2018 Inclusivity Award winners announced

June 28, 2018

Pupils at Spring Grove School, with their award

Spring Grove Junior Infant and Nursery School in Huddersfield has been announced as the first place winner of the 2018 Accord Inclusivity Award. The community school won strong praise from the judging panel for the extent to which it advances equality of opportunity, tackles discrimination and fosters good relations between those from different backgrounds.

Chair of the Accord Coalition and the 2018 judging panel, the Reverend Stephen Terry, visited the school week to present the school with its trophy during an all pupil assembly. Fr Terry reported back on his visit:

” On 20 June I travelled to Huddersfield to present the 2018 Accord Coalition Inclusivity Award to Spring Grove School .It was a long journey, but any doubts I might have had about whether it was worth making the journey were instantly dispelled on arrival; it is a long time since I have had the pleasure of being in such a happy school. Everyone – staff, children, governors, parents – had smiles on their faces, and were open and welcoming in a totally natural way.

By great good fortune my visit coincided with the school’s Eid celebration, and so I was treated to the sight of everyone in their special clothes – and a splendid Eid celebration lunch! I also had the opportunity to tour the school and speak to staff, pupils and governors, and  as I did my conversations with them all served to confirm my view that the Accord Judges had made the right decision – here is a school for whom inclusivity is not just another box to tick; it is at the very heart of the education that they offer. It is quite obviously something to which the whole school is committed.

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Eid assembly, and the presentation of the award was warmly received. The crowning moment for me was to hear a year 5 pupil, on seeing the trophy, say to her neighbour “that is so cool!”.The Huddersfield Examiner were on hand to take photographs and conduct a short video interview, which we hope will provide further good publicity for an outstanding school in every (not just the OFSTED) sense.

Altogether a very positive and happy experience – I wish that those who pay lip service to Inclusive Education could have been with me to see how it works in practice. My visit concluded with a fire alarm, which meant that we all had to evacuate! This too was carried out with the utmost calm efficiency.

In conclusion I wish to thank Shazia Azhar, the headteacher, Helen Rivers, the RE Co-ordinator, and all who made my visit such a pleasure, a pleasure which survived defective trains, malfunctioning points and a mislaid railway ticket on my journey home.”

Aspects of the school’s work that drew praise from this year’s Award judges included:

  • Providing assemblies that allow for either prayer or reflection for those of different religious and non-religious backgrounds, and which constantly reinforce importance of respect, tolerance and care for others
  • Embracing the rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into the curriculum and its approach to behaviour at the school, and obtaining support for these goals from staff, including lunchtime staff
  • Support from Governors that the school should be fully committed to advancing equality of opportunity and tackling discrimination of any kind
  • Exceptional support for pupils at an early stage of learning English, pupils who are disabled or those who have special educational needs
  • Staff dealing with instances of bullying and inappropriate language very quickly
  • Recognising the relative religious homogeneity of its intake (87% of pupils come from a Muslim background) and engaging with projects with other schools, including twinning arrangements and initiating an annual inter-faith inter-school Peace Day Ceremony
  • Providing excellent RE, with the school having held the Religious Education Council of England and Wales’ Gold Quality Mark continually since 2014

Commenting on her school’s success, Spring Grove’s head teacher, Shazia Azhar, told Accord ‘I am delighted that the work of our school community has been recognised. This work is more important now than ever before. Our community is an example to the world!’

Fairisle Junior School staff and pupils, with the school’s trophy

In second place has come Fairisle Junior School in Southampton. Aspects of the school’s work that stood out included its expertise in Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education. The school participates as a Stonewall Training School, where the lead PSHE teacher delivers a teaching programme from the LGBT equality charity Stonewall that promotes equality and inclusion, including at a range of other local schools. Others areas of work commended by the judges included the school celebrating different worldviews in assemblies, often linked to meaningful events and the curriculum, and teaching about different types of bullying and its commitment to inhibit it whenever it occurs.

Commenting on the school the Reverend Stephen Terry said ‘Whether through inhibiting bullying, an imaginative understanding of compulsory worship laws to provide inclusive assemblies, or through taking the acceptance of LGBT people seriously, Fairisle Junior School displays an a very strong commitment towards creating an open and welcoming community. It goes far above and beyond what is normally expected of a junior school and the judges are delighted to recognise its work and commend it to others.’

Headteacher at the school, Peter Howard, said ‘We are delighted with the award we have received and that that our work has been recognised. It comes at the same time that OfSTED have also credited our inclusive ethos. We are extremely proud of the wonderful children who attend our school, and everyone at Fairisle Junior works hard to develop well-rounded, happy individuals.’

Southampton City Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Councillor Darren Paffey, added ‘Southampton is a diverse city, and is all the richer for it. I’m therefore delighted whenever we see children and young people leading the way in the respect they show each other and the way they are inclusive in their schools and wider communities. Congratulations to all staff at Fairisle Junior School for the work they’ve put in to achieving this recognition of a strong and inclusive school community.’

Staff and pupils at Shavington Academy with their trophy

In third place is Shavington Academy near Crewe. Aspects of the secondary school’s work that drew praise included:

  • organising a group for LGBT pupils
  • having been awarded the Religious Education Council’s Gold Quality Mark
  • encouraging every pupil to study RE at GCSE (increasingly uncommon at non-faith schools)
  • providing inclusive ‘humanitarian’ assemblies delivered through moments of reflection which respect the autonomy of pupils
  • providing high quality Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education which includes teaching parents about their child’s risks and responsibilities online
  • organising Muslim speakers each year to help challenge stereotypes and improve understanding of Islam and British Muslims among the school’s largely non-Muslim intake

Usually given to schools, the inclusivity award has been running since 2009 and recognises those that work hardest at boosting social cohesion and the growth of mutual understanding between people from difference backgrounds, especially on the grounds of religion and belief. The award has been listed by Ofsted as a project for schools to support their work in advancing their equality and cohesion duties. Details about applying for the 2019 Award will be announced on Accord website in the autumn.

Joining Fr Terry on the prestigious 2018 judging panel were:

  • Professor Becky Francis – Director of the UCL Institute of Education, the world’s highest rated university education faculty
  • Dr Ed Kessler – Director of the Cambridge Woolf Institute and national expert on inter-faith relations
  • Baroness Kishwer Falkner – Chancellor of the University of Northampton, with interests in foreign affairs, national security, and diversity and equality
  • Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain – writer, broadcaster, Minister at the Maidenhead Synagogue and President of the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education

2 Responses to 2018 Inclusivity Award winners announced

  1. John Ricketts on July 18, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Huddersfield, Southampton, Crewe. Three very different places but what stories of excellence each has to tell.

    Many congratulations to everyone; and thanks to the Accord Coalition for what it continues to do!

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