IQM Inclusive School Award
Assessment Date: 26th/27th April 2023 Assessor: Ms Julie Lynch
Sources of Evidence:
- Inclusion Quality Mark (IQM) Self Evaluation Report (SER)
- School Ofsted Report
- National data and performance tables
- School Development Plan
- School Website and Policies
- Multi Academy Trust (MAT) Documentation
- Pupil workbooks
- Learning Walks Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4
- Observation of Lessons
- School Assembly
- Learning Environment
- Example Progress Reports
Meetings Held with:
- Academy Leadership Team
- IQM Coordinator
- Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo)/Senior Leader
- Pastoral Staff
- Inclusion Unit Leader
- Teaching Assistants/Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs)
- Hub Volunteer/School Governor
- Parents, Carers, and guardians
- Overall Evaluation
- Element 1 – The Inclusion Values of the School
- Element 2 – Leadership and Management and Accountability
- Element 3 – Curriculum – Structure, pupil Engagement and Adaptation
- Element 4 - Teaching and Learning
- Element 5 – Assessment
- Element 6 – Behaviour, Attitudes to Learning and Personal Development
- Element 7 – Parents, Carers, Guardians
- Element 8 – Links with Local, Wider and Global Community
Oasis Academy Immingham is a wonderfully welcoming and incredibly inclusive school where there is significant evidence of an ongoing commitment to deeply ingrained and widely shared values. Under the guidance and direction of the Principal, Academy leaders have successfully created a distinctive culture of tolerance, mutual respect and acceptance and this is a place where pupils of all ages have high aspirations and report feeling “valued, worthy and safe.”
Part of the Oasis Community Learning Multi-Academy Trust, Oasis Academy Immingham is one of 52 schools which are collectively described as a growing family spread across five distinct regions of the country. Oasis Academy Immingham is a secondary setting with 627 children aged 11-16 on roll. This coastal school is located in the heart of an area of high socioeconomic deprivation.
Indeed, the Academy sits in the lowest percentile for deprivation in the UK and records 63% of its students as Pupil Premium (PP) with many more presenting as ‘disadvantaged’ as they routinely require some form of additional learning, financial or practical support. The number of students currently on the Academy’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) register is currently 29% and there are 18 young people with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). The significance of the number of pupils identified as having additional needs, which sits well above national average rates, is a testament to the fact that ‘persistent disadvantage’ is the key common denominator for the majority of the pupils who attend this school. Despite the Academy’s demographic, this is a setting with an uncompromising vision for inclusion and an unwavering sense of commitment to delivering on those aims, presently, and well into the future.
The school, undoubtedly, is an important feature of the local community, and as the only secondary Academy within the immediate locality, it plays a unique role in contributing to the holistic development of the majority of young people who live within this semi-remote, coastal geographical location. The Academy benefits from having three fully trained SENCos and ensures that all Senior Leaders maintain a Level 3 Safeguarding qualification to be able to manage and support the demands and pressures of the ongoing work with pupils and families.
Oasis Academy Immingham was last inspected by Ofsted in October 2021. Receiving an overall grading of ‘Good’, inspectors made a number of remarks in relation to the leadership and inclusive ethos evidenced throughout their inspection visit.
Inspectors found that:
· “Leaders’ high standards have led to many improvements in the Academy over recent years.”
· “Leaders ensure the curriculum goes well beyond the academic.”
· “Students learn the importance of respect, and this is clear in the way they behave.”
· “No stone is left unturned - to keep students safe.”
· “Keeping students safe is the top priority in the Academy.”
· “Lessons teach students about how to stay safe, the value of the law, mutual respect and tolerance.”
· “Leaders ensure the curriculum goes well beyond the academic…lessons also teach students about how to stay safe, the value of the law, mutual respect and tolerance.”
· “Leaders have a clear vision for the curriculum.”
· “Students enjoy good relationships with staff and feel safe and well cared for.”
· “Leaders set high standards for students in all aspects of Academy life.”
· Leaders have a clear vision for the curriculum.”
· “Students enjoy good relationships with staff and feel safe and well cared for.”
· “Leaders set high standards for students in all aspects of Academy life.”
Staff members are proud to work at Oasis Academy, Immingham, and refer to the Academy as the heart of a strong and cohesive community. Staff speak openly and authentically about their “love” and “genuine care and concern” for all of the pupils on roll. Staff members understand the difference they make in the lives of the pupils and recognise the importance and value of their work, which goes far beyond the qualifications their students go on to achieve. The Principal is intent on delivering change for the community of Immingham town for future generations, through the broader effects of the Academy’s persistence and dedication to inclusive practices, raising aspirations, growing cultural capital, and developing character education.
I am of the opinion that the school fully meets the standard required by the Inclusion Quality Mark’s Inclusive School Award. I recommend that the school be awarded the Inclusive School Award and be reassessed in 3 years’ time.
I also recommend that the school should consider applying for Centre of Excellence status subject to the inclusion within its plans of the appropriate areas for development and the completion of the Centre of Excellence documentation. If the school chooses to pursue this status and it were to be awarded the school would be subject to annual review from this point forwards.
Assessor: Julie Lynch
Findings confirmed by Inclusion Quality Mark (UK) Ltd:
Joe McCann MBA NPQH Director of Inclusion Quality Mark (UK) Ltd
Oasis Academy, Immingham, is “a school where everyone is made to feel welcome”, and, where students are wholeheartedly supported to reach their full potential, irrespective of their academic ability, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language, or religion. The Academy’s vision for inclusion is clearly articulated and students are able to develop their knowledge and skills in a safe, caring, and structured environment, with the intent of gaining qualifications which will enable them to pursue a career of their choice and go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
The Academy’s REACH values of Respect, Enthusiasm, Achievement, Community and Hard work are embedded throughout the school, thanks to carefully planned and meaningful tutorial sessions, assemblies, lessons, and Aspire days. The REACH values are further articulated by the nine Oasis habits which are Compassionate, Patient, Humble, Joyful, Honest, Hopeful, Considerate, Forgiving and Self-controlled. Each pupil has a REACH passport which enables them to collect badges for each value and track progress towards rewards. Students feel that staff, “Are good at noticing when someone has tried hard”, and state that, “This encourages you to do even more”.
Both in-year and end-of-phase transitions into the Academy are well-planned and superbly supported. Oasis Academy has taken on a number of learners with difficult backgrounds on a step out from other schools, supporting students to develop trusting relationships with staff and peers so that settling on a more permanent basis becomes a distinct possibility. It is highly evident from my observations within the school that any behaviour which could be perceived as negative or non-compliant in this setting is accepted as a form of communication, and not immediately assumed to be a deliberate attempt to cause unwelcome disruption. Students benefit enormously from the most impermeable genuine and authentic relational practice, which is based entirely on love, care, and compassion.
Staff within this setting are highly effective role models. The acceptance and support from all adults for those who belong to the LGBTQ+ community are unwavering, and as a consequence, students and colleagues feel able to be their true selves without fear of prejudice or discrimination within this community. Year 10 students spoke with confidence and admiration about their transgender friend, explaining: “He’s one of our friends. He is just who he is, and we all accept him for that”.
Students with medical conditions and learning difficulties are equally well supported. The Academy’s commitment to ensuring that all pupils’ needs are met in an anticipatory manner is exceptional. This is facilitated through the use of the BromCom system where personalised learning and support strategies for each individual young person with a ‘K’ or an ‘E’ code are reviewed, updated, and systematically shared. There is also a genuine sense of solidarity amongst the student body.
Academy leaders are resolute and determined and work with great imagination and creativity in their drive to develop character in a wholeheartedly inclusive manner. Wherever possible, opportunities are taken to improve behaviour using restorative practices and positive methods, as opposed to an over-reliance on one-size-fits-all, arguably less effective, punitive measures. Leaders recognise innately, that this means supporting students as unique individuals with individual lessons to be learned. One student was working with landscapers planting trees on the school grounds on the day of the IQM assessment. This activity had been organised specially, to teach lessons about caring for nature and the environment whilst providing a positive focus, in an effort to reduce the probability of further problems with anti-social behaviour in the local community.
Students have a developing sense of agency which is encouraged and nurtured by staff, and they recognise that they are valued for their individual views. Pupils do not hesitate to engage in discussions about their education and how they feel that their school can be even better. The Student Wellbeing Advocates recently used their voices to write a letter to the Principal proposing a ‘Chill Out/Destress Zone’ within the school for the benefit of peers who may be experiencing poor mental health.
The leadership at all levels within Oasis Academy, Immingham, is truly exceptional. Effectiveness within the leadership is achieved quite evidently as a result of appointing the right people to the right roles. Diversity within the Senior Leadership Team is viewed as a significant strength. Consensus thinking and seeking to agree in all matters is not part of this school’s agenda. Leaders at all levels and in all areas of the school are open and honest in their relationships with one another other and the children. Trust, respect, and compassion are highly valued. There is a tangible sense of self-assuredness that anything is possible, despite the many societal and geographical challenges facing the school, due to the fact that these values and beliefs are so firmly established and embedded. Authenticity in all things at Oasis Academy, Immingham, is indeed an essential part of the school’s culture. Safeguarding arrangements at the Academy are highly effective.
Academy leaders know the school well and are extremely ambitious for all students. The school sets high standards for students in all aspects of school life and pupils respond well to all challenges set. This has led to many improvements in the school over recent years. Leaders have clearly identified areas for development over the coming academic years. The majority of the areas identified in the school’s self-improvement plan are reflected in other schools both regionally and nationally within the same MAT and most typically derive from the legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The interplay between attendance and social, emotional and mental health concerns is an area of focus for Oasis Academy, Immingham. As such, classrooms are mindfully and intentionally created as strengths-based spaces where students with a range of needs are made to feel safe, supported, and secure. Newer needs-led provisions within the school such as the ELSA room and the Inclusion Unit are proving to be transformational for many students who have struggled previously to attend school on consecutive days and for sustained periods of time.
Gaps in local authority provision, such as medical-needs classrooms and PRUs, alongside the relative geographical isolation of the school’s location in relation to others, mean that the Academy operates largely on a basis of considerable
self-reliance. In light of this, school leaders remain highly aware of the unique demands placed on staff and therefore prioritise regular reviews of staff well-being and workload. The Principal is very visible throughout the school and has an “open-door policy where staff are welcome to raise any issues or concerns”. Additionally, electronic communications between staff are discouraged at weekends and after 6 pm during the working week. Continuing Professional Development is a priority for all staff within Oasis Academy, Immingham, and this is well coordinated and supported by school leaders and more widely by the Trust. Training for staff is predominantly child-centred, whilst being tailored to individual needs. Staff work collaboratively to support one another’s successes. Most recently the ELSA and the Mental Health First Aid qualifications have been achieved by staff within the school, which is a testament to the Academy’s commitment to meeting the needs of its most vulnerable attendees.
The Hub Council, although not part of the formal Governance structure for the MAT, acts as the localised link between the community and the school. Hub Council members include parents, key local stakeholders, and other members of the community, and they undertake a range of key activities aimed at both supporting and improving outcomes for students as well as helping the Academy to understand the local context in which it operates. The Hub Council is viewed as an important facet of the school’s broader leadership structure which provides numerous opportunities for external stakeholders to become involved.
The Academy offers a broad and balanced curriculum to all students, which incorporates opportunities for learners of all ages, levels, and abilities to progress, achieve and succeed. The curriculum is viewed as being at the “heart of the Academy’s educational provision”. As such, it is intentionally planned and designed with both local and national Labour Market Information in mind, and to support students in an array of positive destinations when the time comes for them to move on from school.
Schemes of Learning are coordinated across the Multi-Academy Trust, but these are refined individually by departmental teams according to the unique requirements of each individual setting. Lessons across the Academy are created to be interactive, interesting, and fun. On the day of the assessment, learners were seen to engage and participate appropriately and enthusiastically in all classroom activities. Without compromising the high expectations in terms of pupil achievement, students with additional needs are appropriately facilitated and supported in all areas of the school. Practical lessons and vocational subjects are important features of the curriculum offered at Oasis Academy, Immingham, and these lessons are delivered in an exciting and inclusive manner. On the day of the assessment, I observed a Year 8 class taking part in an Engineering lesson. Following a starter activity and the simply joyous instruction of “Let’s get ready to rumble!” from the class teacher, students worked collaboratively and in support of one another to finalise making screwdrivers, which were of exceptionally high quality. Students with additional needs appeared confident in their use of hand and machine tools, and the class were calm, focused, ambitious and determined to succeed. The school’s timetable structure allows for dedicated support and revision lessons through the addition of an extra lesson two days per week. This enables staff to work with specific students in small, focused groups on key areas identified for development. There is clear evidence to suggest that vulnerable and disadvantaged students are making more progress as a result of this approach.
There is an intentional focus on the improvement of oracy skills within the curriculum as well as some inventive work around the development of vocabulary which is implemented very creatively in a cross-curricular manner. When asked, one student said that the focus on oracy skills; “Has improved my confidence, massively”, particularly when asked to speak in front of people, and in unfamiliar situations. Pathways from Year 9 are very carefully orchestrated by the Academy Leadership Team. Information evenings for students and parents are the most well-attended annual events and there is always noticeable excitement when students are choosing their options. Careers information, Advice and Guidance are expertly coordinated and well-embedded throughout the entire curriculum. Pupils are also educated as to ‘how’ good choices are made. School Leaders consider with care and diligence the pathway choices of all students with identified difficulties and special educational needs, to ensure that these pupils are placed into the right classes as a key priority. A great degree of care is taken to ensure that the strongest and most skilful teachers generally work with the weakest students. In terms of option pathways for the year ahead, the school are delighted to have more girls than boys wishing to pursue qualifications in Engineering.
Academy progress and outcome data is a testament to the indisputable impact of inclusive teaching practices which are relentlessly embedded throughout the school. In 2022, the Academy’s attainment 8 figures showed advancements compared to 2019 with rates improving from 38.6 to 43.07. This includes improvements in GCSE History, GCSE French, and the E baccalaureate qualification pass rates, whilst data on Basics in 2022 also showed significant improvements when evaluated against the last ratified pre-COVID-19 pandemic data set of 2019. In 2022, students passing 4+ qualifications stood at 57% and 5+ at 32%, compared to 4+ standing at 42% and 5+ at 25%.
Outcomes for SEN and disadvantaged pupils are equally impressive and remarkable. Academy leaders have been resolute in ensuring that no child is left behind through their inability to access lessons as a result of a low reading age. In 2021, 67 pupils were identified as having a reading age of 8 years or lower. Evidence-informed interventions have seen an average gain of approximately 3 years, meaning that those pupils’ reading ability is now more closely aligned with their chronological age and with that of their peers.
Curriculum plans are carefully sequenced to allow students to build on prior knowledge. Opportunities for recap and retrieval practice are built-in to lessons so that pupils are able to transfer knowledge from their short-term to their longer-term memories. Observations of a Year 11 History revision lesson on the second day of the assessment highlighted the impact of this work. All pupils’ ability to recall information was impressive. It was evident that pupils were not only secure in their factual knowledge, but they had also developed the skills to be able to critically reflect, undertake an analysis and offer a thoughtful opinion.
All pupils have their own iPads provided by the school, as part of the Academy’s commitment to removing barriers and overcoming digital poverty. School leaders also recognise that access to technology makes learning easier for those with sensory difficulties, as well as those with physical and motor coordination needs. Pupils are able to work with a much greater degree of autonomy and independence through using their devices and are subsequently less reliant on adult support in lessons.
The majority of classrooms and corridors within this Academy are welcoming, brightly decorated spaces. Many classrooms have attractive wall displays with clearly communicated information on the Academy’s REACH values and 9 Oasis habits. Careers within the curriculum feature in all spaces alongside positive messages on behavioural and conduct expectations to support students to succeed.
The Academy’s ongoing commitment to staff CPD is evident throughout the school when undertaking learning walks, as staff consistently implement the best pedagogical practice.
Students are assessed throughout their learning in a variety of ways. Curriculum Roadmaps in all classrooms, which show how learning is planned and sequenced, allow students to understand where they are in their journey at any given time. Pupils are aware of what has been taught and what is yet to be taught, which aids them in working independently and in developing an overarching awareness of what they should know. Rosenshine’s ten principles for instruction are used to shape the teaching practices across Oasis Academy, Immingham, and this means that assessment for learning is integral to all lessons in all curriculum areas. Furthermore, learners receive regular verbal and written feedback from teachers and are clear on what they need to do in order to improve or reach the next grade.
Peer assessments and a ‘pair a share’ approach are used in lessons to great effect. Opportunities for GRIT (Guided Reflection Improvement Time) are provided in every lesson and evidence of consistent and clear practice across all subject areas was apparent throughout the book-look undertaken as part of my visit. Pupils reach instinctively for their purple ink-pens when undertaking their GRIT, and many reported that “this method is helpful for me when I come to revise”.
Progress data is collected formally three times per year, and this data is used to inform interventions, reporting and parent consultations. Highly effective tracking and reporting systems, alongside sharply focused key performance indicators and teacher ownership of target data has served to enhance outcomes for all pupils over the past academic year.
Relationships founded on openness, humility and honesty are tangible throughout this community. Staff and students help one another to do, and be, their best. The school community have a profound regard for the Principal’s golden rule of “kindness” which is demonstrated often; it is noticed, appreciated, and celebrated, even when observed in the smallest of gestures or ways, and therefore instilled consistently in all.
As a consequence of the school’s absolute commitment to the development of character and a high value placed on individual contribution and effort, behaviour and attitudes in the school can only be described as exceptional.
A truly wonderful, informative and thought-provoking assembly was delivered to Year 10 on the first day of the IQM assessment. The assembly delivered a key message about making mistakes. Surrounded by staff members, who clearly held the year group in the highest regard, pupils were taught that it was okay to make mistakes but that it was how they chose to respond, that most mattered. Indeed, the school’s entire ethos is carefully cultivated to support young people to learn from the mistakes they will inevitably make, both inside and outside of lessons.
Particularly impressive at Oasis Academy, Immingham, is the fact that students always have choices. Behaviour is not good at this school as a result of poorer choices being removed. Rather, it is good because pupils are educated to understand that truly being ‘good’ involves them doing the right things even when no one is watching. Students know that owning their mistakes is important. They are also secure in the knowledge that staff will support them to positively make amends and move forwards.
The school’s rewards system is incredibly well embedded and as a result of the very strong transition processes when students join in Year 7, pupils are inherently motivated to achieve. Year 9 students talked to me about collecting rewards points, which they exchange for items from the school’s rewards shop. Pupils enjoy Aspire days where they have opportunities to develop their knowledge and ideas about things such as relationships, online safety and managing finances.
Leaders at the Academy are keen to ensure that rewards are allocated equitably and that all students are able to achieve. The Principal said it’s important that “Good students are not invisible”, and further explained that automatic reward points are awarded to those “who do the right things each and every day”.
The higher-than-national average numbers of fixed-term exclusions on the school’s SER were discussed during the assessment. Leaders at the school explained that the Academy had needed to go through a process of ‘resetting’ behavioural expectations when students returned to face-to-face learning following the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, more students were involved in formal sanctions than there had been historically. Most recently, this number has stabilised and is now well below national average numbers. The Academy Leadership Team are rightfully proud of the progress students have made in this area and there is a high degree of confidence moving forwards.
The school always welcomes Parents, Carers, and Guardians. Leaders believe that “parental engagement plays a large part in all our children’s learning”. The school’s “family ethos” and inclusive culture means that from their first encounter with the Academy, parents are made to feel valued, and their voices are encouraged and heard. The Inclusion Hub lead spoke enthusiastically about how she involves parents routinely in her work with some of the most vulnerable pupils and hard-to-reach pupils in the school. She explained that daily contact with parents is made to further the understanding of any ongoing worries, as well as appreciate any new or emerging concerns. This approach is proving to be highly impactful in supporting the avoidance of triggers and the alleviation of any unhelpful pressures, thus enabling vulnerable students to attend school “and experience a positive day”.
Oasis Academy communicates regularly and openly with parents in a wide variety of ways. Parents are encouraged to use the My Child At School (MCAS) app for daily updates, as things happen. However, the school utilises other methods of communication such as emails, phone calls, letters, and text messages, as well as face-to-face meetings and conversations, as and when they are needed. Parental feedback shows that the school’s methods of engagement, relationship building, and communication are successful and appreciated. Founded on mutual respect, relationships between all stakeholders are evidently strong, committed, and enduring. Several parents attended the school (in person and virtually) on the day of the assessment. They could not speak highly enough of the school, its values, ethos, culture and indeed, the lived experiences of their children. It was an honour and a privilege to hear parents’ anecdotes about specific instances where they were able to recognise their children’s growth in confidence and development of self-worth and independence, through attending this Academy.
Parents reminisced and spoke openly about their historic concerns when it came time for their children to make the transition from primary into secondary education, especially in instances where their children had special educational needs. Parents united in their shared view that, in retrospect, any fears were unfounded. They described the school as “wonderful”, “brilliant”, and “amazing”, and communicated how they regularly feel reassured that staff are quick to respond to concerns or issues, in an appropriate and supportive way.
One parent commented that “Nothing, just nothing, is too much trouble. This school will do anything and everything to ensure that students feel included and have every opportunity to achieve.”
The Hub Council is the key mechanism whereby community links are forged between external partners and the school. Through the Hub Council, the school have a strong understanding of the needs of the community and in working together, is able to secure excellent opportunities for students to continue to develop and achieve.
Hub Council members run a uniform recycling shop away from the school to support those for whom a lack of financial resources may be a barrier. In the same vein, Hub Council members support preparations for the Year 11 Prom event where suits and gowns are made ready for those wishing to attend. Finally, there is an abundance of positive and engaging activities in the school holidays for students who might otherwise lack the means or resources to remain positively preoccupied. The Chair of the Hub Council spoke of her close relationships with school leaders and her pride in the Hub in relation to how members “will always go above and beyond” in support of the Academy and any individual in need.
There is extraordinarily strong evidence that the Academy utilises to full effect, opportunities to network locally, nationally, and globally to enrich the curriculum for students and to ensure that staff have recourse to excellent training opportunities. Many students are leading rich and fulfilling lives away from the school and this is highly supported and encouraged. Pupils are members of the local Army Cadets Corps, whilst others use the local Community Centre and are members of the town’s Library. There are strong links with local sporting clubs including Grimsby Town Football Club, where students’ talents and skills are developed. The Academy works closely with its sister school in nearby Wintringham to share best practices and problem-solve, all in the spirit of inclusion.
Links with the local, wider, and global community are seen as important and valuable in relation to broadening students’ horizons and enhancing cultural capital. Crucially, pupils are afforded multiple opportunities and are encouraged to engage with both national and international residential trips. Recent extra-curricular activities have included trips to the theatre, to London, to Paris and to Belgium.
The Oasis charity’s global links are used effectively to enrich the PSHE provision and enhance the curriculum. On the day of the assessment, Year 9 pupils spoke with warmth and pride about the work the school had done to support the people of Ukraine when war broke out there, as well as the awareness they were able to raise locally, following an Aspire Day, on human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
Through ongoing links with Camp International, the Academy are proud to have a small number of older students visiting places as far afield as Tanzania and Kenya, where they undertake school expeditions and learn about the issues affecting people’s lives and livelihoods in different parts of the globe.