School’s inclusive approach wins praise from parents
Parents at a school where 30% of pupils are from the Travelling community have praised its inclusive approach.
Mount Church of England Primary School, on Kings Road, Newark, is a popular choice for those from Traveller backgrounds.
A film crew from BBC’s The One Show recently visited the school as part of a feature about the Travelling community and education.
Parents from the community, whose children attend the school, said its inclusive nature helped give them confidence.
“They always get you involved in things,” said Mrs Chantelle Botton, whose children, Sienna and Joseph, attend the school.
“My boy struggles with reading and writing but they have helped him a lot. Joseph has improved loads.”
Another parent, Miss Karen Harrod, said: “It is an example to other schools.
“There are so many Travellers in here because they are accepted.
“If there are a couple of Traveller kids they are picked out, but not here.”
The school received a good rating from Ofsted after a short inspection in February.
Inspector Di Mullan included in her findings that: “Pupils are respectful of those whose home life or beliefs may be different from their own.”
She also said: “You, your staff and governors are very proud to serve the diverse community from which pupils come, and go to great lengths to make everyone feel welcome.”
The head, Mrs Claire Kent, said the school’s approach had helped parents feel secure about their children attending.
“We don’t tolerate difference. We celebrate it,” she said.
“We have celebrated it for decades.
“What Travellers like about our school is that we are inclusive. We respect their culture. Everything is provided for parents.
“If Travellers have had bad experiences (themselves) school can be quite daunting.
“Parents can come into class and watch things in action. Hopefully that enables parents to support the children.
“They are more clued-up on what is happening in school.
“We see the child as a child. We still see these children as individuals.
“We have had decades of positive relationships.”
Staff from the school make frequent visits to Tolney Lane, which Mrs Kent said helped pupils gain an understanding of the Traveller life.
“In other schools, Travellers are something they learn in a text book,” she said.
“We have such a mix in school.
“When we go to Tolney Lane, parents will welcome their children and other children from the class.
“A lot of it is about trust because, for some of these families, they didn’t have a good time themselves but they value education.
“They are trusting us to look after their children.”
Mrs Glenda Walker, whose son, Ryan, attends Mount School, is not from the Travelling community but said she had noticed differences since she was a pupil herself.
“Ryan’s best friend is from the Travelling community and all the pupils are treated the same,” she said.
“When I was at school there were little groups, but it is really not like that now.
“There is a lot of explanation about different backgrounds, from an early age.
“They are from different communities but their values are the same.
“Ryan doesn’t see any difference in it because it is normal to him.”