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Beth Wyatt, Reporter
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
A school has won an award for embracing the diversity of its students and their families.
Staff and students from Valentines High School have been invited to the House of Commons today to receive the Inclusion Expert Award of Excellence for Pupil Premium.
The prize was handed out to four other schools and recognises all of their efforts in making sure the notion of social inclusion is applied to all of their pupils.
The certificates were presented by Paralympian Sophie Christiansen, who won three gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Valentines was chosen for spending its pupil premium, additional money given to all publicly-funded schools in the country, on working with disadvantaged primary and secondary school students to raise their attainment.
The school, based in Cranbrook Road, Gants Hill, was also commended for celebrating the different faiths and backgrounds of its pupils, organising coffee mornings for parents who are difficult to reach and having community mentors translate school newsletters.
Headteacher Sylvia Jones said: “The school motto is ‘In harmony achieving excellence’ and this really does reflect reality at Valentines.”
Daniel Sobel, the founder of Inclusion Expert, added: “I define a socially inclusive school or college as one where all children are cared for, taught well, enjoy success, their differences are respected and they are developing into good citizens.
“The pupil premium is there to allow gaps in performance to be reduced and even closed. The staff at Valentines are to be applauded for their commitment and dedication to making sure that every child feels valued and involved.”