Inclusion Quality Mark
Stewards Academy is absolutely delighted to have received re-validation of the nationally prestigious Inclusion Quality Mark that the school has held for many years. The experienced assessor spent an intensive two days at Stewards, meeting with a total of sixty members of staff, Governors and parents, as well as countless pupils. She described Stewards Academy as 'one of the most inclusive schools I have ever been in. Your policy and practice is underpinned by a real commitment and ethos where everybody is valued equally.' The assessor was able to spend time with pupils at a packed School Council meeting and with the unique Ethnic Minority Pupil Voice group. The parents who came in to meet the assessor were effusive in their praise of the staff who had supported their children through some very challenging times. The phrase 'an army of people' was used by one parent to describe the support given to her son. Another parent said 'Everyone at Stewards has a way of speaking to the children which is phrased respectfully.'
The assessor did single out Pupil Voice as 'one of the greatest strengths of the Academy. You are developing citizens rather than tourists - they are there for the duration.'
Indeed the report makes it clear that inclusion was innate to everything which takes place at Stewards. 'It permeates every part of the school and is demonstrated through the adults and children who work and learn there.'
The Place2be team were given special mention for their support to the whole Stewards community. The emotional health and well being of every member of the school community was seen as being really important by the assessor. She reported that the behaviour she witnessed as she moved around the school for two days was 'exemplary. There is a culture of mutual respect that permeates every part of the Academy.'
The IQM report reflected her findings that the pupils 'demonstrate personal and community responsibility and leadership. There is active citizenship and it is a very important part of the school ethos and curriculum.'
The role of parents and carers in their child's journey through Stewards is never underestimated. 'The school is oversubscribed and has an excellent reputation for providing high quality care and high standards. There is no doubt that parents and carers are valued in the same way as students are valued.' And the role of a supportive, experienced Governing body was recognised in the IQM report.
It was very rewarding for the assessor to have recognised in the report something which is very important to everybody at Stewards - that the school is at the heart of it's community. This was self evident from the large number of staff members who are either past pupils themselves or parents of pupils who have attended Stewards. She said she had never come across another school like it!
At one point in the assessment process a young man in year nine was asked what he thought inclusion meant. He answered 'When you come through the door this school is somewhere you can come in and be yourself - we are a family.' The assessor saw this for what it was - a spontaneous comment that came from the heart and was echoed by staff, Governors, parents and pupils across the school.
Senior pupils at Stewards - pictured above - were asked a similar question when informed that the validation process had been successful.
Esther - Head Girl - said : 'At Stewards we all start at the same place, and even though we may stumble, we will be there to pick each other up and finish at our own pace.'
Franklyn - Head Boy - said: 'Inclusion means exclusion is never an option.'
Grace - Deputy Head Girl - said: 'Inclusion is the most important quality to have in school and in later life.'
Seven - Deputy Head Boy - said: 'The inclusiveness of Stewards has always meant that children are able to grasp every opportunity that is tailored to their needs.'
With such outstanding policies and practice, it is not surprising that the assessor not only awarded Stewards the IQM award again, but made a recommendation for the school to apply for Centre of Excellence status. Headteacher Helen Ginger was thrilled with the report, which confirmed everything she believes about the school she proudly leads, demonstrating the school ethos of 'excellence with integrity;success with soul.'