Ysgol Heulfan in Wrexham has achieved Flagship School status for the third time.
The Headteacher’s welcome statement on the website perfectly epitomises the inclusive ethos. The Headteacher explains how the school
“believes in fostering a happy and hard-working atmosphere based on sound interpersonal relationships between children and staff. We constantly strive to create a school environment that is caring and stable”.
There is a genuine commitment to, and focus on, inclusion; it truly is the centre of everything they do. Through the broad educational experiences offered at Ysgol Heulfan, the children are developed as a whole. This is articulated in the Headteacher’s welcome in which she says,
“our main aim is to provide a caring, friendly and stimulating environment where each child is treated as an individual and actively encouraged to do the best that he/she can, socially, morally and academically”.
The Y Canol
The Assistant Headteacher who leads provision in Y Canol describes it as the heart of the school. There are currently 27 learners accessing provision there and eight pupils who access their learning in the Designated Provision, which provides specialist support for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) needs. The facilities for children with additional learning needs are excellent. There is a Hydrotherapy pool, Sensory Stimulation Room, a Multipurpose Room, with an Opti beam interactive lighting system, and a kitchen with height adjustable stations. The Soft-play Room has recently been refurbished with money from a grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation. Children with additional learning needs thrive.
Wellbeing of All is Important
The Leaders at Ysgol Heulfan look after their staff, children and families and say that the “wellbeing of all” is held as “absolute”. They describe how they are
“wraparound care for all stake holders, as it is important, they know we can help, and they can trust us”.
The school is hugely involved with the community and has seen the significant impact of their work through the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) project. Due to the success of the community engagement work, Estyn included Ysgol Heulfan as a Case Study in their ‘Community schools’: families and communities at the heart of school life’ report in July 2020. The report explains how “the school serves an area of social and economic deprivation in Wrexham” and that “when the school appointed the current headteacher, leaders realised there was a real need to improve the school’s parental engagement and community involvement”. The school is now seen as the “go to” hub in the community.
Communication is Excellent
Excellent communication and relationships between home and school mean that parents feel comfortable to approach the staff if they need any additional support. Parents’ opinions are valued and are regularly sought to inform whole school improvement planning. Ultimately, this strong partnership work further enhances the pupils’ wellbeing and ability to thrive at school. This academic year, the school has engaged with the Welsh Children’s Commissioner ‘Super Ambassadors’ scheme which aims to promote children’s rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children in schools across Wales.
A Fully Inclusive Curriculum
To provide a fully inclusive curriculum in Physical Education, the school purchased a new scheme in the Summer Term. It is an online platform with schemes of work and resources to support high quality PE lessons. The focus is on inclusion, challenge and support for every child. There are videos on each of the skills in lessons which allow the children to observe the skill being expertly modelled. This can be played on repeat, as many times as required. The feedback from teachers about the implementation of the new scheme over the past eight weeks is highly positive as they feel more confident delivering the content. They also feel that with the videos to model the skills, they are freed up to provide scaffolding and support on an individual basis. The sessions can be fully differentiated so that all children can participate and achieve, including the pupils with profound physical difficulties.
Pupils Enjoy School
There is an embedded growth mindset at Ysgol Heulfan. The pupils explained how
“if you can’t do something yet, you keep trying until you can”.
The pupils are given a choice over the level of challenge in lessons and will often push themselves to attempt the more challenging levels as they are not afraid of taking risks. Pupils enjoy working collaboratively and the ‘Talking Partner’ approach means that they get to work with a different member of their class each week. They recognise
“it is easier when you can share your ideas”
“like to hear what others are thinking”.
When asked what the best aspect of school life was, one child responded,
“when we all learn together”
and another said,
“the teachers are kind” and “we get to learn new things”.
The pupils clearly enjoy attending Ysgol Heulfan and their enthusiasm for learning came across in all dialogues.
It is an Exceptional School
Ysgol Heulfan is an exceptional school where pupils are nurtured, and families are well cared for. The Leaders have a sensible approach to whole-school development; they don’t just do things for the sake of it. All decisions are founded on evidence of need, with thorough research being carried out before any new initiatives are introduced. All areas of provision are synthesised to create a holistic, inclusive approach. The staff are innovative, and the school is a beacon of excellent practice, particularly for the provision of pupils with additional learning 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: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
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