Yew Tree Community Primary School in Knowsley achieves IQM Flagship status.
A Community School
Yew Tree is a community primary school with Designated Special Provision situated in Halewood. The school opened in September 2011 in brand new state of the art facilities. There are very close links with Halewood Academy who are co-located on the same campus; this close relationship ensures lots of opportunities for curriculum enrichment and also a smooth transition to secondary education for pupils at the end of year 6. Yew Tree is a small, friendly primary school, where they believe that “Every Child Matters”. They aim to give their pupils the best education possible and a superb level of pastoral care so that they learn well and are happy in school.
Commitment to Inclusion
The school continues its superb commitment to providing a highly inclusive teaching and learning environment for all pupils. This is reinforced by their mission statement’ ‘At Yew Tree we aim to provide all our children with a happy, safe, caring and stimulating learning environment. We work closely with all of our families to ensure that children’s unique, individual talents are developed and celebrated by promoting respect for all. All children are supported and encouraged to achieve the highest possible standards in everything they do, as part of an inclusive learning community. In our school children become valued members of society’. An absolutely superbly inclusive statement that every member of staff involved with the school believes in and works hard on a daily basis with the pupils to ensure it happens. This is truly a school where every pupil really does matter and is made to feel special. A fact I can attest to from the evidence of the review and from discussions with stakeholders. The school and staff are committed to providing the very highest standard of teaching and learning experiences which not only develop the pupils’ knowledge and skills.
Outstanding in Every Sense
In terms of inclusion, Yew Tree is an outstanding school in every sense. This was identified by Knowsley Public Health team who have involved the school in highlighting and exploring the issue of the emotional health and well-being of children and young people. The school has worked with Knowsley and a number of other schools to ensure that every school has a Mental Health and Well-Being Policy and, as a consequence of their work, their pupils were invited to work with Knowlsey Public Health team to produce a short film exploring the issues of mental health and well-being and promoting resilience and is included in the Knowlsey Public Health Annual Report. This will become part of a broader remit to include parental courses/workshops on Mental Health and Well-Being. It is clear that superb care, nurture and support are the foundation of inclusion which is at the heart of everything that happens on a daily basis at Yew Tree and seen in all interactions, from discussions with all stakeholders during the review and from the evidence provided. Identified through their attention to detail and in areas such as their drive to continue to develop a tailor-made curriculum for the pupils in the DSP and using their expertise in this area to provide support for mainstream pupils who need a more individual and tailored approach such as beginning the process of assessing pupils’ Sensory Needs in the mainstream and developing Sensory Diets and Sensory Circuits to support them. Everyone involved with the school including pupils and parents pull together to realise the school’s vision and understand that this is a superbly inclusive place to come to work and learn. A school that is clearly at the heart of its community where inclusion is a natural part of what normally happens in school, where pupils are encouraged to reach their full potential, where everyone involved is committed to the inclusion of all, whatever it takes. A school that is constantly looking at ways to develop for the benefit of the pupils and families that it serves. For example, they are the only school in Knowlsey to have an Attachment Lead, who demonstrates a secure knowledge around attachment difficulties and strategies to support pupils through training delivered, supporting pupils and producing supporting paperwork for staff and external agencies, detailing key issues and triggers and strategies known to help the pupils. The Attachment Lead also continues to develop bespoke training in Attachment for her own school and other education and care providers, such as schools, nurseries and Foster Carers. A fantastic demonstration of the school’s drive to continue to provide superb support both in-house and externally to ensure pupils’ needs are met. They should be commended for this approach.
Heart of the Community
A school that is at the heart of its community where inclusion is a natural part of the very fabric of the school and a place where superb care, nurture and support naturally occur. There is a calm, happy, stimulating, vibrant learning environment throughout the school with a focus on helping pupils to develop the skills they need to be active participants in their community and in society. Everyone I met was helpful and spoke very positively about their experience at the school. A school with a focus on improving the attainment and wider outcomes for all students and not just promoting the learning of the lowest or highest achievers. As with the previous review, it is clear to see that the school`s actions to care for pupils in my judgement is superb.
Pupils are Valued for Who They Are
Everything the school does, is for the benefit of their pupils. They are valued for who they are and what they will become, no matter their starting point. The staff are exceptionally positive about the school and naturally go the extra mile and beyond without thought to ensure that the individuals and groups of pupils’ needs are met. There is a superb quality of support, care and nurture within the school that enhances the provision at the school. Staff I spoke to in meetings or around the school are justifiably proud of what they achieve both professionally and in terms of support for the pupils and themselves. They work exceptionally hard to ensure that needs are met, it is very clear to see walking around the school that there is mutual respect and care that is evident across the staff body; and a fantastic rapport between the staff, the pupils in the school and between the staff at all levels. A mutual regard and respect that shines through.
A Clear Vision
Staff, led by the Head Teacher and her senior team, have a clear vision for the school and their pupils and a relentless determination and drive for all to succeed. This came across very clearly in meetings and discussions with staff at all levels and with the pupils I met and talked to and is a very real strength of this outstanding and superbly inclusive school. The behaviour and safety of pupils seen during this review was exemplary. Everyone involved should be immensely proud of the way they conduct themselves around the school. Pupils, through a variety of different opportunities, have a strong pupil voice. Parents are well informed of their children’s progress and what they can do to support the school and their child’s development. This partnership is a very clear key strength of the school, parents and governors are actively involved in shaping and developing the vision of the school and communicating extremely effectively through its website, letters, texts and social media.
An IQM Flagship School
Having completed a rigorous and thorough review and having discussed and agreed the targets cited in the report and their involvement in and capacity to support and attend Cluster Group meetings and understanding that their involvement will form a significant part of their next annual Review, I am of the opinion that Yew Tree Community Primary School remains a school with the Inclusion agenda at the forefront of everything it provides for its students. The setting is superb providing an excellent teaching and learning environment for teachers, support staff, pupils and the local community. They have proved their expertise over the years of IQM accreditation and I believe they have the drive and capacity to be a Flagship School. I recommend, without reservation, that the school moves to Flagship status and is reviewed in one year’s time.
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