A CITY school is celebrating a first for York.

Woodthorpe School is the first primary school in the city to receive the Inclusion Quality Mark (IQM).

Following a lengthy process of self-evaluation, feedback and a formal two-day assessment visit from assessors, Woodthorpe Primary School has not only been awarded the IQM but has also been named as a Centre of Excellence for inclusion.

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The IQM provides UK schools with a nationally recognised validation of their inclusive practice and ongoing commitment to developing educational inclusion. Schools must be able to demonstrate that inclusion has a school-wide impact and is sustainable. The Centre of Excellence Award recognises those IQM Inclusive Schools which continue to demonstrate a commitment to outstanding levels of inclusive best practice.

The IQM states that in a school or education setting, inclusion means that every child and every adult who learns and works in a school is valued and whose educational and personal needs are met, and that it is also about parents and the community in which the school exists.

In the IQM report, the assessor stated that at Woodthorpe “every member of the school community exhibits an unwavering commitment to the pupils, school and community” going on to say that “This is a school community underpinned and framed by four key values - respect, challenge, skills for life and sport. Both equity and equality are championed for all, as depicted in the school vision statement: “Our school is a happy, exciting and caring community in which each child thrives”.”

During their visit to Woodthorpe Primary, assessors spoke to parents who praised leaders, staff and other stakeholders for their work with parents “to find solutions to any issues they face.” One parent shared, “we are lucky to have Woodthorpe. They go to every corner to make it happen. Fight to make it happen. Fight their corner.”

The school is praised for its progress and achievements, its aspirations, its “inviting yet low sensory” learning environments, its bespoke spaces and its inclusive culture. The strength of the school leaders is also recognised, with the assessor reporting that “the determined approach of the executive head and head of school, who lead with warmth, humour and humility” has led to a transformation in the school over the last two years.

James McGann, executive head at Woodthorpe said: “This is wonderful recognition for everyone at Woodthorpe.

"It is a true reflection of how dedicated and passionate all of our staff are when it comes to inclusion, and to be recognised as a Centre of Excellence is the icing on the cake.

"The IQM assessor recognised that there is a collective responsibility amongst staff to give pupils the most worthwhile and valuable Woodthorpe experience possible and how tirelessly staff work to support our pupils. It's gratifying that this is clear to the external assessor.”

James McGannJames McGann

Woodthorpe is part of the York-based South Bank Multi Academy Trust (SBMAT) alongside Millthorpe School, York High School, Carr Junior School and Knavesmire and Scarcroft Primary Schools.

Sue Wight, director of SEN and safeguarding at SBMAT said: “The process is rigorous, culminating in a two-day formal assessment which examines every element of school life, policies, processes, teaching and learning, staff and student wellbeing and more. The team at Woodthorpe absolutely deserve this recognition.”

Millthorpe School was the first of the SBMAT schools, and the first school in the city of York, to achieve IQM status in March 2024.