Winning Best School Star at the Grantham is Great Awards was not just one teacher, but the entire staff at Huntingtower Community Primary Academy.
This was because nominator Katie Clearly has been so impressed with everyone’s involvement in helping her five-year-old son Loui, who has cerebral palsy, as well as his brother Vinny, aged 6.
The award comes as the school enters its 100th year, and has also recently earned the inclusion quality mark and become a centre of excellence. The Journal spoke to Katie, headteacher Mark Addison and deputy head Emma Harkins to find out more.
What made you decide to nominate the entire school?
Katie: Because they all go out of their way to make sure Loui has the support he needs. He and other disabled children have an extra PE class after school which has helped Loui’s balance and given him a lot of confidence. This is something the staff do completely off their own backs. It is a brilliant school.
Why do you think you won the award, and what does it mean to all the staff?
Mark: We are hugely proud - our staff work extremely hard, as do our children. We have a strong special educational needs department and pastoral department, so we not only look after the academic side of education, but make sure the children are happy. And happy children learn! This particular young man has made massive progress, and is known to every member of staff.
Emma: It’s all down to our positive ethos and working incredibly hard to meet the needs of the children. It’s within our values to be inclusive. And it was great that our special education needs co-ordinator Dawn Bradshaw was also nominated.
What makes the school stand out?
Mark: Our approach to learning is project based, to make sure there’s a tangible outcome at the end for the children. We also create immersive environments depending on the focus, for example to get pupils immersed in what it was like in World War II, we have had Anderson shelters built inside and outside, by a local carpenter and school volunteer.
Emma: Our great relationship with the community means our pupils are able to gain lots of different experiences.