Woodthorpe Primary School gains Inclusion Quality Mark and becomes a Centre of Excellence for inclusion

Woodthorpe Primary School has been praised for its work on inclusion, becoming the first primary school in the city to receive the Inclusion Quality Mark (IQM).

Following a lengthy process of self-evaluation, feedback and a formal two-day assessment visit from assessors, Woodthorpe has not only been awarded the IQM but has also been named as a Centre of Excellence for inclusion.

The IQM provides UK schools with a nationally recognised validation of their inclusive practice and ongoing commitment to developing educational inclusion. Schools must be able to demonstrate that inclusion has a school-wide impact and is sustainable. The Centre of Excellence Award recognises those IQM Inclusive Schools which continue to demonstrate a commitment to outstanding levels of inclusive best practice. 

The IQM states that in a school or education setting, inclusion means that every child and every adult who learns and works in a school is valued and whose educational and personal needs are met, and that it is also about parents and the community in which the school exists. 

In the IQM report, the assessor stated that at Woodthorpe “Every member of the school community exhibits an unwavering commitment to the pupils, school and community” going on to say that “This is a school community underpinned and framed by four key values – respect, challenge, skills for life and sport. Both equity and equality are championed for all, as depicted in the school vision statement: “Our school is a happy, exciting and caring community in which each child thrives”.”

During their visit to Woodthorpe Primary, assessors spoke to parents who praised leaders, staff and other stakeholders for their work with parents “to find solutions to any issues they face.” One parent shared, “we are lucky to have Woodthorpe. They go to every corner to make it happen. Fight to make it happen. Fight their corner.”

The school is praised for its progress and achievements, its aspirations, its “inviting yet low sensory” learning environments, its bespoke spaces and its inclusive culture. The strength of the school leaders is also recognised, with the assessor reporting that “the determined approach of the Executive Headteacher and Head of School, who lead with warmth, humour and humility” has led to a transformation in the school over the last two years.

James McGann, Executive Headteacher at Woodthorpe Primary School said “This is wonderful recognition for everyone at Woodthorpe. It is a true reflection of how dedicated and passionate all of our staff are when it comes to inclusion, and to be recognised as a Centre of Excellence is the icing on the cake! The IQM assessor recognised that there is a collective responsibility amongst staff to give pupils the most worthwhile and valuable Woodthorpe experience possible and how tirelessly staff work to support our pupils. It’s gratifying that this is clear to the external assessor.”

Sue Wight, Director of SEN and Safeguarding at South Bank Multi Academy Trust (SBMAT), to which Woodthorpe Primary School belongs, added “Building life skills and effective teaching and learning are at the core of an inclusive school, but more importantly an inclusive school is a learning school for all members of the community.

“The process is rigorous, culminating in a two-day formal assessment which examines every element of school life, policies, processes, teaching and learning, staff and student wellbeing and more. The team at Woodthorpe absolutely deserve this recognition.”

Chief Executive Officer of SBMAT, Mark Hassack, said “Huge congratulations to everyone at Woodthorpe, the second of our six schools to achieve the IQM. This award is a testament to the team’s dedication to inclusion, and together with their Centre of Excellence designation, marks the culmination of the extensive efforts undertaken by the school in collaboration with the Trust over the past two years. To read such positive comments not only from the assessor, but also from staff, parents and pupils is truly heartwarming.”

“Part of the Trust strategy we put in place in 2022 focuses on continuous improvement in inclusion, so it is wonderful to see the second of our schools achieve this recognition for its inclusive practices.”

Millthorpe School was the first of the SBMAT schools, and the first school in the city of York, to achieve IQM status in March 2024.

Woodthorpe’s IQM report can be found at: https://www.woodthorpeprimaryschool.co.uk/inclusion-quality-mark/

Woodthorpe Primary School is part of the York-based South Bank Multi Academy Trust alongside Millthorpe School, York High School, Carr Junior School and Knavesmire and Scarcroft Primary Schools.

21 June 2024

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