Ofsted 2015 - "The school works very successfully with pupils from Forces families to ensure that they and their families are well supported"

"The school works very hard and is successful in its drive to ensure that all groups of pupils have equality of opportunity and that there is no discrimination. For example, parents who spoke to inspectors are very impressed with the support that the school gives to the pupils and families of those in the Forces. The school readily makes allowances on days when parents leave to go away from home or arrive back from working away from home for long periods of time. The school organises opportunities for Forces families to meet and talk, and gives Forces families new to the area guidance and support. The school also promotes the role of the Forces in pupils’ lives through regular Forces assemblies and a weekly club held for pupils from Forces families to spend time together."

As a school with up to 35% of the children coming from forces families it is imperative that we understand and respond to the needs of these families and in particular the needs of the  children so that there is no underperformance.

In our school, Forces children make good progress and this progress is often better than their peers in non-forces families. Their attainment is higher than all groups nationally.

This is in no small part to the fact that:

  • The well-being and attainment of Forces children is seen as of paramount importance to the Senior Leadership Team and this focus then percolates down to the teaching staff; we have high aspirations and high expectations.
  • All staff know who their Forces children are
  • All staff understand the issues that may affect Forces children and their familiesAs a staff we make sure that we keep up to date and understand the research that exists about the impact that there can be upon families and individual children relating to being in a Forces Family. This is generally considered to fall into two main but district areas: mobility and deployment.

 

Use of Service Pupil Premium is primarily for smaller classes, with an average of just 20 children in each class. Small classes  increase the level of pastoral care and support that can be put in place for individual children and their specific needs which may change during the year. 

In addition we put the following provisions in place:

We are part of the MKC Heroes group and staff attend meetings.

We hold a weekly drop in sessions where we enable children from Reception to Year Two to take part in a range of activities including playing together, making together and talking together . We call this group Forces Friends. It is very popular and each week different children come. In any one week their may be 25 children out of the possible 49 and across the year all children come to a few sessions each term. This group enable children to broaden their friendship and support network across the school. We ‘mix up’ children from different classes and different year groups and think about how our lives are similar to each other, maybe our parents are away Monday to Friday, or on a long deployment or we may have moved or be moving. We call this group Forces Friends. 

 

Service children who are new to our school following a deployment move receive a welcome card from our Forces Friends group and we give farewell cards when our friends leave at a different time or to a different location to their peers.

 

We have special books with our Forces Friends logo which children use to put down their thoughts or special things so that when their parents come back home they can see all about what we have done. Sometimes they have one of the books too so that they can write to their child.

We have at least one special assembly each year when the children talk to their parents about what happens in our groups; they love talking about the special work their parents do and the places their parents have been.

We hold a Remembrance Service in School each year and invite special guest to join us including all the parents who are or have served in the Armed Forces.

We attend visits that are appropriate to the age and stage of development of our children. This year our MKC Heroes children from Year Two visited the Poppy Wave on the Hoe. Previously we have attended events at HMS Raleigh.

We also take a very active role in the local community and attend council and Royal British Legion events.