On Friday 23 June, Team Formby High attended the glittering ceremony at Grosvenor House in London for the Tes Schools Awards 2023. We were shortlisted in the category of Inclusive School of the Year and are delighted to announce that we won!

The event provides an opportunity to showcase the best of British education; to be shortlisted was a real achievement, let alone be presented with the inaugural Inclusive School of the Year award.  There were over 1000 guests in the Grosvenor House Great Room, and the event was hosted by acclaimed actor James Nesbit and featured an opening West End performance from Disney’s ‘Frozen’.  There to accept the award on stage from Margaret Mulholland (SEND & Inclusion Specialist at ASCL) were Mr Mackenzie (Headteacher), Mrs Blanchard (Deputy Headteacher), Mr Cook (Senior Assistant Headteacher) and Mrs Warwick (SENDCO).

Formby High School is seen as a flagship school for SEND and is leading the way in the region.  Staff and students at Formby High School are deeply proud of our reputation as a highly inclusive school where students’ tolerance and respect for neurodiversity and difference is embedded within our culture.

Inclusivity is integral to our school’s identity and is woven into all aspects of our academic curriculum, personal development and extra-curricular opportunities.  In our recent Ofsted inspection (November 2022) the HMI commented that ‘Pupils describe Formby High School as a welcoming and friendly school where people’s differences are celebrated.’  This culture is enriched by developing awareness and understanding of children’s needs and how they can be best supported, and by fostering an environment where students can confidently communicate and celebrate their neuro-diversity.  ‘Stand Under My Umbrella’ has been our school theme this year to embrace the power of SEND.  From Year 6 transition visits to open evenings, choral ensembles to choreographed lyrical dance performances, neuro-diversity has been at the heart of Formby High School.

Our latest Ofsted report states, ‘All pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), study the whole curriculum’ and that ‘Leaders are ambitious for pupils and students with SEND. The needs of these pupils are identified quickly and accurately.  Leaders have developed well thought out individualised programmes that ensure the needs of this group of pupils are being met. Teachers are provided with the information and guidance they need to support pupils with SEND, meet their needs and help them to access the curriculum.’

Mr Mackenzie said

I am honoured to lead a school that is proudly inclusive, providing a safe haven and environment in which children from all backgrounds thrive.  The school’s SEND provision is held up as a model of best practice locally with Reaching High, our SEND nurture curriculum, providing bespoke teaching and learning in core subjects as well as a Life, Living and Employability dimension which prepares young people for life beyond school and the world of work.  Elsewhere, we provide a caring and supportive environment for children in care, enabling them to succeed despite the many challenges they have faced, and celebrate diversity and inclusion through Pride Club and planned events during LGBTQ History Month. Our doors are open to refugee children and we are proud to have welcomed six Ukrainian children into the school community this year.