North West London

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Highlighting best practice

But it is also really important for us to provide parents and people from the local community with opportunities to express themselves artistically and to achieve success academically. Within the school, there are numerous opportunities to engage in fulfilling activities, many of which are parent initiated and run, such as volunteering, learning languages, ceramics, fine art, textiles, yoga, Pilates, dance and “keep-fit” sessions. Off-site visits are organised for parents to enhance their enjoyment of our classes. Our ethos is very much based around praise rather than punishment. We are a “positive behaviour school” and we use praise alongside our cooperative learning strategies to reward those who are putting in that extra effort regardless of the area. Rewards are frequent and numerous. Whether it’s the “grabber”, our inspired reward token with weekly class raffles, or the half-termly attendance parties and films. We even have an annual PlayStation raffle for children who have good attendance and punctuality rates. A strong ethos around pushing the zone of proximal development has led to our children seeking recognition by doing their best and supporting each other, a better way of gaining attention and a surefire way of receiving positive accolades, prizes and feedback. We are reputed for accepting high numbers of volunteers, many from challenged backgrounds, who are community. We have worked closely with local secondary schools, youth employment programmes, young people leaving care, the probation service, London universities and colleges, CSV and, of course, parents. Her Majesty the Queen has visited us to celebrate our work with volunteers. looking for a fresh start and an opportunity to give back to the

Singing our hearts out at our spring concert

Our diverse community of parents are involved in the everyday maintenance and the running of our school on all levels; our community promotes social cohesion, respect and care – guiding principles of Duncombe. We regard parental support as key for a school with such a high number of children coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. By supporting our parents in all areas, we seek to provide a home life where our children can be happy, prosper and achieve success at school. Our support for our own staff has to mirror that which we provide for our parents. Parents often recommend our services to other families with similar issues across London, often from boroughs beyond Islington. We have a robust induction programme for them and use key workers to ensure they settle quickly and confidently. We run ESOL classes for our parents along with parenting courses, teach supplementary GCSE modules for mature learners and have introduced a wide variety of parenting classes. Accessing fathers is one of our hardest tasks for which we are constantly seeking innovative ideas and initiatives.

Our governors both promote and actively propagate our community- based ethos


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