Saxmundham Free School is a non-selective and inclusive school. It caters for students of all levels and abilities and a range of emotional and social needs. The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust believes in providing a broad and balanced, academically focussed curriculum in which inclusive practices enable access for all students.
As part of the leadership team of the school, Mrs E Swan (deputy headteacher) has been appointed as Inclusion Leader and is responsible for ensuring that the needs of all students at all levels and abilities will be catered for. She is the school’s SENCO and also champions the needs of able, gifted and talented youngsters and students with other needs. She leads a team of Higher Level Teaching Assistants and Teaching Assistants. Specially adapted facilities in the physical environment, including adapted furniture in specialist subjects (such as Science, Food Tech, etc.) ensure that those students with physical disabilities can access learning.
In order to promote and ensure inclusion, all our outstanding teachers have been recruited with inclusion in mind. They have applied to work with us because of our inclusive ethos and have extensive experience in inclusion in state education. The commitment of each and every staff member to inclusion has been rigorously tested at interview. We have provided more Professional Development Days for our staff than would normally be expected (10 instead of 5). This is purposely designed to ensure the necessary time for the training of our staff to meet the specific needs of the students in our school. As part of a wider Trust, Saxmundham Free School staff will set up links between schools to share the experience, expertise and good practice of our staff and to tap into qualifications across our network for the benefit of our students.
On a day-to-day basis, staff are aware of our clear expectations related to inclusion. Teaching and inclusion staff are expected to make the necessary adaptations to learning resources and materials and/or the objectives of the activities for each individual student in order to ensure appropriate progress and the achievement of all individual, social and academic goals. This expectation is so important it forms a central strand of the job descriptions of staff.
Each student has a Personal Education Plan (PEP). In this PEP, any special arrangements to meet the needs of students are clearly laid out. All of our work is underpinned by our strong pastoral and enrichment systems. Our tutors are the main people that guide, support and care for every student in our schools.
Our beliefs and goals are encapsulated in an Inclusion Policy and an Accessibility Plan that lay out clearly the way that Saxmundham Free School operates with regard to inclusive practice. All staff are expected to know every student’s name and needs. Our ethos, founded on the 6Cs to Success (Co-operation, Commitment, Confidence, Community, Challenge and Celebration) ensures that every student has the same access to the experiences and challenges of school life.
At the Saxmundham Free School, inclusion is part of a much larger picture than just placement in regular classes. Inclusion is about having access, but it is also about being welcomed and embraced as a member who belongs to our diverse community. We believe that the objective of inclusion is achieved only when a student is participating in the activities of the school and their classes with the support they need to achieve to their highest potential.