Whaley Thorns Community Primary and Nursery School, in Langwith, Nottinghamshire has achieved the Inclusive School Award with Centre of Excellence status.
The School’s Inclusive Practice
There is nothing discreet about the inclusive practice that children and families experience at Whaley Thorns Community Primary School and Nursery. As a family of schools, they believe;
‘Together Everyone Achieves More’
and both children and parents are falling over themselves to reiterate this. This was apparent on arrival, going straight from meeting the SENCO to walking, or for those who are younger running, the mile before school started – the children told me that they
To see children supporting peers and mixing across the school was heart-warming!
Whaley Thorns Community Primary School and Nursery is part of the TEAM Education Academy and the TEAM Education vision states: ‘Trust schools offer nurturing, inclusive learning environments, led by teachers who collaborate as a TEAM together to meet the needs of each and every student. Through our high-quality curriculum offer and embracing the latest technology, our children and young people will have the best possible foundation to be successful in their future lives, jobs, and relationships. The ‘TOGETHER’ values are explicit across the school.’ Children and parents fondly talk about how the staff and leaders support them in their learning journey. One parent stated:
’Nothing is too much for the school…children are all treated as individuals.’
Whaley Thorns Community Primary School is a school where consistent, high expectations of children have transferred into good and improving outcomes for all. The Principal greets with a warm, welcoming smile, it is obvious she models a positive mindset behaviour in all that she does. She knows each child exceptionally well and talks passionately about how the school is improving their life chances. Her leadership sets the tone, and this care and kindness underpin the school. Whaley Thorns is a school that is driving forward and knows where it wants to go! It is a very welcoming and supportive school, with a relentless determination to provide the very best education for every child, academically and holistically. Children are firmly at the centre of everything, for all staff members, with a focus on creating a culture of success through a positive climate for learning and aspiration.
Harnessing Unique Skills
Whaley Thorn believes in harnessing children’s unique skills across all areas of the curriculum, in addition to their life skills and tailoring learning to best support their future goals. This is evidenced by the values that children are not only able to articulate but also displayed in their actions. One child who was volunteering at lunchtime stated:
‘I love helping the younger children, I enjoy helping them because it is a kind thing to do, and we are a kind school.’
The ambassadors are used as a voice for children in their class. Any ideas are then discussed and shared with the class teacher and SLT. Children on the SEN register play an active part in ‘pupil voice’ by articulating their views of school and life and how effective provision is for them. They are hugely wise, one child stating, ‘We should have a group of children with disabilities getting together to support each other.’
Due to the systems of support built around the school SEND children achieve well. The Principal provides inspirational leadership to her team and school community. The systems, support and training for staff have created an unwavering focus on raising achievement levels and improving the quality of education for all children. The vision
‘to inspire, challenge and nurture the individuality of the next generation’
is explicitly understood by staff, pupils, parents, carers, and the wider community. Their motto of:
‘together we learn, together we grow, together we achieve,’
is central to the shared policies and practices of the school and has contributed significantly to the school’s continuous and sustained improvement. It is not the systems and processes that make Whaley Thorns, in the view of Governors and staff, it is the leadership. The Principals open, transparent, and visible leadership has built a team that expects high challenges but with low threats. There is a culture and climate that has been created where the team learns and develops together and support each other in the process. Both new teachers and new pupils openly discussed how they felt supported and able to grow in the school environment. Governors, Parents, and pupils strongly agreed that the school is well led and managed, stating,
‘This is such a great school since the new Head started…the school has been transformed.’
Continuous Professional Development
Planning and provision are continuously monitored, adapted, and changed to meet the needs of the children. Ongoing assessments scaffold children’s learning pathways and are reactive to individual needs. There is a secure culture where staff are not afraid to change the direction of learning and reshape their lessons to ensure that every child can be successful. There is a culture of continuous professional development and mentoring provided by the school and the Trust. Leaders provide support for developing teachers’ subject and pedagogical content knowledge in order to enhance the teaching of the curriculum. There is a well-planned, focussed and structured programme of continuous professional development, which is highly valued by staff. As a result, staff feel involved in their own professional development, creating a climate of challenge, support, and highly effective and innovative teaching. It is clear leadership qualities from the Principal and SENCO, effectively supported by the Trust, have played a major role in creating such a reflective and continually developing and rapidly improving school.
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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