Alt Bridge School in Huyton, Knowsley has achieved the Inclusion Quality Mark’s Inclusive School Award.
Alt Bridge School is a Special School in Huyton, Knowsley for children and young adults aged 11-18. Alt Bridge supports students with a range of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The needs of learners are predominately Autistic Spectrum Conditions and associated conditions. The majority of students also have mild to moderate learning difficulties. 55% of students are entitled to Free School Meals (FSM) in the main school and 48% in the post-16 provision, both of which are significantly above national averages. The income deprivation affecting children in Knowsley is at 33.7%, significantly higher than the national average of 19.9%.
A Visionary Leader
The current Headteacher took up post in 2019. She is a visionary leader who has clear ambitions for the school. Despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Headteacher has already implemented a variety of changes to improve students’ experiences at Alt Bridge, alongside responding to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and keeping everyone safe. The Headteacher described the inclusive vision as to
“ensure the best possible outcomes for students”.
There is a genuine, unwavering commitment to inclusive practice which informs all systems and approaches.
The Wellbeing Hub
One of the many changes implemented over the past couple of years is the Wellbeing Hub, which was established in 2020. The purposely designed centre is a safe haven for students and staff. It provides a calm space with three therapy rooms and offices where the students can visit during the day when they feel they need support to regulate or talk to a member of the Wellbeing Team. It is also the space where planned therapeutic sessions to support students’ mental health and wellbeing (MHWB) take place. If the children are feeling dysregulated, there are calm rooms throughout the school building which can be accessed during lessons, as required. There are five non-teaching Learning Mentors employed to support students throughout the day. This demonstrates the importance the Headteacher places on supporting students’ Mental Health and Wellbeing. It is a clear priority.
Staff Wellbeing Is A Priority
Staff wellbeing is also prioritised by Senior Leaders. All staff said that they feel fully supported. There is a genuine collegiate approach amongst the staff body. Staff are given many opportunities to further their careers at Alt Bridge. The continuing professional development (CPD) programme is centred around a coaching model to develop practice in a collaborative manner. All staff spoke positively of the coaching model and the impact on developing their practice through the opportunity to reflect and share best practices in a non-threatening environment.
Communication Is Positive
The reputation of the school in the local area is continuously growing. The group of parents and carers spoke positively of the school and staff. They feel that the staff communicate well with them and are very responsive. Parents and carers also feel that the school supports them well, as well as their children. They were particularly positive about the Wellbeing Team and how the staff “need cloning” due to the level of support they provide and how warm and approachable they are.
The Curriculum Meets Needs
The curriculum at Alt Bridge School has been recently redesigned to suit learners’ needs. The Curriculum Intent is articulated in the Curriculum, Assessment Teaching and Learning Policy as a “broad, balanced and engaging curriculum which is both differentiated and supplemented in order to meet the holistic needs of students. Our curriculum intent is to ensure that our students are well prepared for adulthood and are set up to achieve personal success in their chosen pathways”. The curriculum is now divided into different subject clusters to draw links across the different areas under a common theme. The seven clusters are “Innovation and Discovery, Thriving, Communication, Global, Arts, Virtual and Physical Development” curricula. With these seven themes, students will be developed holistically throughout their time at Alt Bridge School.
Inclusive Practice Is Excellent
The visit to Alt Bridge School was great and I enjoyed meeting the fantastic students. It is clear from the assessment process that Alt Bridge School meets the required standard to gain the Inclusive School Award with some areas of excellent inclusive practice, such as the Wellbeing Hub and links within the community. The Headteacher is undoubtedly committed to the inclusion agenda and has implemented many changes which, given time to embed, will lead to a fully inclusive educational experience with improved outcomes for all students.
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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