William Bellamy Primary School, Dagenham in Essex, achieves the Inclusive School Award.
Cohesive and Effective Leadership
William Bellamy Primary School is larger than the average-sized primary school. Inclusion permeates all aspects of its work and there are good links with outside agencies to offer support for families. The school continues to recognise that the early stages of development are crucial to a child making the best possible progress both academically and emotionally. The school has been through a difficult time like most other schools in the country due to the Covid-19 situation. They have coped admirably, although the ongoing situation has put pressure on all concerned. The Headteacher has continued to be proactive and together with the Leadership Team and the Governing Body she has been able to plan and implement effective strategies that have ensured that children and staff feel secure in school. The Headteacher and Leadership Team ensure that all staff have similar aspirations for children at the school. Children are fully supported to achieve their full potential and the Leadership Team sets the framework in which all the work in the school takes place. Children are valued as individuals within a caring atmosphere. Teachers, LSAs and HLTAs know their pupils well and have an excellent rapport with their children. There is a consistent approach to work in the school and the IQM Lead/Deputy Headteacher ensures that the inclusion agenda and the expectations of the IQM system are reinforced in and around the school.
Monitoring in school has recently returned to the levels that existed pre-Covid-19 and the expectations of all staff have been raised after a difficult period when the wellbeing and mental health of pupils and staff were the priority. These areas are still important, but the Leadership Team has realised that there are areas which need refreshing to ensure that staff perform at the levels they accepted before the pandemic. As one member of staff reminded the Assessor,
‘We are here for the children – that is our primary role. We fight their corner!’
Thoroughly Researched Recovery Plan
Since the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown periods, the school has realised that there are far more pupils who are pre-Key Stage. The SEND recovery plan focuses on ensuring the reading and phonics of the SEND and lower ability children needs to be raised, as these children have missed a great deal. The children were given baseline assessments and then banded into phases with all teachers, TAs and HLTAs given thorough training. All KS1 staff have had an opportunity to observe whole class training, then being observed themselves followed by drop-in observations. Formal teaching is supplemented with Phase 1 phonics and precision teaching takes place during the afternoon in reception. The school has found that it is still ‘plugging gaps’ in Y3 to make up for the lost time during lockdowns. Parent workshops and activities on the school website encouraged parents to be more proactive at home. In the EYFS an attention and listening bucket to support children in just ‘sitting still’ and to develop their auditory processing skills has been necessary. In reading, benchmarking to ascertain children’s reading levels demonstrated that pupils were not ready for guided reading sessions, but needed a whole class reading approach. This was trialled in one of the classes and then rolled out to the other classes lower down the school. The impact of the Covid-19 situation on the lowest 20% of children has been the greatest. The restoring of ‘routines’ has been the most important element of the school’s work. In speech and language this has included the NELI (Nuffield Early Language Intervention) training and the ECAT (Every Child A Talker) training to develop children’s vocabulary and how to listen. Helicopter stories have also helped with this strategy. Communication in Print has supported children with their writing. The emphasis on sound classroom teaching is still very evident.
Nurture Recovery Plan
The Nurture Recovery plan has been extensive. Every child in the school has received a Nurture intervention. After lockdown, the team looked at how the needs of all the children could be best addressed. It was decided that every class would be allocated a Nurture Mentor, who would take the class each day in small groups of 10 to deliver small interventions over a 50-minute period. New relationships were formed, and pupils got to know their mentor. The mentors discovered that some children who were normally seen as coping well with school and life in general were showing signs of vulnerability. These vulnerabilities were not being measured by the Boxall Profile or were not as a result of low ability but covered a range of anxieties which had been brought on by the Covid-19 situation. Targeted nurture provision focusing on Behaviour for Learning was agreed to put children in a place where they were ready to access their learning. The relationship between mentor and pupil was maintained and the Nurture Lead delivers a story linked to a theme on a weekly basis which the mentor adapts to meet the needs of their pupils. The theme in the week of the assessment was ‘What I like my teacher to know about me.’ The school in adopting this innovative approach is demonstrating, yet again, that it is not standing still. It has more staff attending the Trauma Informed Approach training, which has been delivered by the Borough with the ARP becoming a Trauma Informed Setting. It is also developing its Thrive delivery with 2 members of staff being trained as practitioners.
Exercise Promotes Resilience
Sport and PE were impacted during the Covid-19 situation, but clubs are now up and running and the PE Lead is working with a variety of companies to provide funding for these activities. Boxing is a new area and children both in the Sunshine setting and the Nurture setting have applied to join these groups during school time. Family fun days are being organised during the holiday periods and nutritional workshops are being provided during the Christmas and Easter breaks. The school is still part of the Young Leader Programme and cross country and football events involving other schools are beginning to take place. The gifted and talented children are also being given opportunities with 3 children given trials for the local football team.
Exemplary Inclusive Practice
The Headteacher and Leadership Team are a driving force within the school, and they have appointed staff who meet the needs of the school. The IQM Lead has a passion for ensuring the needs of every child are met. She insists that
‘If you pitch it right all children can become independent.’
The school consequently moves from strength to strength. The Nurture provision that has been provided since the children have returned to school is exemplary and the school should be commended for the time, effort, and training that this has involved to ensure that the needs of every child are met.
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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