The following five schools have achieved the Inclusion Expert Award of Excellence. These schools all show a proven record in Inclusion. The Pupil Premium Handbook was used in part in some of these schools; in others, existing ways of working are well entrenched; in one – an independent school, where the Pupil Premium policy doesn’t apply – we noted a deep commitment to Inclusion at the local and international levels. These five schools received their awards at The House of Commons on Wednesday 21 May 2014.
Tavistock College, Devon is an example of how a school can involve all the pupils in a curriculum that suits their needs and interests; it has imaginatively ensured that gaps have been closing rapidly and all pupils can succeed.
Valentines High School, Ilford, Essex has a pupil population where many pupils have additional learning and communication needs. Through effective planning and systematic training virtually no significant gaps exist between groups of pupils or subjects.
Newall Green Primary School, Wythenshawe, South Manchester experiences pupils with some of the highest levels of deprivation. Through processes that catch everyone, all pupils can experience the highest standards of care and enjoy success.
Kings School, Macclesfield, Cheshire has pupils who not only achieve sustained academic success, but also experience working effectively in their own community for the good and wellbeing of others.
Lister Community School, Newham, London has worked tirelessly for the integration of all its pupils from wide and varied backgrounds into an inclusive and harmonious learning community.
Tavistock College, Devon
This is an 11-18 school set in rural Devon on a large campus. The Principal, Helen Salmon, and the Vice Principal, Aimee Mitchell, were seconded there over three years ago to support the college, before being appointed permanently to raise standards and improve inclusion. In the most recent inspection report in November 2013, it was judged as being a ‘highly inclusive school’.
Aimee Mitchell is specifically responsible for inclusion. “I can give an educational definition of inclusion as having high aspirations and expectations of every student, linked to equality of opportunity”, she said, “or simply spotting early what is going right or wrong for all students, then formulating actions to support improvement, with regular review: it’s about having a joined-up approach”.
There are no selection or admissions procedures; this is a truly comprehensive school, taking children from its locality and beyond, with 58% of students bussed in. The college’s attitude to behaviour is not merely about rewards and sanctions, but about safer working practices, within the promotion of emotional literacy. The recent inspection report judged that, “The ethos in this college is now firmly based on the personal, social and moral values promoted by the governing body and college leaders. Students at the college are generally respectful and courteous. They are proud of their school and of their achievements within it”. Additionally, “the high expectations of students’ behaviour are made clear from when they start in Year 7, and the effectiveness of support for students with behavioural needs is exemplary”. There have been no permanent exclusions in over a year and fixed term exclusions are low.
The high level of inclusion can be seen in terms of support for the 36% of the college population of students with additional learning and communication needs. Through the development of a highly personalised, demand-led curriculum pathway, students can achieve qualifications through a very different approach and this coupled with effective support mechanisms for students who have barriers to learning has resulted in the college having 0% NEETs. Re-engagement was judged as an area of strength in the inspection. Elements of a personalised curriculum, “improve confidence and self-esteem”, for those most at risk. “Opportunities to work with animals are provided to support and motivate students”. This is a major strength, as students acquire skills and accreditation in Small Animal Care and a range of practical subjects. The college has named dogs to help them, Sheba and Rascal.
The college spends its Pupil Premium wisely; there is extra academic support for students in the core subjects, the use of TUTE, an electronic online facility to keep all students involved in school, as well as an off-site academic programme for a small number of at-risk students.
Inclusion has spread widely into the community and beyond, supporting local food growers and distributing to the elderly. It is heavily involved with the regional Army Cadet Force. It widely gives information about its successes and parents feel particularly well informed. As the Principal, Helen Salmon, said, “the vision for the school is comprehensive in the best sense, we believe in enabling all to succeed and we are striving towards inclusive excellence.”
The Vice Principal, Aimee Mitchell, reviewed the Inclusion Expert Pupil Premium Handbook. “Of course, we had nothing like this when we set off on our journey; we had to make up our own! I’m confident that organisations will find this whole process invaluable in their own personalised journey to create inclusive excellence.”
Aimee Mitchell then applied the criteria from the Declaration of Human Rights of the Child (1959) for the Inclusion Expert Award of Excellence in her school. Using evidence from a variety of sources, it was easy to produce a portfolio of work that judged the college against the criteria to successfully gain the award. As it says itself, “this is a highly inclusive school”.
Valentines High School, Ilford, Essex
Valentines High School is in Ilford, Essex and has over 1350 students aged 11 to 19. The head teacher, Sylvia Jones, believes that the school is particularly inclusive as the needs of each individual child are met. The school provides extensive training for staff and evaluates all their work; they run their own research into their improvements.
The school is truly multicultural, over 90% of students use English as an additional language; there are many faiths within the school, but no single one is promoted over the rest. Additionally, there are 4 times the national average for the number of students with additional learning and communication needs. Due to its academic and social successes with such diverse students over time, it has become heavily over-subscribed.
“The ethos of the school is not merely a monoculture, with add-ons for other minority culture – it is truly multicultural”, said the Head. There is a real focus on the many disparate groups that compose the whole school. As the Head Teacher commented, “there may be discord among groups in the community, but we all work hard to maintain harmony within the school itself.” Parents are involved in school life: the Head organises coffee mornings for Somali mothers, who are traditionally hard to reach, and community mentors translate school newsletters and documents.
The Head evaluated the school’s three most successful Inclusion strategies. Firstly, intervention for everyone. In this there is no stigma attached to any help or support. Secondly, for every child to achieve his or her best the whole school is involved, not just the SENCO. The school’s tracking system is highly effective in recording individual success. Through vertical tutoring and a completely integrated sixth form, there is more mentoring time for groups, which are mixed ages and 20 per group.
The impact of spending the Pupil Premium has been significantly effective. Following some bespoke training, the school used the Pupil Premium Handbook successfully. The school spends on expected activities such as classroom interventions, but uses the Premium to enhance Inclusion on an individual basis as well. Consequently, the Pupil Premium gap is one of the smallest in the country, as Pupil Premium students now do better than non-Pupil Premium students nationally, based on 36% Free School Meals in the school. There is no gap between attainment in English and mathematics.
Other measures are equally impressive. Attendance and punctuality are significantly above national averages. There have been permanent exclusions in recent years and only one of racism. The Head puts this down to exceptional pastoral processes, with a clear anti-bullying policy, buddies, and electronic reporting for nervous students. The Head said, “We are a school where continuous and up to date training ensure a staff who can recognise triggers for issues and deal with them quickly and sensitively. We take Inclusion very seriously and use our foreign links to develop our students’ understanding of the wider world. This is how we achieved the British Council Global Schools Award.”
Using the assessment criteria for the Inclusion Expert Award of Excellence, the school achieved all criteria.
Newall Green Primary School, South Manchester
Sarah Rudd has been the Headteacher for six years. There are 670 children on roll, with about one in three having additional learning or communication needs. This is a highly inclusive school, where individual children’s needs are addressed.
Governors are heavily involved in the review of policies and the School relies on rewards to help children manage their own behaviour. In the last two years there has only been one instance of a child being excluded. Sarah Rudd said: “We promote high levels of self-esteem and not letting young people feel a failure at such an early age; we work hard as a team to make their experiences in school positive.”
Ruth Moran, Assistant Head with responsibility for Inclusion, explained the School’s vision in this way: “We make access for everyone. This is seen in the curriculum, which fulfils all national obligations and has extensive enrichment activities, both before and after school for free. We are proud of these additional activities, children go camping on residential trips, we bring outside speakers in to enhance learning and children acquire new skills like build a bike.”
Dealing with a large budget for the Pupil Premium, the School bought in a system for electronically monitoring how money was spent, and the impact on individual children. Sarah Rudd explained: “There was no Pupil Premium framework or training, but having looked at the process involved for this pilot it would have been particularly useful for a school like ours.”
Tom, the Parental Support Officer, said “The School is a haven of protection for all children. They are completely safe in school. With over 55% of the School receiving the Pupil Premium, we have very much become a hub of the community, with children as young as two at the School. I am proud to say we support all children and their families. For instance, when children have come to school without shoes we have gone out and bought them; when a girl had no party dress for the school disco we went out and bought her one; when a family goes hungry we provide boxes of food, and when parents need help navigating the benefits system we offer advice. We do this because we believe in an holistic approach and we want no child to be left out.”
The criteria for the Inclusion Expert Award of Excellence were applied to the School. It easily fulfilled all the criteria and achieved the Award. When asked to judge the school’s level of Inclusion the Head mentioned success in terms of academic achievement, attendance and punctuality, but most importantly in terms of happy children who want to come to school and aspire to do their best. Questionnaires sent to parents confirm that this school is the beating heart of the community.
King’s School, Macclesfield, Cheshire
Dr Simon Hyde is the Headmaster of this successful and well-respected independent day school for 1260 pupils aged 3-18. It has enjoyed continual academic success for over 500 years, and was originally set up in the reign of Henry VI for local children to receive a full and rounded education.
King’s School in Macclesfield has become the first independent school in the country to be given the Inclusion Expert Award of Excellence.
Harry Norton (11), who raises huge amounts of money for The Seashell Trust charity to help his two younger disabled brothers, was presented with the School’s certificate from triple gold 2012 Olympian, Sophie Christiansen OBE.
King’s School, which has been a well-respected centre of educational excellence for hundreds of years, is hailed as an example of how a school can involve all its pupils in a curriculum that suits their needs and interests. Its pupils not only achieve sustained academic success, but also work effectively in their community for the wellbeing of others.
The Head is Dr Simon Hyde. He explains: “We positively encourage all our pupils to get involved in as wide a range of activities as possible, knowing that these interests teach young minds so much about life, themselves and others.”
Daniel Sobel, Founder and Lead Consultant of Inclusion Expert, says: ”I am proud that today Inclusion Expert has recognised the outstanding work done by King’s School to ensure that all its pupils, whatever their background or ability, are included in the life of the school and are encouraged to reach their greatest potential.”
The School does not qualify for the Pupil Premium but offers bursaries to about one in six young people and has around 150 pupils with specific learning or communication difficulties, who are effectively supported in the classroom.
The School actively promotes programmes within its community – and beyond. There are extensive examples of young people helping others develop a keen sense of right and wrong. For example, over 450 children have benefited from the work of sixth formers outside the School, in activities of science and drama that develop team-building skills. The School is also one of the largest Duke of Edinburgh authorising centres in the North of England with around 200 students each year working on the Awards and volunteering more than 1,000 hours of community service every year.
Dr Hyde explains the School’s commitment to inclusion. “We want our students to do well academically but we also want them to take responsibility within their own community and inclusion within it.”
With music being a big part of the School’s ethos, pupils have raised funds for the roof of a local church by putting on a concert. Another group of more than 30 students went to Namibia to build a water supply for a village. The pupils raised the money for the trip themselves.
The School’s links with two schools in Ghana have been extended and enhanced through recycling old furniture, sports equipment and setting up a library. Sports development has been also been extensive with the School hosting national events and touring teams to other countries.
Caroline Johnson is the School’s Director of External Relations. She applied the criteria for the Inclusion Expert Award of Excellence and deduced that her school achieved all the principles required from the United Nations Declaration of Rights of the Child. An independent expert then assessed this. She said: “We are proud to be at the heart of our community and instrumental in providing activities that benefit other children and organisations, both locally and internationally, that help to develop our own students and their sense of inclusion.”
Lister Community School, Newham, London
Lister Community School is in Newham in London, and has 1300 students aged 11 to 16. The Head Teacher is Anthony Wilson and the Deputy, Eileen Griffin, assumes responsibility for monitoring the Pupil Premium; effectively she is also responsible for Inclusion in the school.
For Eileen, “Inclusion is giving every pupil the right to as good an education as anywhere else, yet adapting the curriculum so that pupils can achieve to the best of their potential.”
The composition of the school is extremely diverse: many hundreds of pupils use English as an additional language, with the fullest range of community languages represented; pupils with additional learning needs form another significant group, with 10% of students overall with profound and multiple learning difficulties, as many enter the schools with lower P Levels.
The gaps between groups and core subjects have been closing over time. Between gifted and talented there is little variation, for mathematics and English the gaps has decreased over recent years and SEN pupils are catching up on non-SEN achievement.
Over time the use of the Pupil Premium funding has had a significant effect on closing the gaps and making the school more inclusive. From the start the school took a strategic view of this additional funding. There was a move to improve teaching and learning by replacing less successful teachers with more knowledgeable ones. The curriculum was adapted to suit the individual needs of all pupils.
As a result attendance has improved beyond the national average to 95%, punctuality is no longer an issue and pupils have enjoyed some alternative activities, such as a trip to the Eden Project in Cornwall, as well as bringing in year 6 pupils two weeks early to settle into their secondary education.
Lister Community School has worked tirelessly for the integration of all its pupils from wide and varied backgrounds into an inclusive and harmonious learning community. Daniel Sobel, Founder of Inclusion Expert, says of Lister: “It keeps division and strife that can lead to trouble out of school, despite a thriving local gangland culture. As a result, students don’t associate merely in ethnic groupings but get on noticeably well and achieve success together.”
There have been no permanent exclusions in recent years as this is a harmonious community, where pastoral care is vertically grouped to ensure that older pupils help younger ones, including those with additional needs.
The school has put effort into Gangline, a charity devoted to reducing the culture of gangs, an issue of significant in the locality. Youth workers support students at risk and help them to feel part of society, rather be left out. As a result Lister Community School has students who do not associate merely in ethnic groupings but get on noticeably well and achieve success together.