Focus on Dimension 8 – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Hazelwood Academy, Swindon

Hazelwood Academy is a one form entry primary school based in West Swindon, North Wiltshire.  Hazelwood Academy (previously Toothill Primary School) converted to an academy in June 2013 and is part of Academies Enterprise Trust. The Early Years provision at Hazelwood Academy consists of a 30 place Reception class, a Nursery class which provides both full time and part time provision, and as of January 2017 a two year-old classroom. The provision has adapted this year to offer 30 hours funding for 3 and 4 years olds. Parents are now offered the opportunity to take up to 30 hours either through their funding or paying to top up their sessions.

In January 2017 the provision was extended to two year-olds, offering nursery provision for children who are eligible for two year-old funding and parents wishing to pay. There are currently 12 spaces each afternoon for two year-olds.

Hazelwood Academy has been on the Bristol Standard journey since 2014. The framework is completed within the Early Years staff team. All practitioners and the head teacher collect evidence and contribute ideas to the submission. Lauren Belcher (Nursery and Reception Teacher) takes responsibility for the completion of this submission. The evidence collected contains the voices and opinions of practitioners, parents and children within the setting.

In their full submission the team set the following target in Dimension 8:

To celebrate the languages spoken in Early Years and incorporate these into our classroom.

Lauren Belcher, Early Years Co-ordinator explains:

“We started this year by auditing all the different languages spoken by the children within the Early Years. We gained this information from the children’s admission forms, conversations with parents and prior knowledge. We then tried to incorporate these languages on our welcome display to make parents feel incorporated and greeted as they entered the unit.

Next we discussed the many languages spoken in our unit with our Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) co-ordinator who teaches in Key Stage 2. She identified older children who spoke some of those languages in the school and created a bank of video clips of those children speaking their home language.  We used these clips to upskill ourselves as a staff team so we could communicate with the child in their home language. We also used these clips as a teaching tool so as a whole class we could speak some simple words, such as greetings, from a different language.

In Reception, we took this even further and invited the MFL coordinator down to read some of the children’s stories in her home language of French. The children learnt key words from these stories such as caterpillar and butterfly in French. The children were also challenged to use French greetings at register time.

As part of our induction process we have started using translation apps to help parents communicate about their child to us, and in return help them understand how our setting operates.

Finally this year we teamed up the charity Peeple and Belfast University to complete a piece of research on how parents can influence their children’s learning through attending a weekly group with their child (Peep Learning Together Programme) 40% of the parents attending this group speak English as additional language. In a number of these sessions we focussed on names and the languages spoken in the home. This was an enlightening opportunity for the practitioners to understand why parents had picked the name they had for their child. We also discovered meanings behind the child’s names in the parents’ home language. Across the weeks and regular conversations we have learnt key words and phrases in the different languages, parents have shared cultural traditions and discussed their families. We hope to continue building on this work inviting parents into share their languages and cultural traditions with a larger group and maybe whole classes.

The benefits to the children from this target are:

  • Children join the setting with practitioners understanding the languages they are speaking.
  • Children feel reassured and have their understanding aided by practitioners speaking some key words in their home language.
  • Children see and meet older peers who too speak more than one language. This encourages them to speak multiple languages in the setting too.
  • Children benefit from learning new words in multiple languages and learning where those languages originate from and develop their understanding of the wider world.

When reflecting on the process Lauren says:

“Engaging in the Bristol Standard process has allowed us time to reflect on the needs of our children and families. It has become a reflective framework which has had visible impact in our setting. It has provided staff with a tool to audit their practice alongside the experiences we are offering children and families. Completing the Bristol Standard has been a positive experience for Hazelwood Academy.”