Latest NewsPosted on: 12/01/2023
St Mary’s C of E Primary School Achieves an Inclusive School Award with a Centre of Excellence status
St Mary's C of E Primary School have achieved an Inclusive School Award with a Centre of Excellence status, please read below all about it from IQM (Inclusion Quality Mark) who assessed the school.
Warm Welcome Awaited Immediately
Our Assessor said it was a total pleasure spending the day at St Mary’s C of E Primary School in Chiddingfold. A warm welcome awaited immediately when greeted by the cheerful and helpful site manager who directed them to the parking spot for the day. The children were out in the playground completing a ‘Santa dash’ race to raise money and the school had a large wooden nativity scene displayed at the entrance. It was clear to see how hard everyone has worked to create such a wonderful environment and the leadership qualities of the Headteacher and the Senior Leadership Team have played a major role in creating such an inclusive and important hub for the community.
St Mary’s is a small, one form entry (double Y5 bulge year) village primary school for children aged 4-11 in the heart of the Chiddingfold community. The surrounding area is rural and spacious and the school is fortunate to have the use of an adjoining council owned field and tennis courts for PE and other outdoor pursuits.
The school positively promotes strong Christian values, they have a collective worship every day. Currently there are 220 pupils on role. Being a small school means all staff contribute greatly to school decisions, outcomes and ensuring every child feels included and valued.
Each week, all school staff including the site manager, support staff and kitchen staff, are invited to pastoral meetings to enable them to be informed and aware of all children in the school’s care.
Support for Families
The school caters for children with a wide range of needs. Out of the children identified as having SEND, some have a communication and interaction difficulty, some have a cognition and learning difficulty, some have a social and emotional mental health difficulty, some have EAL and some have a sensory and/or physical difficulty.
There are also children supported through Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) with a handful currently being assessed and some pending. The school may be small in number, but this highlights the areas of need more keenly.
The Headteacher explained about the hidden layer of cohort families that are feeling the cost-of-living crisis now, where before they may not have. However, this layer does not qualify for Government extra help. The school are doing what they can to support these families.
The school was judged as ‘good’ in their last Ofsted inspection in July 2019.
The report recognised that “The personal development and welfare of pupils is outstanding. Pupils leave St Mary’s as confident, articulate people who are ready to play their part in the wider community.”
And, “Pupils’ progress and standards of attainment have risen significantly since the last inspection. Pupils’ attainment at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2 have risen to above national averages. They make good progress, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities and the most able.”
Genuine, Solid Commitment
At St Mary’s C of E Primary School, there is a genuine, solid commitment to inclusive practice which informs all systems and approaches. The school vision statement is “Through humility, courage and devotion, we blossom and grow” and the staff are continually challenging themselves to look for ways to support their pupils under their four main values of Respect, Wisdom, Hope and Community.
The Headteacher will accept and welcome all children into the school, regardless of need or background.
The Leadership Team are deeply passionate about, and committed to, the inclusion agenda.
They want to make a difference to all the children and improve their opportunities in life.
The pupils were very happy and enthusiastic about school and totally engaged in their learning. The pupils know that they have a strong voice and they will be listened to. One member of the eco council our Assessor talked to was articulate, knowledgeable, and very impressive. She was determined to do what she could to address all areas to make St Mary’s as environmentally aware as possible. She was very vocal in her opinion around the recent Astro turf being laid to create an all-weather surface for the school but was willing to discuss further ways to offset this by creating a wildflower meadow along one side of it.
A member of the Y6 Leadership team also corroborated the sense of pupil voice being strong in the school he said, “Our little voices become one big voice and we are listened to”.
Staff understand that confidence and self-esteem have a major impact on a child’s ability to learn and they behave in a way that demonstrates their belief that every child has strengths and positive attributes.
Communication is Good
Parents and carers speak highly about the support and school experience their children receive. Communication is good and they felt they were welcome at any time. Many parents help out at the school, reading with the children, being members of the very strong and active PTA and offering curriculum enrichment through work connections.
The Headteacher has accurately evaluated the provision and is aware of the areas which need to be developed to keep moving the school forward. All leaders know their staff well and deploy them effectively to have a positive impact on pupils. They recognise the importance of improving the quality of teaching and learning as they want the pupils to leave with the best outcomes academically, as well as developing the wider skills they acquire through the holistic curriculum.
Teachers have a good understanding of the factors which influence pupils’ mindsets and their ability to learn. They understand that behaviour is a communication, the reasons why need to be investigated and supported. This is also done in a bespoke way and individual SEMH needs are met with empathy and compassion, involving the parents/carers with no judgement.
There are adaptations and reasonable adjustments made to support all learners, whatever their needs may be in all key stages. The relationships between staff and individual children are strong and the staff get to know each individual child, what their interests are and how they learn best.
Teachers and support staff work effectively together to meet the needs of the learners. They are flexible with their approaches to ensure all children can access the provision.