Staff and pupils at two Lowestoft primary schools are celebrating after gaining industry awards.

Grove Primary and Westwood Primary schools in Lowestoft have expressed pride after being awarded the 'Inclusion Quality Mark' and achieving 'Centre of Excellence' status.

Lowestoft Journal: Westwood Primary School IQM award celebration. Picture: Westwood Primary School Westwood Primary School IQM award celebration. Picture: Westwood Primary School (Image: Westwood Primary School)

The Inclusion Quality Mark (IQM) award provides schools with a nationally recognised validation of their inclusive practice and ongoing commitment to developing educational inclusion.

As well as this, only 240 schools across the whole of the UK have met the standard required to become an IQM 'Centre of Excellence' for demonstrating outstanding levels of inclusion - so this accolade is high praise.

Rae Aldous, executive headteacher of both Grove and Westwood Primary Schools - which are part of the Active Learning Trust - said: "We value every child who learns and every adult who works in our two schools, and inclusivity is at the heart of what we do.

"I’m incredibly proud that we’ve been recognised for our commitment to hearing, encouraging and valuing every voice across our two schools.

"We have worked tirelessly to embed inclusivity into our educational practices, including the incorporation of the ‘No Outsiders’ programme, which celebrates diversity and inclusion."

An IQM assessor spent a day at each of the two schools, touring both and  validating comprehensive reports after speaking with staff, parents and carers and children.

Regarding Westwood Primary, the assessor said: "Westwood Primary is an inclusive school where everyone is welcomed, whatever their ethnicity, religion, disability, behavioural needs."

The report commended Grove Primary for its calm and positive approach, adding: "There is a promotion of high self-esteem and high aspirations for every child."

Lynsey Holzer, chief executive officer for The Active Learning Trust said: "We are very proud of all the hard work and commitment shown by staff and pupils at Westwood and Grove Primary Schools, where they celebrate inclusion and diversity in all they do.

"The ‘No Outsiders’ programme is a fantastic example of how a school can come together as one community where everyone is included."