Aerodrome Primary awarded Primary School of the Year

By - Wednesday 7th October, 2015

Aerodrome Primary School Croydon has been successful at the Shine A Light Awards 2015 for its commitment to developing children’s communication skills. 

Photo by Shine A Light Awards, used with permission.

Release begins: Aerodrome Primary Academy School in Croydon has been awarded the Primary School of the Year award at a glittering awards ceremony in London, hosted by comedian David Baddiel, for its dedicated approach to ensuring all pupils have the opportunity to improve their life skills through communication.

The 2015 Shine a Light Awards is a national awards scheme organised by Pearson, in partnership with The Communication Trust, to celebrate innovative work, inspirational individuals and excellent practice in supporting children and young people’s communication development.

Aerodrome Primary Academy School has introduced numerous initiatives to support their pupils from the Children’s Centre and nursery through to year six, focusing on improving the communication skills of all pupils, including those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

The Children’s Centre runs groups to encourage development through stories and songs while nursery classes have ‘Bucket Time’ groups, where toys are used to support attention building and encourage early language and communication development for children with severe SLCN.

Reception children are screened for speech and language delay in school entry with a special Just Arrived at School oral language programme for those pupils who need extra support. In year two, a Talk for Writing programme encourages expressive story telling and older pupils with SLCN across the whole school take part in Partners in Talking groups to encourage confidence for talking within groups.

Aerodrome Primary Academy is dedicated to providing a whole-school approach using visual aids in assemblies such as Communication Print, which uses imagery alongside words, and Makaton – a language programme that uses signs and symbols to help people to communicate.

Regular No Pens Day Wednesday days, when children are encouraged to talk rather than write, are held to encourage speaking and listening. Pupils with SLCN are encouraged to take part in school activities such as Aerodrome’s Got Talent and I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge.

The school has also shown commitment to working with parents, organising Communication Challenges where parents are encouraged to talk to their child about their learning.

In addition, support is given to parents of pupils who are in the school’s Enhanced Learning Provision, which provides specialist provision for pupils with significant special educational needs (SEN), where teachers hold regular parent meetings to inform parents of specific speech and language strategies that can be reinforced at home.

Aerodrome Primary Academy School’s ‘A chance for all’ approach has resulted in amazing pupil progress with significant progress being made by pupils across the school, especially for those with SLCN. Eighty-five percent of pupils in the school’s Enhanced Learning Provision showed progress with targets in line with expected levels across the school.

Maxine Whitmore, Speech and Language Therapist and Vicky Prigg, SENCO from Aerodrome Primary Academy School, said: “We are delighted to have won the Primary School of the Year Award.

“Across the whole school community, we provide a no barriers curriculum to ensure that all children, particularly those with SLCN, enjoy learning and achieve to their full potential. This award is recognition of the hard work and dedication of school staff, parents and the wider Croydon multidisciplinary services, in supporting children with speech, language and communication needs. Not only are our test results improved by this holistic approach, but also the growing confidence of the children is there for all to see. This really is a school community that provides a ‘Chance of All’”.

David Baddiel, Host of the 2015 Shine a Light Awards, said: “Because of the important work that the Shine a Light 2015 winners and highly commended finalists have achieved, children and young people’s language and communication development, especially for those with SLCN, has been supported.

“Speech and language problems too often go under the radar, so everyone should not only be congratulated for their work but for bringing this important issue to the attention of others. I would like to say well done to all those shortlisted who have shown true grit and determination to better themselves and others. They are all a true inspiration – keep up the good work.”

Chris Hall, Director of Clinical Assessment at Pearson, says: “Congratulations to Aerodrome Primary Academy School for winning Primary School of the Year award at the 2015 Shine a Light Awards. The different initiatives the school has put in place as well as its whole-school approach to developing communication has clearly had a significant impact on children’s development. Each year the applications get stronger and more inspiring. We have seen examples of children and young people with SLCN being supported by some truly inspiring individuals, groups and schools like Aerodrome Primary Academy School.

“The Shine a Light Awards, now in their fourth year, continue to grow and we have been delighted to welcome an incredible judging panel who represent the very best of the education and special educational needs (SEN) sector. To once again partner with the Communication Trust and celebrate these inspiring people and organisations is a real privilege.”

Anne Fox, Director of The Communication Trust, says: “Congratulations to the winners and highly commended finalists whose work will help inspire and motivate people right across the country. Aerodrome Primary Academy School is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when children and young people with communication difficulties are offered the support they deserve. We’re delighted to have this partnership with Pearson, which allows Shine a Light to be a true celebration of the amazing work up and down the country and for helping the Trust to reach more children and young people and the professionals who work with them.

“The Shine a Light  Awards  are  a  key  fixture  for  the  speech  and  language  sector  as  they reflect a range of best practice and innovative work taking place across the country. At a time when early years, health, education and SEN services are going through significant reforms, Shine a Light focuses attention on what can be achieved through expertise, sheer determination and never giving up on children and young people’s potential.”

Jack Williams, Project Officer at The Communication Trust and category judge, said: “Aerodrome Primary Academy School is a very worthy winner of the Primary School of the Year Award. The judging panel was really impressed by Aerodrome’s whole-school approach to supporting communication, involving not only teaching staff and the senior leadership team, but also non-educational workers such as kitchen, office and caretaking workers to ensure that students with SLCN are identified and supported.

“It was a real privilege to be a judge for the Shine a Light Awards – the level of expertise on the panel was staggering, and it was wonderful to see so many examples of the fantastic work that schools and settings across the country are doing to help those with speech, language and communication needs.”

For further information about the Shine a Light winners and highly commended finalists, visit and follow us on Twitter #SAL2015

Release ends.

Release sender: Consilium Communications. 



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