A Derby special school has been formally recognised for the work that it does to include the families of pupils in everyday learning and day-to-day school life.
St Giles School, in Hampshire Road, have successfully achieved the Families First Quality Award (FFQA). The FFQA is a national quality assurance process and quality improvement framework, which is designed to help provide gold standard information to families, keeping them at the heart of the work they do.
Lead practitioners Sam Pryor, Jess Griffiths and Fiona Hallam play an important leadership role in supporting families at the school and were the lead on the FFQA award, making sure that all the procedures and evidence were in place.
As a team they have supported pupils during transition both to and from St Giles, welcomed parents of new starters to open events, organised termly family tea parties and delivered a family support programme on topics such as behaviour management. They also liaise with external agencies and organisations to support families outside of the school day, including securing respite and holiday club places for children with special educational needs.
Sam Pryor, lead practitioner, said: “Our termly tea parties, where parents and carers can come into school and join us for a chat, have proved really popular.
“We’re working hard on making our next termly tea party – scheduled for November 28th – a big success. St Giles will be celebrating their 60th anniversary and we want to make this a special occasion.
“Evidence gathered suggest that families and carers are happy with the work which we do at St Giles. Knowing that parents can come in or pick up the phone is reassuring for them.”
“The award is a great recognition of what we do at St Giles,” said Fiona Hallam, who is the school’s safeguarding lead.
“We had to produce evidence of the great work we do at St Giles, such as how we communicate and support parents and carers and relevant staff training. The reassuring thing for us, was that most of this was already in place; we work hard in supporting pupils transitioning to and from St Giles.
“We go on regular visits to secondary schools for those Year 6 pupils leaving St Giles and provide a ‘meet and greet’ at the school gates every morning, which goes down really well with new starters.
“It’s so important to get these procedures in place early. The transition period begins a long time before is actually happens. It’s reassuring for parents and carers that this is in place; we’re proud of the relationship we have with families of our pupils and are always looking at new ways in which to involve them in school life.”
St Giles’ executive head teacher, Clive Lawrence, said: “It is vital that we work closely with all of our pupils’ families, as I am a strong believer that great home-school relationships contribute to positive pupil outcomes.
“All staff are fully committed to this ethos and they all work very hard to encourage and liaise with families. The family support work carried out by Sam, Fiona and Jess was highly commended by Ofsted and being recently awarded the Family First Accreditation certainly reaffirms that families continue to be at the heart of the school’s work.
“It’s great to see so many families now involved in the life of the school and regularly learning and celebrating alongside their child.”
Derby County midfielder Bradley Johnson has also played a positive role in engaging families in the life of the school. Bradley recently worked with St Giles’ school PTA to raise funds for a multi-use games area.
He has also agreed to fund the cost of Derby County’s mascot, Rammie, at the school’s 60th birthday celebrations in November.
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