Winners of Accord 2013 Inclusivity Award announced

March 15, 2013

Little Heath School, a special school in the London Borough of Redbridge, has been named as the first placed school in this year’s Accord Inclusivity Award. In second place is Thornhill School, a secondary school in Sunderland, while in third is Oakleigh School, a special school in Whetstone, in the Borough of Barnet.

The annual Award, now in its fourth year, seeks to reward those institutions that do most to promote an ethos of inclusion and the growth of mutual understanding, with particular regard to inclusion and understanding on the grounds of religion and belief. The 2013 Award is the first time that special schools have been a recognised.


Pupils at Little Heath School.

Little Heath School won strong praise from the judges for its innovative approach to RE, which since its nomination for the Award was submitted has been highlighted by Ofsted as an example for other special schools to follow. The school’s approach builds on pupil’s life experiences, and children are taught about a wide range of world faiths and Humanism. The judges also praised Little Heath for its use of dance in its schools assemblies to inspire and develop pupil’s values and beliefs.

The second place school, Thornhill School, earned strong commendation for its multifaceted approach to tackling prejudice and intolerance. The school has developed a peer mentoring group designed to tackle bullying and harassment and ensure that pupils seek help, which has formed an important part of its pastoral care. The school had also formed a rap group, with respect as the central theme of its work, which has performed to local children in its local region. Meanwhile, pupils at the school took part in a professionally produced advert, made in partnership with the NHS, which challenged stigma surrounding mental health problems and has been broadcast in cinemas.

The third place school, Oakleigh School in the Borough of Barnet, won praise for its celebration of the different cultural backgrounds and religious and non-religious beliefs of pupil’s families in assemblies. The also school takes special care to ensure that pupils followed dietary and cultural rules in accordance with their parent’s or carer’s wishes, while pupils, parents, carers and siblings are offered arts therapy.

This year’s Award was judged by another diverse and experienced awarding panel, which comprised of:

  • 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

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain said ‘As this year’s Award highlights, the promotion of inclusion and the growth of mutual understanding can and should be embraced by all schools, and the panel were delighted to recognise the winning schools for their innovative practices and firm commitment to ensuring they promoted and inspired cohesiveness and respect’.

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