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 Anns Grove Primary School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Anns Grove Primary School
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
1ANNS GROVE PRIMARY SCHOOL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
Fun on the climbing wall
Based in Sheffield, Anns Grove is a larger than average
primary school that serves a diverse community. The
number of students with SEND, English as a second
language and eligibility for free school meals is well above
average. A high proportion of children enter the foundation
stage below expected levels of development in all curriculum
areas. Despite these perceived disadvantages, Anns Grove
consistently achieves outcomes at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage
2 that are well above national standards. Last year Anns Grove
was third in the city for outcomes in the combined score of
reading, writing and maths at the end of Key Stage 2. It was
rated “good” by Ofsted in 2016 and has an “outstanding” SEF
judgment. Headteacher Sam Fearnehough explains how the
school continues to exceed expectations.
Anns Grove is a high-attaining school and we are proud of our pupils’ achievement.
Our children are confident and enthusiastic learners who enjoy a varied and rich
curriculum. We have had a specialist sports teacher at the school for many years
covering PPA, who ensures that our children all participate in a wide range of sports
and after-school clubs. Sport and physical activity is very important to us and all year
groups take part in many competitions and events throughout the year. At Anns
Grove we understand that sport can improve academic outcomes and teach vital skills
such as teamwork and problem solving as well as a variety of social skills. We teach
children about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise,
and we actively aim to get children moving and to reduce sedentary lifestyles.
ANNS GROVE PRIMARY SCHOOL
»Founded in 1892
»Based in Sheffield
»Type of school: Community
»No. of students: 345
»No. of staff: 52
»Ofsted: “Good”, 2016
»SEF judgment: Outstanding
Anns Grove Primary
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
2| ANNS GROVE PRIMARY SCHOOL
We are also very proud of our
strong reputation within our local
community and beyond. Our school
vision statement was developed by
children, staff and parents and it truly
encapsulates our ethos here at Anns
At Anns Grove, we will:
»Aim high, dream big and do
everything to the best of our ability
»Promote sportsmanship, school spirit
and pride in our school
»Develop a strong sense of identity,
value our community and contribute
»Share our cultural backgrounds
and learn how to live harmoniously
and prosper in our multicultural
Addressing attainment and
The school has a 26-place nursery
and accepts pupils from the age of
three. The majority of nursery children
transfer to our foundation stage in
September and almost all reception
pupils enter full time in September.
Children enter the school at levels
of attainment below those typical of
development in most areas of the
country. We address low levels of
development on entry with a strong
focus on early literacy and social skills.
By the time children leave foundation
stage, the majority, 77 per cent in
2018, have achieved a good level of
In year 1, 84 per cent achieved the
required standard in phonics, and
outcomes in all subjects at Key Stage
1 and Key Stage 2 were well above
national standards. Anns Grove also
has high progress scores of above and
well above average.
The school has been through a
journey of improvement since
2014 and leadership has a track
record of securing and maintaining
high standards of attainment and
progress over time. This has led to
the headteacher working with other
primary schools in Sheffield as an
Executive Leader, turning around the
quality of teaching and learning and
outcomes for pupils in schools judged
by Ofsted to “require improvement”.
linked to the
17 goals for
3ANNS GROVE PRIMARY SCHOOL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
Our governing body is made up of
both experienced and new members
who bring a variety of strengths.
Together they have an accurate view of
the school’s performance. In our 2016
inspection, Ofsted noted: “Governors
have an outstanding overview of pupil
progress and the school’s performance.
They are highly effective in providing
challenge and support to leaders.”
Our curriculum is designed and
intended to promote the development
of the whole child and equip children
with core skills so that they become
fluent and enthusiastic readers and
mathematicians from an early age. We
want our children to appreciate and
understand cultural diversity in their
own community and beyond so that
they can learn to live harmoniously
in our diverse world. Our curriculum
enables children to make healthy
choices about their lifestyle, enjoy
learning and contribute to their
community. Our children are taught
how to be good learners with a focus
on “learning powers” and with an
expectation that they will use their
powers to improve their learning.
In EYFS and Key Stage 1 we have
fidelity to one phonics programme,
Read Write Inc., to develop reading
fluency and comprehension skills. In
Key Stage 2 this is deepened in daily
reciprocal reading sessions. Maths is
taught through a three-part teaching
sequence of skill, application and
challenge. This ensures children learn a
skill and apply it in a range of contexts.
In Key Stage 2, core skills in maths and
grammar are revisited daily in short,
quick-fire sessions to keep skills sharp.
Project and topic work are taught
across the school with an emphasis on
using core skills in reading, maths and
particularly writing in all subject areas.
Our curriculum has a strong global
dimension and we embed global
learning to develop values for living
together in Britain and the wider
world. Our children learn about
international development by
connecting people’s lives throughout
the world. Our curriculum is linked
to the 17 goals for global sustainable
development agreed by 193 United
Nations members and world leaders
in 2015. This makes our curriculum
relevant for today’s learners. In this
academic year, knowledge organisers
are being developed to further embed
the key knowledge that children need
for each area of the curriculum.
Our strong track record of excellent
outcomes for all groups of pupils
across the school demonstrates that
Anns Grove is improving the life
chances of all groups and in particular
disadvantaged pupils. Children tell
us they enjoy lessons and learning at
Anns Grove, and we have a happy
and successful school at the heart of
the vibrant and diverse community
Grove, we will
and learn to
and prosper in
Maths in early years
The Rt Hon Professor The Lord Blunkett's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
A new Prime Minister, a new Education Secretary and, as we're all painfully aware, a deeply uncertain future. It is in this context that the education service continues to deliver for individuals, communities and of course for our nation.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the education service as a whole, schools, post 16/Further Education, and yes, lifelong learning, needs the most enormous injection of cash. Independent analysis shows that there has been at least an 8% average reduction in the amount of spend per pupil in our schools. Those damaged most by this have been pupils with special educational needs, whose voices are sadly rarely heard. The necessity of urgent action was underlined in July by the report of the all-party House of Commons Select Committee on Education. They could not have been clearer about the need for substantial funding and a long-term 10-year commitment.
At the same time, there are a number of reviews taking place. One of them, in relation to post-16 qualifications, is in danger of a classic mistake by politicians and officials who have little or no understanding of the complex territory they're dealing with. Namely, the ridiculous proposition that BTEC National Diplomas might be set aside because 'T Levels are the gold standard'!
I'm in favour of T Levels, but in the right context and for the right outcome. They are intended to be extremely focused specialist qualifications in defined areas of employment. When and if they eventually take off – there is predicted to be just a thousand students in 2021-22 taking up the qualification – they will not replace the BTEC, which has been the workhorse providing a general and high-quality education for decades. The BTEC has equipped young people for a variety of opportunities in a very changing employment market where the development of artificial intelligence, robotics, and changed working practices makes confining the choice of vocational pathways to one narrow focus, frankly ridiculous.
Meanwhile, her Majesty's Opposition continue to throw out titbits which do not give, as yet, a very clear idea of what, if elected, Labour would do in office. What is needed is positive proposals. Abolishing this, that or the other – assessments/tests for those leaving primary school, for instance – is not the same thing as a very forward-looking agenda for radical improvement in standards and equity between those who can and cannot afford additional help for their children.
There are a handful of Labour Party members, supported by some people who ought to know better, who have decided that a full-frontal assault on private education would be a good idea. For those worried about this, stop worrying. A party that put this in its manifesto wouldn't get elected, and if by some fluke it did, it would be challenged in the courts to the point where all the contradictions would be exposed for everyone to see.
Just contemplate one simple fact. 20% of secondary schoolchildren in the borough of Hackney attend private schools! Yes, Hackney. This is because a large number of parents, some of whom scrape the money together, are sending their children to private education in London which happens to be the area of England with the best academic outcomes from state education. What's more, very large numbers (again, particularly in London) pay for private tutors. At the last estimate 40% of parents in London had at some point over the last year paid for a tutor for their child!
Perhaps therefore an opposition party, hoping to provide unity rather than division, opportunity for all rather than a futile class battle against educational privilege, would seek ways of ensuring that those who can't afford tutors have the kind of support outside school that would put them on equal terms.
One thing is very certain, no government would be able to stop parents buying additional tutoring for their children.
So, a practical agenda for equalising opportunity, for investing where it's needed most, for transforming the pipeline from school through college, apprenticeships, or university, is a goal worth fighting for. A positive way of linking business and education through political decision-making, with the delivery by excellent professionals in the education service, to the children of today and the economy of tomorrow. Surely that is a much more progressive and less negative way forward for both government and opposition.