'Truly exemplary' Harrogate school wins top national award for inclusivity

A Harrogate primary school has won a national award for inclusivity for promoting mutual understanding and combating prejudice between those of different religions and ethnicities..

Monday, 6th December 2021, 12:49 pm
Harrogate's Coppice Valley Primary School headteacher, Emma Meadus.

Coppice Valley Primary School has been placed second in the annual Accord Inclusivity Award, and is one of only four schools nationwide to win an award this year.

Recognised by Ofsted as a project for schools to support their work in advancing their legal equality and cohesion duties, the Accord Inclusivity Award rewards those schools that make special effort to promote inclusion of and mutual understanding between people of different religions and ethnicities.

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Now in its 12th year, the annual awards scheme has operated since 2009/10.

Explaining the school’s approach, Coppice Valley Primary School headteacher, Emma Meadus, said: "We’re delighted to have been recognised for our work in school to promote mutual understanding and respect. It’s a wonderful achievement for the whole school community."

The distinguished judging panel decided to recognise the school for its multifaceted efforts towards boosting equality of opportunity, tackling discrimination, and fostering good relations between those from different backgrounds.

Aspects of the school’s work that stood out included:

Providing assemblies that avoid proselytization and involve speakers from a wide range of religious and non-religious groups.

Maintaining support for the school’s broad and balanced Religious Education curriculum.

Having been made a LGBTQ Beacon School by Barnardo’s Positive Identities service, meaning its staff have received gender and sexual identities training from Barnardos and its pupils have participated in workshops about equality and diversity.

The school’s overall contribution towards Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development, culminating in it being made a recipient of The Citizenship Foundation National SMSC Quality Mark.

In 2020 ‘decolonising’ its curriculum to address White and Western bias and better reflect the World’s racial and cultural diversity.

Anonymising job applications to avoid unconscious bias being a factor in shortlisting.

During a presentation assembly this morning, Coppice Valley Primary School was given its trophy by the Chair of both the Accord Coalition and 2021 Inclusivity Award judging panel, the Revd Stephen Terry.

Speaking afterwards Fr Terry said: "Coppice Valley Primary School’s effort and commitment in creating and maintaining an inclusive environment would be highly impressive were it a large secondary school.

"For instead a primary school to be embedding inclusivity into its ethos and ways of working to the extent that it is, is truly exemplary.

"The judging panel is delighted to celebrate it as an inspiration for others across the country."