Learning Outside the Classroom
We are proud to celebrate that in November 2019, St Giles Spencer Academy were awarded LOtC Mark (Silver) by the registered charity 'Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.' This great achievement was awarded to St Giles in recognition of our 'commitment to ensuring all learners have access to good quality educational experiences beyond the classroom walls' (LOtC). The report highlighted that 'St Giles is clearly a good school working hard to help all of the children in its care navigate the world happily and achieve their potential.'
Inclusion Quality Mark - Flagship Status
St Giles was first awarded Flagship Status in July 2018. St. Giles has been awarded ‘Flagship Status’ for its high quality work in inclusion. In order to achieve Flagship Status a school must have held 'Centre of Excellence' status for at least three years prior to attaining Flagship status for the first time.
An assessor came to re-visit the school in September 2021 as part of the on-going review process, their report concluded that:
The school is explicit in all that it does and articulates its aims and objects clearly. The school believes that the quality of education a child receives empowers their future choices and affects their level of independence and life chances. The leaderships commitment in leading SEND practice and inclusivity is testimony to the importance in her belief that all children can achieve. Systems and practices have been put in place to support the most vulnerable children so that they have a sense of belonging, trust, and are given the skills and attributes to take ownership for their own personal development. This may be behavioural where children are able to self-direct and take themselves off and self-regulate, or academically where all children are given a personalised curriculum so that they are actively involved and take ownership in decision making in relation to their academic development. The school rightly places high importance in the mental health of both staff and children which is intrinsic to how they work within St. Giles and not seen as an ‘add on’.
Structured teaching approaches are embedded throughout the school and autistic pupils are well supported in their communication, sensory regulation and emotional wellbeing. There is a strong commitment to empowering them to become more independent and confident in their abilities. Feedback from parents is overwhelmingly positive.
At St. Giles they believe in harnessing children’s unique skills across all areas of the curriculum as well as their life skills, tailoring learning to best support their future goals. This is evidenced by the values that children are not only able to articulate, but also displayed in their actions around school. One child stated, ‘the school helps us and I enjoy coming- I am able to be calm.’ The School Council are given the independence and have designed the new Hive logo and their voice is being heard. For example, the formation of lunchtime clubs including the formation of a ‘choir’.
On the 5th July 2019 St Giles Spencer Academy were awarded the Autism Accreditation by The National Autistic Society, the UK’s leading charity for people on the autism spectrum and their families. The award was given in recognition of the school’s good autism practice. The report highlights that ‘the school provides personal centred support based on a thorough understanding of each autistic pupil’s strengths and challenges. Structured teaching approaches are embedded throughout the school and autistic pupils are well supported in their communication, sensory regulation and emotional well-being. There is a strong commitment to empowering them to become more independent and confident in their abilities. Feedback from parents is overwhelmingly positive’.
Shine a Light - SEN School of the Year
Shine a Light Award – 2019 SEN School of the Year Award
St Giles Spencer Academy was awarded the SEN School of the Year Award for the work that they do in supporting pupils’ communication and independence skills at the UK-wide 2019 Shine a Light Awards, organised by learning company Pearson, in partnership with The Communication Trust. The award celebrates innovative work and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s speech, language and communication development. They also recognise the hard work and determination of children and young people who have some form of long-term and persistent speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).
Fair Active Award
In March 2019 St Giles was awarded the FairActive Award. To achieve the FairActive award pupils looked at global issues such as where our food comes from and how we are connected to people around the world.
International School's Award
Accredited by the British Council St Giles Achieved the International School's Award in December 2018. They said "Global learning is embedded throughout St Giles’ thematic curriculum, and it undertakes collaborative international work with partner schools in Europe, Africa and Asia. Congratulations on your success, and I wish you luck with your future international work. Well done!"
Arts Mark - Gold
We are an Arts Mark School, previously gaining Gold in 2019 and hoping to work towards Platinum. The Arts Mark scheme aims to bring learning to life through arts and culture - an ethos which is key to St Giles. Specifically, the Gold award aims to provide a culture of arts that is embedded within curriculum, ethos and values. Well done St Giles and onto Platinum!
The Families First Quality Award (FFQA) is a national quality assurance process and quality improvement framework designed to help you provide gold standard information to families and keep families at the heart of your work.
The assessor said "The role of parents/carers in supporting readiness for learning is clearly valued by the school and a range of approaches are used which enable family needs to be identified and met. Parents/carers interviewed reported that family support had changed their lives, for example by enabling them to arrange transport to school for their child, to be able to consolidate the school’s development of their child’s behaviour and communication skills by mirroring fun learning activities at home, or by enabling them to access the support from other professionals needed for safeguarding, family health and wellbeing, including personal counselling."
By achieving the award, St Giles has demonstrated a level of quality in relation to its work with families; successfully engaging parents, carer and children.
Sports Mark - Bronze award
Achieved in July 2016, The School Games Mark is a Government led awards scheme launched in 2012 to reward schools for their commitment to the development of sports competition across their school and into the community.
As a bronze school we achieved the following criteria:
- A system is in place to track young people’s participation in School Games
- Opportunities that attract less active young people to participate in physical activity
- Held a School Games Day as the culmination of a year-round competition programme
- A calendar of competition is in place that demonstrates opportunities for young people with SEND to take part in competitions;
- A notice board is in school which promotes School Games activity
- Plans are in place to provide all pupils with two hours of physical education and school sport per week inclusive of extra curriculum provision;
- We engage at least 20% of pupils (5% for special schools due to the size of the school) in extracurricular sporting activity every week
- Use the School Games formats to provide the opportunity for both boys and girls to take part in the appropriate level of competition
- Engage at least 5% of pupils in leading, managing and officiating School Games activity
Makaton Friendly Award
Achieved in June 2016, The Makaton Friendly Award recognises local organisations, businesses and educational establishments that strive to make their services accessible to children and adults who use Makaton. We are passionate about communication and firmly believe that all pupils and adults with a learning or communication difficulty should be able to access the same services and facilities as everyone else.
ICan – “Primary Talk” Accreditation
The "iCan Primary Talk” Accreditation was first achieved in July 2015 and has been re-accredited every year since. We were accredited at Specialist Level, not because we are a Special Needs School but rather because of the high quality provision in place to support children's communication needs which is underpinned by the 'expert' knowledge and skill of our staff.
As a Communication Specialist School we deliver high quality, integrated speech and language therapy and education for children with the most severe and complex speech, language and communication needs. Services at Specialist Level can demonstrate collaborative multi-disciplinary practice that benefits the children and their families.
The external assessor/moderator praised St. Giles Spencer Academy for the following:
- Outstanding strategic lead from senior leaders has resulted in an effective provision for pupils with severe and complex Speech, Language and Communication Needs.
- Communication is integral to the school’s culture and overtly demonstrated through the physical environment and practice of all staff
- The impact of the focus on communication has led to a reduction in behaviour incidents and improvement in pupil attainment
- A wide range of differentiated strategies and specialist approaches were used by the whole staff team to support learning and inclusion
- Pupils were engaged in their lessons due to a high level of multisensory input and all opportunities were used to encourage independence skills
- There is an excellent deployment of staff and classroom teams work effectively together to meet the care and educational needs of each child
- Feedback from parents was extremely positive. In particular:
Their involvement in their child’s IEP and sharing the target setting process
The support and resources provided by school to address specific difficulties at home
The good progress they have observed in their children since joining the school
How their own expertise in SEN is recognised and used by the school to develop a ‘tailor made’ provision for their child