The scope of the awards
The Accord Coalition’s 2013 Inclusivity Award is open to all types of schools in England and Wales. Nominated schools will not be disadvantaged for having to operate under a different legal framework from some other schools, due to their location or necessarily because of the profile of their student body. Instead they will be rewarded for how they have gone about making that extra step within the particular setting that they find themselves in.
For example, the 2010 and 2012 Awards were both won by schools in built up areas with diverse intakes, while faith schools were also recognised on both occasions. Meanwhile, one of the two joint winning schools in the 2011 Award was a rural primary school, and both were located in relatively mono-cultural areas.
How the Awards will be judged
Ofsted describes the features of a school with an outstanding contribution to community cohesion as:
“The school has made an important and beneficial contribution to promoting community cohesion in its wider region or even nationally. Its planned actions to promote community cohesion are underpinned by an effective analysis of the school’s context (including faith, ethnic and cultural, and socio-economic factors). The school’s evaluation of its actions shows a significant impact on its own community. Learners have a strong sense of common values, integrate actively with learners from other groups, and are respectful of others’ differences. Learners themselves make a strong contribution to the promotion of equalities and the elimination of prejudice and discrimination.”
We agree with Ofsted. The Award judges want to hear about and celebrate those schools that promote inclusion, cohesion, equality and the growth of mutual understanding as a core part of their ethos, and that nurture active citizens, who are confident in themselves, tolerant and respectful of others, and keen to make a difference in society. The judges are especially interested in the way that schools address issues of religion and philosophical belief, both inside the school and through any relationships with local, national and international communities. In addition, the judges would like to know how the school’s inclusive ethos guides its policies on ethnic, cultural and socio-economic differences, as well as those based on gender, age, disability and sexual orientation.
The key way that your school will be evaluated is through the nomination form that is received on its behalf. The judges will be looking for details, not just about specific initiatives established to promote the growth of mutual understanding and improved community cohesion, but also a broad range of activities (such as approaches in the curriculum, the admissions policy, the kind of assemblies provided, invited speakers, visits etc). In addition to individual projects and initiatives, judges would also like to see evidence of the school’s strategic vision and ethos that underpin its work.
We will accept all completed nomination forms, but because of the relatively detailed nature of the information required, forms should probably be answered with the advice of a governor or/ and a teacher, if not by a teacher or governor themselves. If you know of an inclusive school that you think should be considered then please suggest that they apply, and tell us about their strongest attributes, and we will ask them to consider submitting a nomination as well.
We know how busy teachers are and have tried to make the process of applying as simple as possible. Most of the questions that are asked will have already been answered, or at least seriously considered, in material already produced for Ofsted, the school prospectus, school newsletters or internal policy documents.
Prizes will be awarded to the schools that have done the most to embody an ethos of inclusion, but some schools may also be commended for specific aspects of their work on inclusion, cohesion and equality. For this reason we suggest schools highlight one policy or initiative that they feel has been especially successful or innovative.
The judges will also access recent Ofsted inspection reports (for schools in England) and look online at the school website for the most recent prospectus, admission requirements and other available school policies. Ofsted stopped inspecting how schools promote community cohesion in 2012, but they continue to look at how schools develop their pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and how pupils contribute to the wider community, and all this information continues to be of value. If there is any other external evidence that the judges should be made aware of (for example, involvement in well regarded projects, testimonies from community groups who have worked with students etc) then please include appropriate website links.
Applicants that go over the word limit will be disadvantaged. We also cannot guarantee that hard copies of extra information that are supplied will be passed onto the judges, so if you want judges to see something then please consider hosting a scanned copy of the relevant documentation online and include a link to it in your form. If you want judges to see an unprinted digital document file then please also consider hosting and linking to it in the same way.
What did the judges like about previous winning schools?
The 2012 Award was won by Lammas School and Sports College in Leyton, East London. Lammas School won strong praise from the expert panel of judges for:
- its use of assemblies to forge shared values
- the importance assigned to community cohesion, including the appointment of a school governor specifically tasked with supporting and monitoring the schools inclusivity and cohesion work
- the popularity of its provision of Religious Education, which was the school’s strongest subject at GCSE in 2011, while one of the school’s governors also sat on the local authority committee tasked with monitoring the provision of RE in local schools
- its sensitivity towards the diverse backgrounds of it pupils, who spoke over fifty languages, and its ability to adapt to the changing cultural and religious profile of its student body
- the implementation of a cashless system in the school canteen to tackle an observed stigma of pupils in receipt of free school meals, the positive feedback from stakeholders, as well its strong assessment by OFSTED
In second place was St George’s Voluntary Aided School, a Christian faith school in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. It earned high praise from the judges for its outstanding work in tackling homophobic bullying, which was based in school’s Christian values of treating everyone with respect and kindness.
The 2011 Award was won by Gwinear Community Primary School in West Cornwall and Ridgeway High School in Birkenhead. Among the activities of Gwinear Community Primary School remarked on by the judges were:
- A biennial ‘Modern Britain week’, which included an Age awareness day with Age UK and a visit to a local care home; a Sikhism day; a visit from a Russian speaker and a disabilities day with workshops led by people with disabilities
- A history month on Roma people and travellers
- A unit on Christian charitable work in RE
- A very wide range of speakers from different religious and belief groups in school assemblies
- Outstanding LGBT equality work for a school at the primary stage, which included organising workshops for children led by a local charity dealing with LGBT bullying, as well as visits to the school from a gay parent to meet with teachers, parents and pupils
Meanwhile, Ridgeway High School impressed the judges after it managed to put distractions of threatened closure to one side and won strong praise for the ambition and the integration of special activities into the curriculum; the focus on local activity and its drive to widen the their horizons and give them responsibility.
The 2010 Award was won by Manorside Primary School in North London, with runners up being the Anglo-European School in Essex and Balshaw’s Church of England High School in Leyland, Lancashire. Among the activities of Manorside Primary School that were remarked on by the judges were:
- A refugee week, which involved parents, refugee speakers from Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone and a talk from a school governor who had escaped Nazi persecution
- Links with local Jewish, Roman Catholic and community schools
- A Language of the Month—in which ‘language ambassadors’ teach their peers basic words in the featured language and the register is answered in that language
- Induction procedures and a buddying system described as “excellent” by Ofsted
- Inclusive recruitment of governors and teachers, who represent a wide range of linguistic, ethnic and belief backgrounds.
- Assemblies cover a wide range of religious and non religious themes, with the involvement of staff, parents and outside speakers
- A RE syllabus which covers a broad range of beliefs, complemented with partnerships with complementary schools, local arts groups and religious organizations
The Accord Coalition’s 2013 Inclusivity Award will be judged by:
- Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers
- Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Foreign Affairs in the House of Lords
- John Keast OBE, Chair of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales
- Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, Chair of the Accord Coalition
- The Rt Revd Dr Alan Wilson, The Bishop of Buckingham
How to apply
Please complete the contact details sheet and answer the four questions contained in the application form, and return it to email@example.com.
If you have any questions then please email Paul or call on 0207 462 4990. The deadline for entries is Sunday December 9th.