Following a recent visit from the Local Authority we were awarded the Inclusion charter mark. We are delighted to have received this letter from Mr Cooper, Senior School Improvement Officer.
26th October, 2011
Dear Mrs Chatburn,
Thank you for inviting me to visit your school to discuss the Inclusion Charter Mark. I am grateful to all colleagues, students, parents and governors for making the visit so purposeful and pleasurable. The preparation and presentation of policies and materials to support the process were outstanding. I am delighted to confirm the award of Liverpool LA Inclusion Charter Mark at Advanced Level and congratulate you all on this success. The award will last for 3 years until October 2014.
The process was conducted over the course of one and a half days and involved:
- An examination of key polices, IEPs, and action plans.
- A learning walk focussing on inclusive practices and provision.
- An examination of the SEF, School Development Plan and Inclusion Charter Mark Self Evaluation Tool.
- In depth discussions with parents, students, governors, support staff, SENCO, Inclusion Manager and Headteacher.
I have summarised below the judgements that have supported my decision:
- The Headteacher, SENCO and Inclusion Manager provide highly effective leadership ensuring the needs of vulnerable students are met. They provide staff with a good range of data and information about individual needs which colleagues draw upon in their planning and delivery of lessons and the tracking of pupil progress. The whole school professional development programme has been central to the development of inclusive practices. In addition, the school plays a lead role in the local SEN consortia and are very much championing the way forward.
- The school’s Inclusion Charter Mark Self Evaluation is detailed, accurate and comprehensively describes the many cohesive strategies that are in place to support students. The SEF is appropriately analytical, leading the school to establish clear priorities. It demonstrates that outcomes for all students and particularly vulnerable students are extremely positive. It evidences that the school has much good practice to share with other schools. The Heateacher has already responded to the new Ofsted framework by acting as a pilot school and rewriting the SEF to match the new Ofsted evaluation schedule.
- The School Development Plan (SDP) is clearly focused on raising standards further through continued improvements in learning and teaching. It ensures that the development of inclusive practices and improving the outcomes of vulnerable students are at the heart of the school’s work. The targets and actions are explicit enabling the outcomes to be carefully reviewed.
- School policies are clear and comprehensively set out the school’s commitment to inclusion and the many strategies in place. The school’s Disability Equality Scheme sets out the school’s commitment to people with disabilities. All policies are accessible to parents via the school’s website. Importantly the Governors and leadership team review the effectiveness of each policy.
- Support staff were aware of their responsibilities towards students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and are ensuring that all students are making good progress and are effectively cared for. They commented on the school’s caring ethos which clearly supported all students’ personal development. They related how their own performance management targets and personal in-service training was supporting them to make a full contribution. It was evident that everyone felt valued and gained a great deal of satisfaction from their roles. Support staff felt their relationships with classteachers were extremely positive. They welcomed the mechanisms in place that enabled these strong partnerships to develop.
- Governors spoke passionately about the school and were full of praise for the work of all of the staff. They had a clear understanding of the school’s many strengths and what it was doing to improve further. Their relationship with the Headteacher and Leadership Team is extremely positive. Importantly the governors recognised the high quality of information shared with them at governors meetings which enabled them to both support and challenge the school. The governors had considerable knowledge in relation to both special educational needs and inclusion and were able to draw upon this when supporting the school. Governors commented that the training opportunities to all governors were considerable and their induction and support to new governors was a strength of the school. A parent governor provided a strong testimony of the outstanding support provided to both staff and children.
- The parents interviewed were also full of praise for the school and very appreciative of all the staff and their dedication and commitment to their child’s education and well being. They felt communication with parents was highly effective. They noted they were fully informed about school life and about the positive progress their own child was making. Parents comment that the school has a ‘can do culture’ and ‘goes the extra mile’ for their children. Parents were keen to point out that significant support had been provided not only to their child but to themselves. This approach of supporting the whole family provided remarkable examples of the school’s outstanding contribution to the community. Again parents provided examples of not only the clubs and activities available to the children but also the training and activities provided specifically for them. Importantly they felt their children were thriving at the school and they could see developmental milestones being reached. Similarly, the students spoken to confirmed they felt happy and safe in school. They were each able to provide examples of how they were supported whether through additional equipment, in class support or additional intervention activities. They too felt they were making progress and clearly enjoyed their lessons and all that school provided.
- The ‘learning walk’ was conducted by the SENCO and Inclusion Manager. It provided an opportunity to see first hand the supportive and inclusive ethos and culture that is very much evident at Rice Lane Infant School. There were many examples of effective practice and it was evident that the school’s inclusive practices were embedded and highly effective. I was not surprised to learn that the school has recently hosted a visit form other schools on behalf of the LA to share its outstanding practice towards students with SEN. In addition having achieved Dyslexia Friendly School Status the Headteacher has supported the LA by visiting other schools as part of the verification team. This again promotes the sharing of best practice.
To conclude, as we discussed I feel the school is in a strong position to support other schools to develop their own inclusive practices.
I hope this captures the strong commitment towards inclusion that was very evident during my visit. I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Local Authority, to thank you all for all your hard work and dedication.
Senior School Improvement Officer
Safeguarding & SEN