Westfields Pupil Referral Unit in Batley, West Yorkshire has achieved Flagship School status.
Westfields Pupil Referral Unit is a well-established school for children with SEMHD (social, emotional and mental health difficulties), some have been permanently excluded from Kirklees secondary schools, others who have been referred via the pupil referral service. The school works with young people at key stage 3 (11-14). A high proportion of children continue to make a successful return to their local or another mainstream school following their time at Westfields. Some are placed in special school provision. The school also provides inclusion support to mainstream secondary schools in order to support and develop inclusion within the mainstream settings. The school works with Kirklees’ secondary schools and supports the Behaviour and Attendance Collaborative to ensure the education children receive is personalised to meet their individual needs.
Westfields School is part of the PRS made up of three schools service areas that are the Primary Pupil Referral Service, Westfields and Ethos College that work with key stage 4 students. The pupil referral service operates a stranded model of delivery to provide the following support:
Strand 1 – in-school support delivered/supported by PRS teachers and inclusion workers with a focus on supporting schools to build capacity to meet the needs of children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. This strand also includes reintegration support for students following a placement within the PRU.
Strand 2 – was short term 6-week placements that are no longer being used.
Strand 3 – short term PRU provision to support young people in partnership with schools, parents/carers and other professionals so that reintegration into mainstream can be successfully achieved.
Strand 4 – pupil referral unit support for students who have been permanently excluded from a mainstream setting.
A Personalised Approach to Learning
Central to the aims of Westfields has always been inclusion with a personalised approach to learning. An understanding that pupils need to return to mainstream education to succeed is of paramount importance to the school’s approach to their pupils.
The school was recently inspected by OFSTED in April 2017 and the findings found the school to continue to be good. The OFSTED report speaks highly of the support provided to students when reintegrating to mainstream schools.
The OFSTED report also said pupils placed at Westfield “make good progress”. In particular, progress in personal development and welfare was seen as particularly strong.
A Very Positive Picture
It was a pleasure to visit the school to carry out Westfield’s third Centre of Excellence review and preparation for Flagship status. The visit was enjoyable. The staff and pupils I met were positive and helpful. I was able to review last year’s actions and the plan for the year ahead (see below). This allowed me to build up a very positive picture of the inclusive practice at the school.
Ethos and Policies
There were many things about the ethos and policies of the school that were very impressive.
Students Extremely Engaged
Firstly, there is a very clear focus on Westfields being a place of learning where every student deserved the opportunity to make great academic progress. I observed an ICT lesson where students had clear learning objectives within the lesson but as part of a very clear scheme. The students were extremely engaged and were able to articulate well what they were learning. There is a real focus on assessing students’ progress throughout their stay at Westfields. The use of Doddle has also supported a positive attitude to each small step in students’ learning.
Staff Know their Students
Secondly, there was a deep concern for, and knowledge of each student. Relationships between students and staff were seen to be excellent. Very careful baseline testing is done when students arrive at the school. It is a requirement of strand 3 placements that the correct academic and other information is provided by mainstream schools for the student. Students develop weekly action plans that are reviewed each day and at the end of each week. There are regular assessments of each child’s progress. The school continues to develop diagnostic tools to develop learning strategy as can be seen by the introduction of “SNAP.” Moreover, the school is looking for new ways for students to develop ownership of their destiny by introducing the “PATH” programme where action planning is visual and based on students’ dreams and goals.
Thirdly, there is a clear understanding and action to make sure that the placements at Westfields are to support students on to the next stage of their education. In the majority of cases this is back in mainstream education. This means that the plan for each child is designed to support them in their journey to their next setting. There are always arrangements made for inclusion workers to work with ex-pupils when they return to the mainstream setting. In my conversation with one student the student told me of his readiness to return to mainstream because of his experience at Westfields.
Positive Behaviour Policy
Fourthly, the positive behaviour policy was seen to be understood and implemented by all staff at the school. This included praising in public, but when necessary challenging without an audience. In the assembly I observed, students achieved certificates for real academic achievement (for example reading 13 books in a few weeks!), and also positive other behaviours. I saw students who visibly appeared more self-confident after receiving certificates. However, a boy with his hood up was challenged, but away from the audience of his peers.
Collaboration and Support
Fifthly, the collaboration and support for mainstream schools is central to the work of Westfields School. Before students are placed at Westfields School they will often receive some strand 1 provision (support) with the mainstream school from staff at Westfields School. In many cases strand 1 support means that strand 3 support is not required. In 2016/17 out of 47 strand one referrals, only 12 moved to strand three. Westfields School has also supported the establishment of the Behaviour Collaborative that will be discussed later in this document. In addition, Westfields staff also provide training for mainstream staff, for example, there has been very recent training across Kirklees on writing “My Support plans.”
IQM Flagship Status
I was able to discuss the requirements of Flagship status with the Deputy Headteacher. It is very clear that the school already undertakes an array of collaborative activities. They will be seeking to enhance them when they join the newly formed academy trust. The school is positive about joining the cluster group. Westfields already has links with other out of area PRUs and this may be an area that can be developed further should Westfield take on Flagship status.
The school continues to develop its teachers, and methodologies so that practice in the classroom improves. This includes the introduction of Doddle, and working with Doddle nationally to improve both target setting and baseline assessments.
Excellent Inclusive Practice
I recommend that Westfield School becomes a Flagship IQM school because of its excellent inclusive practice, its collaborative approach, and its determination to improve outcomes for its students. If it chooses to pursue Flagship status it will have annual reviews for the next three years.
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.
Want more information on the IQM Award? Click here to request your free IQM information pack.