Inclusion Quality Mark
Date of Assessment: 12th July 2016
As an assessor for the Inclusion Quality Mark I very much enjoyed my assessment day at Perrymount Primary. This is a school where the happiness of children matters, and because of this, staff members enjoy their work and take joy in the smallest of progress steps made by any one of their pupils. I felt warmly welcomed and was carefully looked after throughout my visit. I observed and was told by parents of children with significant challenges that they and their children are happy to be able to say that Perrymount is part of their lives.
Perrymount Primary School is an inclusive educational environment with a nursery and a ‘virtual’ resource base for up to ten children with complex medical needs. The school is situated within a socially mixed area of Lewisham where pupils come from a variety of cultural and faith backgrounds and twenty different languages are spoken. Above average percentages of Perrymount pupils speak English as an additional language, move in or out of the school during a school year, have special educational needs or disabilities, are eligible to receive free school meals, and join the school nursery with a baseline level below that of their chronological age. Nevertheless 2015 SATs data shows that at the end of Key Stage 1, 100% of Perrymount pupils made at least expected progress, and that at the end of Key Stage 2 only ‘progress in reading’ was slightly below the national average, whilst progress in writing and maths, also reading writing and maths combined, were all above national levels.
Every professional spoken to on the day of the IQM assessment was strongly motivated by their desire to do their best for individual children, whether high achievers or otherwise. One teaching assistant described the efforts of herself and her colleagues as ‘moving mountains’ and the head teacher was clear that ‘Disability is not a barrier to success’.
One very creative intervention at Perrymount Primary School is the Music Makers group, singing, rhythm, percussion, sound-poetry, but so much more. This life- enhancing experience is offered 2-3 times per week to any child of any level of ability, who would benefit from the opportunity to communicate through making music
sharing, listening, taking turns, learning colours, developing language, developing co- ordination, developing confidence, and above all, laughing and having fun! A multi- skilled teacher leads the singing with her own confident voice, playing her instruments in a relaxed way whilst maintaining perfect class control in an atmosphere of total happiness and enjoyment.
At Perrymount it is the underlying ethos of inclusivity as the normal way of school life, expressed by numerous parents and staff members, that is so impressive. One experienced teacher who has worked in other schools, glowed as she said: “It’s a totally different feel here. I think it’s a unique setting – the attitude of the staff, the parents, and the community. The parents are so supportive, and the children – They look after each other. They are so protective. They are genuinely, genuinely, friends.”
There is no doubt in my mind that staff members at Perrymount have been carefully selected by the senior leadership team and governing body, to be the types of professional who already have the inclusion ethos as part of their own view of life.
More than a few staff members have worked at the school for many years and several told me how much they enjoy being part of such a good team. One spoke about the ‘can- do’ attitude of everyone, and that’s certainly something that I observed during my day at the school.
My thanks go to everyone who generously gave their time during the IQM assessment, and especially to Chris Keen the Head Teacher and Janet Bristow the SENDCo and IQM Coordinator who managed all of the considerable quantity of self-audit and pre- assessment paperwork and planning and who chaperoned me so carefully around the school. I wish I could include a comment about every area observed and every intervention discussed. I feel that the children, parents and professionals I met at Perrymount will understand that each of them contributed to a very positive IQM assessment outcome.
There are no areas requiring development before the Inclusion Quality Mark can be awarded, however I have made some simple suggestions for one or two things that the school might like to consider. I am of the opinion that Perrymount Primary School very well meets the standard required by the Inclusion Quality Mark and that it should be awarded the mark and assessed again in three years’ time.