic
Remote learning sessions during the lockdown periods of the pandemic were successfully established, with home learning packs provided for those families who were unable to access IT. Teaching staff made weekly wellbeing telephone calls to families, twice weekly for those families with children with SEND. The school also delivered food and cleaning and healthcare hampers to vulnerable families and access to IT equipment where possible. Approximately 50% of pupils attended school during the second period of lockdown and staff holidays were staggered so that the school could remain open to its pupils during the holiday periods.
Wellbeing is a Priority
Wellbeing of staff, pupils and families is a priority for the school. The school has established a mental health and wellbeing strategic team to ‘advise the SLT and all staff on strategies to improve and support mental health and wellbeing across the curriculum.’
Staff feel Valued
The school does not experience problems with recruitment and retention, because staff enjoy working at the school and feel valued. They are committed to its inclusive ethos and to building positive relationships with their pupils and families. The SLT are extremely supportive of their staff. Developing them through high quality and regular CPD is highly valued, inclusive of enabling staff to work towards nationally-recognised qualifications, such as the NPQML and Senco accreditation. A strong culture of lifelong learning exists among the staff, with one member of staff saying: ‘I feel like I’m learning every day.’
Feelings are Important
The pupils who were interviewed were articulate and eager to talk about the ‘Colour Monster’ approach to feelings in their classrooms, with all of them telling me that they always place their names on the yellow colour monster, showing that they were feeling happy that day. They also talked about the ‘Learning Power Words’ used in school and how they could earn badges or power stars for showing if they had been responsible, resilient, independent, respectful, resourceful or confident in school.
School Behaviour is Excellent
Behaviour for learning observed during the assessment was excellent and pupils learn within calm, purposeful learning environments. Classrooms are bright, well organised and set up to support and scaffold pupils’ learning. EYFS classrooms and outside areas are enabling, covering the different areas of learning.
Communication is Effective
The school operates an ‘open door’ policy and communicates effectively with parents/carers through a range of means. Any parental concerns or issues are dealt with efficiently. A range of parental workshops and opportunities to engage with the school are offered throughout the year and the school has a parent/friend association, WFA, that organise events and raise funds. A parent support worker supports parents across the Federation. The parent interviewed talked about how the school had gone ‘beyond’ for both her children and her. She said:
‘The staff make the school. They all go out of their way to help. Nothing has been too much. It’s a lovely school.’
The Governors are Committed
The governing body, led by a very experienced Chair of Governors, is highly committed to inclusion and ensuring the best outcomes for all the pupils. They provide support and challenge to the SLT of the school. Governors are welcomed into the school, and they share their experiences at the full governing body meetings.
Opportunities to Develop
The school offers the facility of a privately run, breakfast and after school club on the school site. It maximises the use of its outdoor learning areas, which include a woodland area and sensory garden. The school has particularly good relationships with a range of external agencies who appreciate that:
‘We’re working hard to keep this child in school.’ – (Executive Headteacher).
They work proactively with the wider local and global community, being involved in a number of local and international projects. The Executive Headteacher said the school was:
‘Constantly looking for opportunities to develop, that makes us more reflective and impacts on our practice.’
The school was last assessed for the Inclusion Quality Mark in May 2017 and has worked hard to continue to develop and improve its inclusive practices.
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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