West Rainton Primary School in Durham achieves Centre of Excellence status.
A Very Warm Welcome
At West Rainton Primary School everyone is part of the team. The school continues to be a fully inclusive school with a very warm welcome for everyone. At the entrance to the school is a display which states ‘Welcome to our happy school’. This ethos is echoed by pupils, parents, staff and Governors. The school has inclusion at its heart and the Headteacher and staff team have developed some excellent practice that could be shared with other schools.
Commitment to the Best Educational Opportunities
At West Rainton Primary School there is a commitment to provide the best educational opportunities for all pupils. There is a determination that everything will be done to ensure that every child is both happy and succeeds to the best of their ability. When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the whole country, school staff moved swiftly to ensure everything possible was in place to continue to support learning for all pupils. When school reopened to pupils in June, the catch-up lessons were highly effective. The school reports that this time was crucial for addressing any missed learning and getting the pupils back on track. The Headteacher and staff are determined to minimise the effects of the pandemic on the children’s education and wellbeing and aim for pupils to continue to achieve as well, or even better, than ever.
Passionately Supporting Pupils
The Deputy Headteacher/SENDCo is highly regarded in the school and local area and has a passion for supporting all pupils. The school has a high level of mobility and she reports that pupils are welcoming and accepting of everyone. There is a real enthusiasm when new pupils join the school. Any identified need for extra provision is provided swiftly, partly due to positive relationships with parents.
Listening to Parents
West Rainton School was a keen early adopter of the government’s Relationships Policy. The school greatly values its good relationship with parents and they listen to the views of the parents and takes these in to consideration as part of the process.
Pupils Show Empathy for Others
Pupils have a voice at West Rainton Primary School. Governors report that pupils have attended the curriculum sub-committee meetings in the past to share their views. There are regular planned opportunities in lessons for pupils to listen to each other and to discuss subjects such as health and wellbeing. School staff recognise the positive impact of this type of activity. Pupils show empathy for others and are confident to talk about the school. Pupils reported,
“It’s a wonderful place to learn” and
“People don’t get bullied, everyone gets treated the same” and
“Everyone makes friends, it’s an amazing place”.
Greater Engagement and Deeper Understanding
Reading is a whole school focus, as the Deputy Headteacher said, this is “embraced through everything we do”. Teachers now consistently use carefully chosen blocks of non-fiction texts in their lessons. The short texts are read independently by the pupils and discussed. The teachers ask the pupils to explain what they have discovered and the pupils need to ‘convince’ the teacher using the evidence from the text. The school reports that this approach results in greater engagement and deeper understanding. In tandem with the focus on reading, the school library has been redesigned to be more inviting to all readers. The new Reading Lodge in the playground is also warm and cosy. It is an environment to read at lunchtime and to spend time with other children. Books are carefully selected and enjoyed both independently and also through links to lessons and wellbeing themes.
Revisiting and Reinforcing Learning
All class teachers and subject leaders have revisited the curriculum and know what their class has learnt. Each class teacher has an ‘Ask Us About!’ book compiled by the previous class teacher. This helps teachers to pitch new concepts at the appropriate level and also revisit and reinforce learning in all subjects, this was demonstrated with science, music and PE, but is equally used for all subjects. The curriculum sub-committee regularly look at pupils’ work and can clearly see the progression throughout the school.
Parents stated that all school staff are very approachable and that their children are settled and happy at West Rainton Primary School. They appreciate the regular clubs and events such as, the annual inflatables day to acknowledge whole school good attendance. All pupils work together to achieve this coveted celebration of whole school attendance of over 96%. This approach is achieving good results and is working effectively at West Rainton Primary School. Parents report that their children benefit from the school visits and the range of opportunities that they are given. They recognise the commitment of the staff and also the way the school has responded to the pandemic, ensuring everything possible is being done for their children’s education and wellbeing. During the assessment parents gave their extremely positive views about the school and the support it gives their whole family. As one happy parent said,
“I would stand on the rooftops to tell everyone about this school.”
Genuine Friendships and Good Relationships
Interaction with the local community is exceptional,
“The school is an integral part of the community, and the community is an integral part of the school”
was a comment made by the Chair of Governors. This was clearly seen throughout the assessment day during conversations with staff, Governors, parents, pupils and through school displays and the website. The local residential home is one example of the active friendships which have been developed over time. A very prominent display in the school entrance is of drawings sent to the pupils by residents at a local care home. Genuine friendships and good relationships have been built up between the school and their elderly neighbours resulting in many examples of positive interactions and activities.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
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