Highlands Primary School - case study

A multicultural school closes the gap for looked-after children.

The Context

Highlands Primary School is a multicultural three form entry primary school in the London Borough of Redbridge, with over 700 children enrolled. Highlands families are diverse, consisting of settled, aspirational families, families in short term rental accommodation, professional families in Britain on one-year visas, and poorer families placed by local authorities outside their home borough. Its intake is complex – socially, educationally and ethnically – and its needs are continually changing.

The Impact of LiFT

Highlands worked with Achievement for All to ensure they “close the gap between fostered children and their peers, improve behaviour [and] attendance, and strengthen the school relationship with foster carers." In conjunction with the charity, and as part of the London Fostering Achievement initiative, Highlands set twelve key goals:

  1. Ensure that their CLA (Children Looked After) have every possible opportunity to excel and achieve
  2. Develop the social and emotional aspects of learning (becoming a Nurturing School)
  3. Create a PEP (Personal Education Plan) that pinpoints barriers to learning and strategies for overcoming these
  4. Form an individual STEEP (Social, Technical, Educational, Environmental and Psychological) analysis and action plan
  5. Meet the highest of expectations
  6. Bring staff and carers together to deal with inappropriate behaviours, with reference to attachment, trauma and loss
  7. Improve communication levels between the school, carers and outside agencies
  8. Collaborate closely with colleagues so that all those involved have ownership of targets and goals
  9. Use coaching and mentoring to develop staff capacity to address the needs of CLA
  10. Focus on enrichment and wider opportunities
  11. Develop effective handover and transition strategies
  12. Improve the focus on role models.

By working on these areas they were able to raise the educational achievement and aspirations of children that are looked after.