#157 Being an Enhanced Primary Inclusion Champion – Magdalen Gates Primary
Will Turnpenny, Assistant Head Teacher and Inclusion Lead, Magdalen Gates Primary School
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What did we do?
The EPIC funding enabled me to have a day out of class each week focusing specifically on improving inclusion. This time was spent in a variety of ways to maximise impact both within our school and in our wider community. We began by putting together an action plan which linked directly to the Inclusion Charter and our local context. This laid out clearly exactly what we hoped to achieve, and when we wanted to do so.
The EPIC project, which was specifically designed to give time for focusing on inclusion, is valuable because of its flexibility; within the broad parameters of the Inclusion Charter, I was able to grow my own understanding of what really matters to our school. Even when we were subsequently thrown into unknown territory, having that focus ensured we continued to support our school in the right ways.
Will Turnpenny, Assistant Head Teacher, Magdalen Gates Primary School
Summary of impact
Our rates of exclusion have remained very low over the past two years, and we have had no permanent exclusions. Just as importantly, through this work we were able to offer all of our children who are at risk of exclusion full time places in school during both lockdowns, and this funding helped us to ensure a range of ongoing support for those families too, including access to technology, pastoral support and return to school planning support from our Educational Psychology team.
I was able to use time to coordinate work with colleagues in other settings, through our EPIC and Inclusion Champion networks, as well as further afield, delivering a seminar on the “whys” and “hows” of inclusion to student teachers at the Norfolk Teacher Training Centre. More information can be found here.
First, we set aside time to enable me to work directly on supporting children and families of children at risk of exclusion – making plans to remove barriers and support positive engagement within school and engaging with external agencies to ensure that we had robust supportive measures in place to stop families from “falling through the gap”.
Next, we set about considering the culture of inclusion within our school, looking particularly at how our behaviour policy and approach could be made more consistent to support all of our learners in an equitable way. As well as rewriting and rolling out our policies in consultation with our school community, I accessed further training funding to become a Step On tutor, enabling us to embed this important approach across our staff team. This has been a key step in ensuring that fewer situations reach the point where exclusion is necessary.
What would we do differently
My key takeaway from this project has been that one of the most valuable things that you can give a school is time! There are so many pressures on staff time and workload that inclusion can get squeezed out by other priorities.
The ELSA project was funded by the Norwich Opportunity Area, see ELSA Big Idea for more details.
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