A Hartlepool primary school has been granted the prestigious Centre of Excellence status for its commitment to inclusion.
West View Primary School in Hartlepool is one of only 240 schools throughout the UK to receive the Inclusive Quality Mark (IQM) award following a recent visit from assessors.
In her report, IQM Assessor Emily Carr, said: “West View Primary school is a school that is at the heart of the community. The vision of an inclusive school is clear and permeates all conversations and practice.
“Parents talked, during the assessment days, about how this school is ‘a home away from home.’ One parent talked with passion about how the school ‘feels like a family.’ She described how all staff are approachable and how she ‘loves the school.’ This sentiment was echoed in conversations throughout the two assessment days.
“All children at West View are valued and are supported in lessons so that they can all achieve their best. They have an ethos of ‘Keep up, not catch up.’ The Headteacher described how inclusion is ‘integral to everything.’ She believes inclusion underpins all they do.”
Ofsted defines an educationally inclusive school as one in which the teaching and learning; achievements, attitudes and well-being of every young person matter.
There are three award levels, beginning with the IQM Inclusive School Award. Two higher award levels are available to schools that continue to grow and develop their practice in conjunction with other like-minded schools – IQM Centre of Excellence and IQM Flagship School Award.
Emily Carr continued: “It is evident that the Leadership Team of West View always place a high value on pupil, parent, and staff voice. All staff are clear of their responsibilities and understand the vital part they play in promoting the high standards of inclusion in school.
“The evidence presented during the visit to the school, and information contained within the Self Evaluation Report, clearly demonstrates the wide and varied range of inclusive practice in place within the school and the on-going commitment to continuous improvement.
“It is eminently clear that at West View, inclusion is central to the school ethos.”
Lauren Furness, Headteacher of West View Primary School, commented: “Clearly, we are delighted to be recognised as a Centre of Excellence by a national education body like Inclusive Quality Mark.
“The award is testament to the continuing hard work and commitment of everyone involved at West View to ensure that the school does everything it can to provide the best possible opportunities for all of our children and the community we serve. Our huge thanks extend to Natalie Boagey, our Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, who worked diligently to lead on this across school.”
West View Primary School, on Davison Drive, is one of eight primary schools under the umbrella of Ad Astra Academy Trust.
Andy Brown OBE, CEO of Ad Astra Academy Trust, said: “These awards are not granted lightly, and I would like to congratulate everyone at West View Primary School on this significant achievement.
“West View is a beacon for inclusion within the Trust and we share good practice across all of our schools.”
There are seven other primary schools within Ad Astra Academy Trust. They are Barnard Grove, Brougham and West Park in Hartlepool, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Ayresome and Sunnyside in Middlesbrough.
Amy Oakden of BBC Radio Tees spoke to Headteacher Lauren Furness to find out more about Centre of Excellence status. Click the link below to listen.