Despite the widespread challenges faced by schools over the past two years, we are delighted to announce that New College Leicester has been recognised in a national award for the consistently high quality and far-reaching work we have undertaken to meet the needs of all students, particularly those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
During her visit to New College Leicester, the assessor critiqued evidence provided by senior staff and also observed lessons, spoke with students and external partners including the Senior Educational Psychologist.
Following this rigorous scrutiny, we have successfully retained the SEND Inclusion Award (SENDIA), a highly valued accreditation which signifies that a school is focused on removing barriers to education through early identification of additional needs, inclusive teaching and leadership.
Describing New College as ‘an inspiring place to be’ the assessor was impressed by how far beyond the required standards the College had progressed in the development of its practices and approaches stating: “The portfolio of evidence demonstrates that New College engages in current research, is reflective of their successes and areas for development, and has the highest aspirations, in all areas, for their Learners and the community as a whole.”
This is the second time that New College has been awarded the SENDIA accreditation, which demonstrates the ongoing commitment shown by the school, situated in the New Parks area of Leicester, to supporting children with SEND.
Staff received praise for fully understanding their responsibility to meeting the needs of every Learner and for creating an accessible curriculum that focuses on skills and attributes students will need when leaving school. The students with whom she spoke, members of NCL’s Student Parliament, were described as eloquent and enthusiastic in their discussions around their needs and the provision provided by New College. The opinions and decisions of students were also found to drive change and develop NCL’s inclusive ethos.
This latest accreditation is particularly pleasing for all staff given the challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Learning from home amidst numerous lockdowns has had an impact on all children, but particularly those with SEND and those living in areas with high levels of deprivation, such as New Parks. The SENDIA report states that “Despite the disruption from the Covid pandemic, New College has made some impressive progress and further strengthened their inclusivity, systems and approaches.”
Jane Brown, Principal at New College Leicester comments: “The last 2 years has been significantly challenging and difficult for all, especially those involved in education. At New College we have strived to maintain our high standards and expectations with regards to SEND and Inclusion for all. Difficult as this has been, the whole staff team have pulled together, even more so than prior to the pandemic, to ensure students felt safe, secure and included in their educational journey.
Our school mantra of #ThisIsUs, and our core values of Respect, Resilience, Resourcefulness and Responsibility shines through in this report. This is something we are all incredibly proud of. When faced with daily challenges it is pleasing to have our SEND strategies and their impact validated by an external agency. For SENDIA to recognise our achievements, our progress, our inclusivity and our relentless focus on meeting the needs of the whole community, makes us incredibly proud.
We are absolutely thrilled that our staff, students, parents/carers and governors have achieved this award again confirming the outstanding support, provision, care and attention shown to all of our students – proving that our students are at the heart of our school.”
This latest award follows the College’s designation as an Inclusion Quality Mark Flagship School, a national accreditation which recognises a school’s inclusive practice and ongoing commitment to developing educational inclusion. One of only 135 schools across the U.K. to hold this top level award, New College’s commitment to sustaining the Inclusion Quality Mark ethos through collaborative activities, its capacity to share and disseminate good inclusion practice across a broader cluster of schools, and to engage in classroom level research that explores inclusive practice underpin this achievement.