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Haxby Road Primary Academy – the pleasures and challenges

Haxby Road is a school with whom the Club has a supportive and still developing relationship. As a part of this year’s Education theme, Laura Robinson (Headteacher) and Caroline Wilkinson (Early Years Lead) were invited to come and talk to the Club on the 9th February about the challenges which the school faces with its Early Years Provision. They did not hold back on these challenges and by the end of their presentation, we were both in awe of their enthusiasm and despairing of what they had to cope with.


Haxby is a school with a roll of over 200 and is in the 7th most deprived ward in York. COVID and its aftermath has had a major impact upon the life and operation of the school, particularly so on the more disadvantaged children and those with SEN. Examples include: increased absences from school, delays in health checks, delays in speech and language development, problems with a child’s personal social and emotional development, missing out on hearing stories, singing and conversations, speaking in an accent gained from listening to tv a lot during lockdowns and much more.


Parents have also been affected with mothers being more likely to experience the strain of parenting and having their mental health negatively affected. This has been a particular problem with lone parents and families with children with additional needs. These challenges have also had an impact on staff recruitment and retention.


One thing which possibly neither of our speakers were aware of is that a number of us were particularly impressed with the fact that they carried a variety of “Cue Cards” on their lanyard for use with non-verbal children of whom there seemed to be a growing number.


A number of the “catch up” strategies in use at the school were explained to us and also we saw pictures of a few of the learning zones.


It seems hardly surprising that Haxby Road Primary Academy scooped the title Primary School of the Year recently.

Paul Harvey


York Rotary News

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