Wyvil Primary School in Lambeth has been assessed for the second time and has become a Centre of Excellence.
Wyvil is a large primary school with nursery, specialist language provision and ASD centre on a separate site, serving a diverse population in Stockwell, south-west London, in the borough of Lambeth. The catchment area is one of significant deprivation with around 45% of pupils eligible for FSM. A large proportion of pupils are from ethnic minorities (around 90%), with around 41% of pupils being from the Portuguese community as well as significant numbers of children from Caribbean and African backgrounds. Many children are at the early stages of EAL when they enter nursery or reception. There is a larger than average number of pupils with SEND (43%) and 7% have EHCPs. The school includes children with speech and language needs in its language centre in the main building and up to 56 children with ASD in its newly opened building, Aurora House.
A Warm, Welcoming School
The school is very welcoming and the very warm, friendly ethos of the school is apparent from the outset. There is a calm, happy, purposeful atmosphere and the environment is bright and very positive throughout the school with beautiful displays in the corridors, halls and classrooms. The Headteacher and SLT, set the tone for the supportive, caring, inclusive framework. They lead by positive example with very high ambitions for its pupils and believe all children can succeed while ensuring all aspects of inclusion and children’s individual needs are focused on. The school’s high aspirations for its pupils includes a desire for them to ‘stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone else in the country by the end of KS2’. The school is an important part of its community and it ensures that the languages and cultures of the children are highlighted, celebrated and built upon throughout the school. There are several Portuguese speaking staff who provide excellent support for children and families. The school’s teaching and learning strategies that involve collaboration and flexible, small classes and groups according to need, ensure that all children are supported and challenged appropriately, with excellent outcomes. The senior team listens to staff, parents and pupils and is highly respected by all with the result that everyone in the school works hard as a team to achieve the best possible outcomes for pupils.
A Cohesive Team Approach
Teaching and support staff work exceptionally well together to do their very best for all pupils. They spend a lot of time in planning thoroughly to meet their pupils’ individual needs and in the detailed marking of pupils’ work. They are positive and energetic and are fully committed to the pupils and to the school. They share the common, inclusive vision and they feel they have excellent support and resources to enable them to do their work. Staff are encouraged and enabled to develop their skills through a range of excellent CPD opportunities that have a strong focus on teaching, learning and inclusion. Opportunities include peer observation both within the school and across the schools in the federation. Lessons are planned in detail, ensuring they are interesting and challenging for everyone and there are many imaginative and exciting activities planned for pupils. Features of lessons include a very strong focus on developing talk and broadening vocabulary, assessment for learning strategies including higher order questioning, peer and self-assessment and feedback marking; flexible groups to enable a focus on appropriate strategies such as paired reading, Read Write Inc. and Number Masters; talking partners; collaboration; the use of visual resources and philosophy for children to encourage ideas and discussion. Examples of the rich curricular opportunities include a wide range of trips that are linked to each topic and many school clubs and booster/tuition classes. Middle leaders, including two literacy coordinators and a Maths coordinator provide exceptional leadership in these key areas. There is exceptional support for children with SEND in mainstream classes and in the nurture group within the main school, for children with Speech and Language needs, where high quality teaching and support enables children to make excellent progress. Children with ASD also receive high quality provision within the ASD centre.
Pupils are very happy, polite, articulate, friendly, enthusiastic and caring and behave very well around the school, in their lessons and in the playground. They speak very highly of their school and its staff, for whom they have great respect and they know that they are listened to and cared for. Pupils enjoy learning and they explain how the teachers encourage and challenge them and make learning fun. There are opportunities for pupils to take on roles of responsibility in the school including the school council, peer mediators and the rights’ respecting team. Pupils are confident, reflective and engage in mature discussion with ease. Comments made by pupils include
“I like this school because teachers make learning exciting and topics always include a trip”, “We celebrate all cultures. No one feels left out. We include everyone and have equality”, “We are all friends and we try to keep everyone happy”, “We have international day to celebrate where you come from. We had the Portuguese Prime Minister come to visit”, “There is no right or wrong way to learn: there are different possibilities”.
Peer mediators spoke about how they enjoy helping others and how the scheme has helped them,
“I feel proud of myself and successful because children look up to me”, “It has helped me gain confidence and has made me more mature”, “It has helped me to solve problems and will help me in the future”.
Pupils achieve exceptionally well and staff work very hard to ensure they are continually improving. Progress is rigorously monitored half termly and individual targets are set for all pupils. A thorough tracking system ensures that pupils who are not progressing are targeted for interventions, such as reading recovery, where needed. There are rewards for pupils to celebrate their many achievements, which they are very proud and pleased to receive. As a result of excellent learning and teaching the progress of all pupils is exceptional and the Raise online data for the end of KS2 indicates pupils are achieving well above national averages.
Excellent Relationships with Parents
The school has fostered excellent relationships with parents and it finds many ways to communicate with them and to involve them in the life of the school. Parents speak very highly of the school and its staff. A group of parents spoken to, including those whose children have additional needs, explained the thorough, caring and effective approach that the school takes towards meeting their children’s needs. The school listens to its parents and holds a number of workshops and courses to support parents in supporting their children. Relationships are built from the very early stages with excellent family support during the EYFS stage. The coordinator of EYFS organises home visits and stay and play sessions where activities are set up to show parents how to help their children at home. The home-school book is also an excellent communication tool. The Deputy Headteacher, who leads on this area of work, knows the families very well and ensures that their needs are met, including those on pupil premium. Parents feel that communication with the school is excellent: the Headteacher and senior staff are always available to speak with them. They appreciate the variety of school events; the extended provision and parents also act as volunteers in the school. Parents mentioned the holiday stay and play sessions for nursery and reception, the ESOL classes for parents, the amazing graduation ceremony for year 6 and the support for transition to secondary school. Comments from parents included,
“I bring my children a long way to come here’, “This is a really happy place for children to be”, “My children only started here in January and they have made a lot of progress, especially in English. They are speaking English now and they love school, which is so much better than in their previous school”.
At Aurora House a family inclusion lead ensures that parents have excellent communication with the school and that their needs are met through the provision of coffee mornings, support and advice from external services, open mornings and regular newsletters. A parent spoken to stressed the superb support his family has received,
“It’s a great school, like an extended family. They ask us what we need and how they can help and they bring in experts to speak to us”.
A parent wrote a long letter praising the school,
“I cannot praise the school and its staff highly enough and I will continue to recommend this school to other parents because of how happy the children all are and how they are thriving. This in turn leaves me as a parent confident my daughter is in the best place to learn and grow”.
A Positive Reputation in the Local Community
The school has a positive reputation in the local community and pupils engage in a number of local projects and charities as well as participating in local events. There are many links that the school has developed to ensure that its pupils have access to a range of high quality, world class, exciting opportunities. These include links with the Royal Ballet, the Oval Cricket Club, the South Bank Centre, the Royal Opera House, the Polka Theatre, English Touring Opera and ’Farms for City Children’ to name but a few, as well as links with an art gallery, a local secondary school and with other local schools in its dynamic federation and learning cluster. Many visitors attend the school to enrich curricular opportunities. There are excellent extended services, including a thriving breakfast club and many clubs, including a wide range of sports’ opportunities from tennis to gymnastics, running and Tae Kwon Do. All staff, parents, governors and pupils spoken to were extremely positive about the school’s work. There is a very genuine sense of team effort here, of mutual support, of listening, discussing and of including everyone. The school is a dynamic place for learning for staff and pupils. It is part of a teaching school alliance and offers teacher training through various routes. Several members of staff have become Specialist Leaders of Education and disseminate their excellent teaching strategies to other schools’ staff The Governing Body is fully committed to the school’s vision and they play a very positive, active and supportive role in the school.
Exceptional Features of the School
Exceptional features of this school include the very strong, collaborative leadership leading to excellent staff team-work; the exceptional behaviour and positive, learning attitudes of pupils; the strong focus on celebrating and building upon the languages and cultures of the school community; the excellent model of teaching and learning and the very high expectations and aspirations for all children within an inclusive framework.
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