Pride in its Status
Woodhouse Primary Academy takes pride in its status as a highly sought-after and esteemed educational institution. The school consistently experiences a high demand, with waiting lists in all year groups. The Reception class, in particular, receives a significantly greater number of applications than available spaces, indicating the school’s increasing popularity within the local community. Flexibility is maintained through the admission of new students throughout the academic year as openings arise, and interested families are encouraged to reach out. In instances where no space is immediately available, joining the waiting list is an option, as spaces regularly become accessible.
There are 42 languages in the school and a very diverse socio-economic population. Adult learning courses are delivered in partnership with a range of local providers and student placements are a feature of the school. This affords the school the ability to recruit the best trainee Teaching Assistants (TAs) and teaching students are frequently placed by a local university.
Covid improved relationships with parents as it improved communication by breaking down barriers. During the pandemic, the school became a support network for many families whom they started to feed and provide clothes for. Since then, the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) has been on the playground every day to speak to parents and greet pupils.
Importance of Attending
Attendance is a relentless focus, and habits have changed post-Covid as parents have become more protective of their children when they are unwell. Very strong pastoral relations with vulnerable families have helped build trust and this has seen an improvement in attendance, but staff want to go further. Currently, the school is in line with national which is a significant improvement. This has begun with parents in the nursery by making them aware of the importance of attending even though it is non-statutory. Consequently, attendance there is the highest it has ever been and the culture is slowly changing. All pupils are aware of the school’s magic attendance target of 97%.
Persistent absentees are also reducing but a hardcore remains representing a small number of families who have complicated personal and domestic lives characterised by temporary accommodation, Mental Health issues, and lengthy travel times. This is further exacerbated by a number of families who take extended unauthorised visits to family abroad. There is a heavy focus on the analysis of data and punctuality by staff which means that the attendance picture is clear and proactive. This includes phone calls, text messages, and home visits with letters being sent where patterns of single-day absences start to appear. There is a half-termly challenge for all classes who compete for a prize for their parents of a £25 voucher which has proved very popular. There is also a weekly class attendance award and class teachers are now more involved in attendance by sending a class Dojo message to parents on the first day of absence in a supportive and encouraging tone. This has heightened awareness and ensured that pupils return as quickly as possible thereby missing fewer days.
Accelerated reading is an effective tool for driving a love of reading and pupil engagement is very high as they can borrow books from a well-stocked library which is supported by pupil volunteers. All pupils have the chance to learn an instrument in Year 4 with the option to continue in Years 5 and 6 for those who want to.
The Rainbow Room, dedicated to supporting children with Autism, is currently oversubscribed, and unfortunately, no spaces are available at present. Admissions for this resource base are exclusively managed through Birmingham City Council SENAR.
Woodhouse Primary Academy commits to cultivating a nurturing environment where children can envision and plan for their future. The school acknowledges the uniqueness of each child and commits to investing in them individually, ensuring they are known, loved, and well-taught.
The Aims of the Academy include: Create a nurturing, secure, and happy environment fostering mutual care and respect; Maintain and develop high social and academic standards, empowering all children with a positive sense of achievement; Ensure equal opportunities for all students; Provide creative and diverse opportunities to stimulate holistic child development and a passion for learning; Encourage fundamental values and life skills, including responsibility, perseverance, integrity, trustworthiness, friendship, and compassion; Foster strong partnerships between home and school; Recognise and celebrate the success of all students.
Within the Greenheart Learning Partnership, a commitment is made to establish equality for all pupils, families, staff, and members of the school communities. This commitment extends to fostering positive attitudes, relationships, and a sense of cohesion and belonging. The partnership stands against all forms of discrimination, promoting equal value and respect for differences while addressing existing inequalities and barriers. The Trust facilitates an inclusion portfolio that encompasses SEND, PP, gender, emotional wellbeing, attendance, and punctuality, in fact, anything that can prevent a child from reaching their full potential. Pastoral workers and the Headteacher meet with class teachers to look at pupil progress with a specific area of focus each half term.
Where children can converse in similar languages they are encouraged to do so, English as an Additional Language (EAL) is a strength with one pupil telling our Assessor “I was new and I could not say Hi, but this is me now and I have only been here two years from Afghanistan. In my house, we speak three languages”.
Another commented “I love everything, especially the teachers because no one shouts, and they are nice to you. They are happy to tell you when you have done something wrong, and the teachers are not mad at you they just help you correct it. In my old school that I went to for 10 days, they got mad at me.”
Pupils feel a strong sense of belonging to school saying “I like how the Headteacher and teachers make such fun visits for us to do. We go to the German market, the library, swimming, and the secondary school.”
Another explained, “I feel really happy that I came to this school because they explain things so I can understand them and it helps my life.”
And one explained, “I am very happy at school, but I will feel sad when I have to leave to go to secondary school. I never miss a day because this school is fun and welcomes everyone. ”
Improve Their Environment
The school is an eco-school green flag (with distinction) award holder. This has involved pupils auditing the school and creating an action plan to improve their environment by joining the walk-to-school scheme, planting vegetables, and litter picking in the local community with parents. The eco team now comprises pupils from Year 1 up to Year 6 including those from the resource base to ensure continuity and consistency, they are very proactive at turning lights off, shutting doors, etc.
Woodhouse Primary Academy benefits from access to a CIC farm project as a result of the personal experiences of a staff member. The children with additional needs now regularly visit in order to tend to the animals, collect eggs, plant vegetables, etc. The animals have all been rescued and as a result, require attuned interactions that help develop the emotional skills of pupils therapeutically. The impact is that communication skills, confidence, self-esteem, and teamwork have improved considerably. The catering lead now provides food waste to go to the farm to feed the animals which complements the eco-school agenda.
Our Assessor added, “One staff member described the school as a broad church which has been borne out by my visit. The school is truly inclusive and has a can-do attitude that permeates every facet of school life. This stems from the strong values that underpin what the school is about and results in a culture where staff, pupils, and parents are happy. If they are not, they know they can speak to someone and as a result staff turnover is low. Stakeholders know they have agency to shape what happens in school which gives them greater self-belief and optimism for the future. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and have no hesitation in recommending Flagship status.”
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 protected] for further details.
Want more information on the IQM Award? Click here to request your free IQM information pack.