Wavertree CE School in Merseyside has achieved the Inclusive School Award.
Wavertree CE School was created in 1991 by the amalgamation of the former St Mary’s, St Bridget’s and Trinity District Schools, and the building belonged to the oldest of the three – Trinity District School. Although it dates from 1867, and carried a considerable history with it, the school was refurbished and extended in 1999 and further improvements have continued to be made more recently, the school and its staff make use of every possible nook and cranny to ensure that the needs of the pupils are met in this totally unique environment. They have bases for seven classes, a library, a computer room and a purpose-built nursery with an enclosed area for outdoor play. Other outdoor facilities include a playground which extends into the adjoining park known as the Wavertree Mystery. The outdoor area contains a garden area and a large field as well as a hard surface where children can play or simply sit and chat in comfort and safety, although to access the provision the staff and pupils have to walk across a road that leads to a care home and therefore have to be very vigilant in terms of traffic and pupils’ need to be constantly supervised while using the areas.
Wavertree CE School is a smaller than average primary school in the heart of Wavertree with 211 pupils on roll and with attendance at 96.3%. The school provides part-time Nursery provision each morning and runs its own breakfast and after-school club. The proportion of disadvantaged pupils is above the national average. The proportion of pupils of minority ethnic heritage is above that found nationally. The proportion of pupils who have SEN and/or disabilities is above the national average. The proportion of pupils who have an education, health and care plan or statement of special educational needs is below average. Pupil mobility remains high and is above the national average. This is largely because the school serves an area with a high proportion of social housing, including short-term accommodation for University students, and many families are re-housed into the area.
Wavertree’s Christian values; Thankfulness, Friendship, Forgiveness, Trust, Compassion, Fellowship, Peace and Humility underpin all aspects of the school. Staff and pupils are encouraged to demonstrate the eight values every day. They are very proud of the achievements of their pupils and celebrate success every week.
Broad and Balanced Curriculum
The staff at Wavertree CE School work very hard to provide the pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum that has been designed to ensure progress. This curriculum is presented creatively through a topic-based approach. Teachers are responsible for specific areas of the curriculum to ensure that learning opportunities are maximised each term. This is a fact I can attest to from the evidence of this assessment.
A Warm Welcome
Wavertree is a vibrant, motivating school where the warmth of the staff and pupils is obvious as one is welcomed through the door! Inclusion is an integral part of school life. Inclusive practice permeates the school at all levels, led by the Headteacher, and her Senior Leadership Team, who are role models to staff and pupils alike. This was evident in the conversations which were held with parents, a parent governor, staff and pupils, whose relationships are built upon trust and respect. All share a common ethos of caring for one another and are determined to make their school successful in every respect. All staff are committed to ensuring that the school’s values and ethos, encapsulated in its mission statement, ‘Learning together and valuing each other in our Christian Community’ is reflected in their passionate commitment to learning and recognition of the uniqueness of individual learners. It is driven by their desire to offer the best possible education for all of their pupils in partnership with parents and the local community; evidence of which I saw demonstrated on numerous occasions throughout the assessment. The school is highly inclusive, promotes equality of opportunity exceptionally well and no-one is ever left out. Arrangements to tackle discrimination and to foster good relations with all are at the heart of the school’s work.
Bright and Cheerful
Classrooms and corridors are bright and cheerful. Partnership with parents is excellent; parents I spoke to during the assessment were extremely positive about the school and stated that it is an open and honest place, where they feel comfortable, listened to and valued and where, not only will their children be supported, but they know they will be supported as a family. Parents said that they always felt welcomed and that staff willingly discuss any issues and support their children. School communication with them is excellent and the school is proactive in letting them know how well their child is doing. School governors are highly effective and visit the school as often as possible and are well informed about the work and the progress that the children are making. Governors support the school effectively and are knowledgeable about the strategic plan for the school. They understand their role and use this to drive and hold staff accountable for the progression of the pupils at all levels and needs. They know that their contributions are valued by the school.
Wavertree CE School is focused on improving the attainment and wider outcomes for all pupils. Teachers plan very carefully to identify and meet the needs of all pupils utilising the support staff that are highly skilled and work as key professionals alongside teachers. There is a very rigorous monitoring process including formal classroom observations, scrutiny of pupils’ work and of teachers’ planning as the school continues to provide high quality provision across the board. Within this framework there is also a commitment to staff well-being and nurture and a rigorous but supportive PM system. There are excellent relationships between the pupils, the staff and the Governors who are very much a part of the school. Every member of staff and adult who works in the school is a positive role model for the pupils modelling the behaviour which they expect, which I clearly saw during the assessment and in conversations with staff, parents, pupils and Governors. There is very much a family feel to Wavertree CE School. Behaviour in classrooms, around the school building, outside in the well maintained and superbly equipped play areas, is exemplary, pupils are extremely courteous, mature and respectful to each other, to staff and to visitors. There are excellent systems in place to support the children and their families. It is very clear that the school ‘knows itself’ very well and has the highest expectations of all members of the school, including parents and families.
Wavertree CE School has aspirational leadership at all levels, as observed by Ofsted In November 2017, who stated, ‘unwavering passion and desire of the staff and governors to do their best for all pupils’ and it is still true today and clear to see that it is central to the ethos and values of the school. This is coupled with highly professional, motivated and enthusiastic staff with a great passion for teaching and for supporting the development of all pupils, led by a Leadership team who drive the school forward ensuring the best teaching and learning for their pupils. Everyone is working towards the same aim within a team atmosphere and passion and determination is evident. There is excellent use of Pupil Premium funding and tracking to support pupils, alongside a fantastic level of support for staff and pupils at all levels. This is a school where pupils’ needs are always to the fore and where they are always encouraged to do their best, irrespective of ability, disability, social background, ethnicity or gender, consequently they achieve well or better than expected.
Calm but Vibrant
There is a calm but vibrant, feel to the school within an enjoyable, happy, nurturing and purposeful learning environment that sets the tone for learning and enjoyment for the staff and pupils. In my opinion, from the evidence of the assessment, the emotional and educational support for all pupils and the staff is an outstanding feature of the school and is a key element in its success and why it is valued not only by the local community, but by the staff and the pupils. As a parent said during a discussion about the school,
‘Inclusion is a natural part of the school and is intuitive at all levels, the biggest strength of the school is its staff’,
a fantastic and, in my opinion, well deserved accolade. A school where staff are regularly going beyond what is expected to ensure successful outcomes for the children and families. Staff morale is very high and excellent relationships were evident throughout the assessment between staff, pupils and parents. Staff felt that there was a highly effective support network not only for pupils but also for staff and families which ensured the school was a happy place to be. There is very much a family feel to the school where everyone works to support each other to achieve the best for themselves and the pupils in their care.
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