Woodchurch High School in Merseyside has achieved the Inclusive School Award with Flagship status for the second time.
A Warm Welcome Environment
The Headteacher and Senior Leaders selected one word which best describes the ethos at Woodchurch High School. They chose “community” as they “serve the local community” and “children who are part of the local community.” There is a warm, welcoming environment at the School. The modern, purposeful building is open-plan and inviting. The high ceilings and large windows offer ample natural light into the central areas, as well as views of the well-designed green areas outdoors, which creates an atmosphere of calm and encourages connection to the outdoors. The School and its grounds offer a juxtaposing, natural haven set in the middle of a large housing estate.
Support Is Excellent
The support for children with special educational needs and disabilities is excellent. The staff explain how “SEND and inclusion run through everything we do.” There is a staff guide booklet for the whole class SEND support strategies to promote an approach that suits all learners’ needs and includes everyone in the learning. The Pod is an inclusion area where the Support Staff are based, meaning that the young people can access staff throughout the day. There is a Sensory Room that is used as students need it. A full-time School Counsellor supports students with mental health and wellbeing needs. The SENDCo and Inclusion Officer work in cohesion to provide a holistic package of support. Communication amongst staff is effective which ensures the support for SEND children is exceptional. The SEND Link Governor undertook a SEND review in the Spring Term and commented:
“I was very impressed by the inclusivity of the School’s offer, and the variety of needs which are supported by the SEND Team. The School obviously embraces the challenges, whilst ensuring that all children are included in a wide variety of curricular and extra-curricular activities.”
For any young people who require additional support, supplementary to the inclusive provision for all, the School boasts its own farm. The Farm Manager and Teaching Assistant led a tour of the Farm as part of the review day. Currently, a group of vulnerable Year 7 students participate in an intervention programme on the Farm, alongside two Year 8 children who act as mentors. The Farm Manager explained how the intervention is “all about character building, developing resilience and independent learners.”
Pupils Respect Each Other
At Woodchurch High School there is a positive climate of inclusivity amongst the student population. Assemblies are used as a forum to teach about differences and promote tolerance. The students are all accepting of each other’s differences. They treat each other with respect. The group of students who are part of the Pupil Voice panel seem very happy at school. They were students with a range of SEND from Years 7 and 8. Their future ambitions included sports personality, maths teacher, footballer, army officer and speculative zoologist. When asked what the best aspect of school life is, they said: “the Farm” is “just amazing so we go every morning.” Another student accesses the Farm at break and most lunchtimes. They also enjoy Fun Club, which is an after-school enrichment club for targeted children who are invited by the Inclusion Team.
An Excellent Reputation
Parents and carers of children with SEND describe Woodchurch High School as “incredibly supportive” and “caring” with “great provision.” The School has an excellent reputation in the local area and beyond for its inclusivity. They all feel their children are safe when at school and happy. There is no bullying towards children with SEND. Parents and carers talked about how the staff “go above and beyond” to support their children. They have a main point of contact in School for ease of communication, though they feel that all staff are approachable and that they can talk openly and honestly to them. The Pod is described as a “safe space” with the staff and students “like a family.” Their children are fully included in all areas of school life.
Improving Life Chances
The Senior Leaders and Inclusion Team at Woodchurch High School are highly organised. It is clear that the staff are committed to the inclusion agenda and improving the life chances of young people not only in their School, but the local community and beyond. The alternative provision and enrichment opportunities offered not only enrich the school experience but transform the future prospects of the students involved. Staff show genuine passion towards working with children from all backgrounds, with different needs.
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: email@example.com for further details.
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