30 Jun HT Blog 37 – Inclusion
Since 2017, Daubeney Academy has proudly held the title of IQM (Inclusion Quality Mark) Centre Of Excellence, meaning that our efforts to provide an effective education for all members of our community, regardless of their respective starting points or barriers to learning that may be present, is recognised as being the best that it can possibly be. During previous visits to our school from IQM assessors, the following comments have been provided to us in reports that are available to view on our website:
- Daubeney Academy is an inclusive community that values every child. Everything is done to ensure that children are supported and challenged in equal measure. Although academic achievement and attainment is a priority, the school takes great pride in its work around developing the whole child and helping them to become active, caring and responsible citizens.
- Pupils come first at Daubeney Academy. Staff go above and beyond the line of duty to support pupils and to ensure they are well cared for and are well educated. Staff treat each other well and model expectations and as a result there are very good relationships with all stakeholders.
- The SEN department is well led and ensures that children with particular needs are met. They work closely with the children concerned and their parents, as well as with teachers and Teaching Assistants.
Last week, we were delighted to host another annual review of our IQM Centre Of Excellence status and it was noted that we continue to excel in many areas, and perhaps most notably that our students themselves value the inclusive nature of the school that they attend. It makes me very proud indeed when our young people talk with such warmth about the pastoral care that they receive at our school and how their teachers make such efforts to get to know them and support them as valued members of our community.
Even though Daubeney Academy is only a small school in terms of both student numbers and the size of the buildings and facilities that we are currently able to offer, the sense of community and clarity of our values are strong. Simplicity, in my opinion, should always be at the heart of any effective school, regardless of its size, and I know that our motto of Work Hard & Be Kind To Each Other is understood by our students, parents, teachers and other professionals alike. The educational landscape, both locally and nationally, is already confusing enough, so it would serve no purpose for us to develop unnecessarily complicated systems or procedures when keeping things simple is, to most people, a much better way of operating, particularly in terms of inclusion, and this is why we continue to be recognised as a school that genuinely cares about all members of its community.
Our curriculum, with a breadth that surpasses many of the other schools in our local area, also takes into account the needs of all members of our community, including those who may not be expected to achieve the highest academic outcomes. Although all students are required to be swimming in the deep end in lessons (a metaphor that our teachers understand to mean pushing all students to reach or exceed their potential), we acknowledge that a one-size-fits-all curriculum is not appropriate for every single student in our school, which is why we have also developed other options and pathways for some cohorts, such as Life Skills or our ASDAN accreditated courses. A truly inclusive school, like Daubeney, treats its students as individuals and not just numbers on a spreadsheet who may or may not end up getting excellent outcomes in their GCSE subjects, and because all students at our school are known and known well by their teachers, we make sure that, wherever possible, each individual is studying subjects at levels that are appropriate for them.