Keelman’s Way School in South Tyneside achieves the Inclusive School Award.
Everyone Treated as an Individual
Keelman’s Way School is an extremely inclusive school that is held in very high regard by pupils, parents and staff alike. Pupils have a wide range of different needs with everyone being treated as an individual. Staff mention how it is a special environment to work in, with one member of staff saying staff rarely move to other schools once they have experienced the inclusive and supportive atmosphere of Keelman’s Way School.
Very Approachable Staff
The school has an open-door policy for parents who say that the Senior Leadership Team and other school staff are very approachable with excellent communication links between school and home. Parents have run their own clubs on-site as well as being able to access medical services in the school such as doctor and consultant clinics, so they do not have to take their child to external clinics in the local hospital. A former nurse has been appointed to be the new Inclusion Support Worker where she supports parents in understanding official medical reports, discusses all health matters with them and checks that care plans are being followed correctly. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Headteacher has carried out parent surveys to check on the mental health of families as well as holding Zoom clinics and staff have made many phone calls home.
A Positive Experience
One parent spoke very positively about her experience of the school, saying the staff cannot do enough for her and her daughter. Daily communication via the home/school diary works well, with the teacher writing back with suggestions to address particular issues. She feels that her experience as a parent is valued by all professionals in the annual review meetings and her views are listened to and acted upon. Targets are updated regularly and worked on jointly, she feels part of the team around her child.
A Purpose-Built School
The school was purpose-built to meet the needs of all the pupils and is very well-resourced with a large outdoor area that includes a wildlife garden and pond area, an allotment and swings and toys for the pupils to access. A particular inclusive piece of equipment is the wheelchair tricycle. Inside the school, the waiting area is welcoming and open to the rest of the school so visitors can see daily life around them.
Committed to Pupil Progress
Teaching staff are very committed to pupil progress, being involved in national and local initiatives in the field of special education. They feel supported by the school in their professional development, one example was that all the teachers were invited to do a professional inquiry project about an area of interest. One teacher described his project which was the link between communication and behaviour with his findings being disseminated to everyone in the school, this had a benefit for all the pupils.
The school shares their expertise with local schools, for example, the HLTA for physiotherapy spoke to a group of practitioners about the physio room and how the system of collaboration works at the school between herself and the NHS Physiotherapy Team. Teachers support mainstream colleagues.
Celebrating Everyone’s Success
Celebrating everyone’s success is very important for the school with star of the week assemblies, continuing online at the moment and also recognised on the school’s Facebook page.
Behaviour Needs Addressed Effectively
Behaviour needs are addressed effectively with the introduction of positive behaviour plans to which parents give valuable insight and input. These are all stored centrally so all staff know what is needed.
A Confident School Council
It was a pleasure meeting the School Council, they spoke very well and confidently about all the opportunities that they get at the school. All the pupils were in the Post 16 Provision and spoke about work experience opportunities and how they run the school café including baking, washing up and serving customers. On World Mental Health Day (Happy Day), the School Council provided scones, pancakes and milkshakes to all pupils and staff. They spoke about the community visits that they enjoy such as an overnight stay at Barnard Castle and a trip to the open day museum at Beamish. In normal times, they sing carols at the old people’s homes nearby, make items for the various fayres and visit local leisure facilities, playing an active role in the local community.
Professional Development Opportunities
Teaching Assistants speak highly of the professional development opportunities that the school provides them and they refer to the Senior Leadership Team as being very supportive. They describe it as an amazing environment and a happy place where everyone pulls together. They feel included in planning and target setting and have a very good understanding of the pupils’ needs. One Teaching Assistant spoke about the use of visual timetables, preparing the class’s symbols and using switches with a pupil. The three HLTAs are a valuable asset to the school, with responsibility for physiotherapy, speech and language and PMLD.
An Inclusive Ethos
The three members of the Governing Body I met with spoke about the inclusive ethos that pervades the school, all felt confident in their role due to the online Governor training that they have undergone. Governors are linked to Key Stages and regularly visit the school classrooms looking at particular themes.
Find out more about the IQM Inclusive School Award
If your school is interested in obtaining the IQM Inclusive School Award or you wish to talk to a member of the IQM team please telephone:
028 7127 7857 (9.00 am to 5.00 pm)
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
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