The new academic year has begun brightly at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Engineering College in Skelmersdale with the receipt of two notable awards. OLQP has gained recognition for its excellence in providing an inclusive curriculum as well as for the quality of its music teaching. It earned reaccreditation as a Flagship School for Inclusion following a visit from an Inclusion Quality Mark (IQM) assessor, and achieved the status of a Music Mark School thanks to its commitment to the Performing Arts.
As a flagship school for inclusion since 2016, the Skelmersdale college successfully addresses all of the IQM’s key elements. Moreover, as a flagship school, it takes a leading role in sharing its work with other schools. For the reassessment this September, the focus was on the extensive work carried out by the school on further developing a fully inclusive curriculum, through which all children are able to succeed, thrive and follow their high aspirations. The IQM assessor recognised the ‘inclusive curriculum, where a great deal of progress has been made in a relatively short time’.
As part of the recent curricular developments, work was shared on the whole school curriculum structure, including new courses well suited to pupils of all abilities; new accreditations; flexible ways of approaching alternative provision; and pupil, staff, parental and governor involvement in creating innovative and flexible curricular opportunities.
In particular, the school has developed its own programme, called ‘Curriculum for Life’ and evaluated as ‘a fantastic programme’ by the assessor. This innovative programme, devised by Our Lady’s staff and pupils, covers citizenship and statutory aspects of PSHE, RSE, healthy lifestyles and careers education, with the goal of developing the whole child and preparing them for life beyond school.
Extracts from the report celebrate the inclusive approach of the whole community and its positive impact:
• ‘Everyone at the school is fully committed to maximising the achievement of every student, whatever it takes.’
• ‘OLQP is a place that provides a happy, stimulating and extremely vibrant learning environment.’
• ‘The staff at OLQP are extremely invested in what they do and view what they do as a vocation and this has an enormously positive effect on their peers and their students.’
• ‘Superbly inclusive approach that while sensitive to the needs of staff and students will allow students to move forward with their education in a highly focused and supportive manner.’
• ‘Everyone in the school should be extremely proud of what they achieve on a daily basis.’
• ‘This is a school constantly looking at ways to develop and evolve for the benefit of its learning community with a mutual respect and care that is evident across the staff body, and it was clear that there is a fantastic rapport between staff and students.’
• ‘The school prides itself on superb pastoral care, actively promoting equality and diversity, and is therefore an extremely welcoming, highly inclusive and caring school.’
• ‘The school continues to move from strength to strength in terms of its inclusive practice.’
‘High-quality Music education’
September also brought a second accolade as Our Lady’s became a Music Mark School – an award made ‘in recognition of a commitment to providing a high-quality Music education for all children and young people’. The school’s Head of Performing Arts, Andy Longden, said: ‘This is a wonderful testimony to our fantastic students as they continue to fully embrace all aspects of Music in Our Lady’s. We are so proud of them all.’
Headteacher Alison Knight offered praise and congratulation to her pupils and staff, saying: ‘Students at Our Lady’s are extremely talented and our commitment to an outstanding Arts education is at the heart of the innovative, broad and balanced curriculum offered to all young people in our school. As well as an outstanding programme of concerts and shows, we are fully committed to ensuring that Arts subjects continue to be delivered as part of our full curriculum offer.
‘Students have excellent facilities and opportunities to develop their creative skills within the classroom, delivered by our own outstanding practitioners in Music, Drama, Dance and Art. In addition to positive experiences for their general good health and wellbeing, young people need enjoyment and confidence in developing a creative response to many issues in the world which they will lead.’
For further details, visit the school website: olqp.org.uk