Ainslie Wood Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Ainslie Wood Primary School's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Ainslie Wood Primary School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Headteacher Kerry Scott
Exploring the world outside
of school is a key factor in
the children’s development
Ainslie Wood Primary is a larger than the national average
school with an average free school meal profile – but
this wouldn’t help to explain the turbulent history that
it has experienced in the 22 years since it was first opened. The
historic results show that it was never able to achieve better
than middling outcomes for its pupils, but this changed in 2013
when Kerry Scott became the headteacher. She explains how
she managed to achieve such dramatic improvement.
When I arrived as headteacher in September 2013, the results were so low that the
school was nationally ranked in the bottom one per cent for both attainment and
for progress – despite being graded “good” by Ofsted. Within a few months of
my arrival the necessary steps to academise the school were being taken, without
my prior consultation. Luckily however, we were given a year to meet the floor
attainment standard, which dictated that 65 per cent of students needed to meet
the old Level 4 standard by the end of year 6.
In order to make a big impact, we needed to take a different approach. The main
drivers for change were the creation of a clear vision which we then worked
tirelessly towards, and the potentially controversial decision to split the teaching
from thelearning.
In order to work towards a new goal, we needed a new vision: one which would
eradicate the low expectations that had previously permeated the school. Our new
»Headteacher: Kerry Scott
»Year Founded: 1996
»Location: Chingford, Waltham
»Type of school: Two form
entry primary with nursery
»Number of pupils: 480
»School motto: Inspiring Active
Learning and Exceeding
»Current goal: Inspirational
Leaders – Aspirational Learners
Ainslie Wood Primary
Highlighting best practice
vision set us on the path to becoming
a school which would “Inspire Active
Learning and Exceed Expectations”.
The vision of child-centred,
personalised learning journeys
facilitated by excellent teaching that
could create outstanding outcomes
was created by myself and the whole
staff team, and everything we did
thereafter was directly related to it.
As research clearly states that the
biggest impact on pupil progress
is the quality of the teaching, we
needed to ensure our teaching profile
was excellent and always developing
and improving. In order to do this,
I appointed a senior leader into the
newly created position of leader of
teaching. This role is completely adult
focused and affords the LoT the
opportunity to create personalised
plans with every member of staff
in order to establish a supportive
relationship where consistent marginal
gains are recognised and celebrated.
All of our staff now have a personal
development plan and the type and
level of support we provide for them
varies from person to person based on
their requirements. Staff working with
the teaching team can be supported
through a variety of team teaching
methods, the use of our filming
system IRIS, film club, personal or
group research, visits to other classes
or settings and coaching. The only
thing that restricts our method is
The original LoT role has now
developed into our collaborative team
teach model. This model allows all the
members of staff who show excellence
in one or more areas of teaching
to work with others and help them
develop their skills. This supportive
system enabled us to improve swiftly
and to maintain a consistently
exceptional teaching profile ever since.
Our approach to learning has
developed since 2013 but has always
been child-centred and based on
constructivist principles. Our learning
team, led by the leader of learning,
focus on everything child related.
They have developed our “WE ARE”
curriculum – Whole, Engaging, Active,
Through choice and
independence, the
children develop a
genuine love of learning
The main
drivers for
change were
the creation of
a clear vision
which we
then worked
towards, and
the potentially
decision to
split the
teaching from
Real and Exceeding expectations –
which is project based and aims to
ignite passions and create experts in a
whole range of areas.
By developing a curriculum which
involves the children in all stages,
personalises content and methods
and maintains high expectations for
outcomes, we have been able to help
our children to develop a true love
of learning. This change in approach
to learning was instrumental to the
improvement in behaviour that was
essential, and despite the fact that we
are a non-testing school, except for the
statutory end of key stage assessments,
our results shot up.
The school year 2013-14 was a
tough period that came with a lot of
challenges, but we smashed through
the target of 65 per cent with 78 per
cent of our children achieving at or
above the required measure in reading,
writing and maths. This dramatic
improvement meant that we were
the third most improved school in the
entire country.
Since then, our results have continued
to rise year on year across the whole
school, and within three years, we
had moved from the bottom one per
cent to the top one per cent for the
progress our children are making.
These incredible outcomes have been
maintained and we are now confident
in the fact that our children are getting
the best start possible and are in the
strongest possible position as they start
secondary school.
The journey that everyone at Ainslie
Wood has been through over the
past few years has really helped our
community to come together in a way
that, as a head, makes me incredibly
proud. Our children have become
happy, focused learners, our parents
are engaged and helpful and our staff
team is incredible. Our community
work is now targeted at local, national
and international levels and our
path to meeting our next vision is
By 2017, we were able to tick off
almost everything on the vision that
we had set out and we started to work
on our next one. Our current vision for
2022 is focused on setting our children
up with genuinely high aspirations and
“real life skills in real life contexts”. This
includes us becoming an international
hub of excellence that learns from and
shares with the best in the world in
order to nurture inspirational leaders
who create aspirational learners. I
have no doubt that with this team
and this community, these goals are
A curriculum
which involves
the children in
all stages,
content and
methods and
maintains high
for outcomes
Students develop their
independence and social
skills as part of our “WE
ARE” curriculum

This article was sponsored by Ainslie Wood Primary School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development