Brixton school is equal opportunities leader

EGA pupils with Percy the therapy dog

For the second year running Brixton’s Ark Evelyn Grace Academy (EGA) has been recognised as a leader in promoting equal opportunities for all pupils, regardless their age, gender, ethnicity, attainment or background.

The mixed, non-selective secondary with more than 600 pupils has retained its flagship status for the Inclusion Quality Mark (IQM). IQM teams help schools to evaluate and measure how they are performing on equal opportunities.; empowering them to improve and grow.

When they are successful, it recognises their achievements by a system of awards that confirm their inclusive status to the public.

The IQM assessor who visited Ark Evelyn Grace commented on the schjool’s excellence inclusion practice, saying award was “well deserved”.

“Inclusion is at the heart of Evelyn Grace Academy,” said the school, welcoming the award.

“We provide our students with a range of support catered to their individual needs. From our therapy dog Percy and horse therapy sessions for children with social, emotional and mental health issues, to our targeted literacy and numeracy interventions, EGA provides its students with all the support they need to secure good life chances.

The school said it works creatively to ensure that any barriers to learning are overcome in a caring and supportive manner.

EGA has had a busy year working on inclusion, including the introduction of a “nurture group” which offers new students a wellbeing package as well as literacy and numeracy support to help them succeed.

The school has also developed a new “inclusion space” – a work room and relaxation area in the heart of the school for students who require the most support.

“We have also been working very hard in developing the quality of teaching and learning for our students through staff training; and our Learning support assistants have been working superbly in and outside of classrooms, ensuring inclusion is at the heart of the academy,” the school said.

EGA principal Tim Dainty said: “I am immensely proud of securing this award for the second year running. It is testament to the excellent work of Claire Walley (head of inclusion and safeguarding at EGA) and her team. 

“We do many things very well at Evelyn Grace, but the support we offer for our vulnerable students and those with additional needs is second to none” 

Claire Walley said: “We are very pleased to have secured the IQM flagship status for the second year running.”

She outlined the school’s vision for inclusion:

  • EGA is committed to providing the conditions and opportunities to enable any child with special educational needs to be included fully in all aspects of school life.
  • All our students are to be respected and seen to have potential for improvement. Through effective teaching and learning, support and encouragement and working closely with parents and carers we can enable the fulfilment of each child’s potential, preparing them for life as successful, independent members of their community.
  • All students’ additional needs are catered for in every lesson, every day. Inclusion is part of the fabric of our school.

“I am proud to say that this vision is very much becoming a reality,” said Claire Walley.

All of EGA’s Year 11 EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan – which outlines any special educational needs a child has, and the provision a local authority must put in place to help them) pupils secured a place at a suitable college or post-16 provider.

The school said that this was “further proof that, with the right support, all our students can succeed and have good life chances”.