At Highfields College we strive for excellence. Over the years we have engaged with a number of trusted partners to evaluate our educational and care offer for our students – and, more broadly, to help us reflect on the kind of community we are now and in what directions we seek to grow further.

Over the past few years, behind the scenes, we have been working with the Inclusion Quality Marks association. The IQM is a well-established group (nearly 20 years old), supported by robust research and made up of 5500 schools. To find out more, please visit here: www.iqmaward.com/about-us/

IQM colleagues act as a ‘critical friend’ with a view to ensuring schools are as welcoming, accessible and beneficial as possible to all students – taking into account their individual differences and removing barriers to their engagement and success. They also take into account how staff and parents feel about their school too.

It is with pride that we can now announce we have achieved the IQM Inclusive School Award…

The full report can be viewed here – an extensive read and reflective of the thorough process we have gone through to achieve this award.

A few quotes we want to share from the report are as follows:

“When walking through the door at Highfields College you immediately see and sense the inclusion ethos that is articulated and presented on the school’s website. Being a “Place of Work and Community” the school’s “CREATE” ethos (Care & Safety, Re-Engagement, Education, Access, Transition and Enjoyment) is clearly encapsulated and evident in the classrooms, the outdoor environment, in the corridors, the dining hall and in the practices of ALL staff at Highfields College.”

“From pupil interviews, surveys, books, and learning walks you can see that the children are generally happy at school and are engaged in their learning. They enjoy the variety of the offer they receive at Highfields College, building from their learning in core subjects and foundation subjects, to their involvement in the popular enrichment programme which offers children a varied selection of vocational, practical and sporting opportunities.”

“To use a few quotes from the parents themselves; At Highfields they “Educate the children without them knowing”, “They come to school feeling comfortable” “They don’t say our children are naughty or badly behaved, they say they are children with needs and go out to make their experience personalised, catering for their every need” “They have made me understand as a parent that it’s ok to ask for help”.”

“Staff feel valued and supported by SLT to meet a wholly inclusive agenda that brings the best out of staff and pupils. Led from the top by the head teacher, the emphasis on relationships goes beyond the pupils, as staff are made to feel valued, supported and are energised to meet the needs of their pupils.”

We need to give special thanks to Mrs McFadyen, our wonderful SENDCO, who has led us on this part of the journey – but the process has in truth being very much a team effort with contributions from various colleagues, students, parents and governors along the way.

We see this as another important milestone in our never-ending journey to excellence – and, following a well-deserved half-term break, we will continue with this journey when we return on 27th February.