Beddington Park Primary School

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

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 Beddington Park Primary School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Highlighting best practice
The school environment reflects
the focus on exceptionality
which permeates throughout all
aspects of practice
The school library: A hub for reading, newspaper
journalism and an array of clubs and activities
In 2016, Beddington Park Primary School, located in
Beddington, Croydon, was ranked by the
Evening Standard
as one of the top ten schools in London. The
Daily Telegraph
placed them in the best 1,000 schools in the country as of the
2016-17 academic year. This success is, for them, thanks to
the implementation of genuinely individual and personalised
provision for their children. With 411 pupils on the roll,
14teachers, and a TLA in every classroom, they are well
equipped to do so; they have specific staff for one-to-ones who
concentrate on the pupil in question’s individual educational
needs, whether they be overt or subtle. They focus on every
child, and operate on a methodology of learning for purpose
underpinned by the desire to stimulate genuine interest in
education for every single pupil. Toby Cooke, their executive
head teacher, joined the school in2007.
Our success is about, more than anything else, ensuring as personalised a learning
experience as possible for every single child at the school. For example, where
certain pupils have been placed on the SEN register, often schools just intervene
to return them to the standard curriculum. Sometimes, however, this is not a
sufficient solution; these children require an Education Health and Care Plan
(EHCP). In our case, the school establishes an actionable response to this EHCP
through our standard one-to-one support, whether the child requires only a
minimal amount of support or full-time assistance. The presence of a TLA in every
classroom is of massive benefit in this regard.
»Head teacher: Toby Cooke
»Based in Beddington, Croydon
»Type of school: Non-selective
4-11 converter academy
»No. of pupils: 411
»Daily Telegraph ranked as
one of the best 1,000 schools
in the country in 2016-17
academic year
»Ranked by the Evening
Standard as one of the top ten
schools in London
Beddington Park
Primary School
We try to discover the interests of any
particular child within the class, and
generally find these are also interesting
to other pupils. For instance, we may
build a model rocket and discuss its
colour, feel and shape to focus on
adjectives, or set up shops based
on children’s individual interests to
teach basic mathematics through
giving change. This allows us to
target individual children through
specific interests while also providing
a generally more appealing lesson. We
have achieved a curriculum that looks
like this across the entire school, and
that, simply, is why we are successful.
Learning, sharing and
growing together as friends
A fundamental school-wide value is
the celebration of difference of every
kind. Where difference can cause
misunderstanding, that presents
the potential for unfounded fear,
often from not knowing how to
approach or discuss this difference.
We try to create an open, positive
dialogue about, for instance, different
cultures, ethnicities, SEN conditions
and socioeconomic backgrounds
– it goes beyond tolerance, and is
grounded in respectful learning and
discussion to break down barriers of
As a result of this and our personalised
provision, we have seen greater
demand and have adapted our school
from one-form-entry to two-form. This
has been gradually phased in since
2011, with our first two-form-entry
cohort, and as of this year, this change
has come full circle. This has involved
structural expansion within the school
in the form of building additional
classrooms. We now maintain,
understand and own our unique school
values across a considerably broader
community – our number of pupils has
doubled over the past sixyears.
Maintaining our high
The national teacher shortage has had
a considerable impact on most schools
across the country, but we feel that
Beddington Park Primary is affected
to a greater degree. Our school is in a
location that does not perhaps have
the best transport links, and though
we have had to draw on local teachers,
some schools nearby are better served
by public transport. Our standards
and expectations are high – we want
excellence in areas such as marking and
lesson planning, and because our entire
process is personalised to individual
pupils, this process is naturally more
difficult than a more generic approach.
Our teachers need to be dedicated and
focused, and have to want to perform
to these standards; otherwise, they
are simply not the kind of staff we
look for. It is a demanding role, and
our high expectations are exemplified
in our curriculum – it requires a lot
of teamwork to do what we do, but,
it pays dividends: the dynamic of the
school is one underpinned in shared
purpose and ownership of the school.
We recognise that our teachers
are a fundamental resource, and
individualise their development, just as
we do with pupils. Displays are works of art
which truly celebrate the
children’s learning
Our standards
are high – we
Highlighting best practice
The financial situation is difficult for
all schools, and our commitment to
maintaining a TLA in every classroom
is expensive. We have to ensure this
also provides the best value for money
for our children. In this case, necessary
financial compromises sometimes
need to be found elsewhere. While
this can be challenging, to date it has
been the case that focusing budgets
on increasing the ratio of adults to
children has helped those children to
reap significant rewards.
Inspired, unique principles
We were keen to convert to an
academy during a time when there
was a strong impetus towards doing
so across the country. This change
occurred in 2014, and was driven by
our success; we were given validation
to become a sole converter at that
time. To date, we have taken the
strategic decision to remain a single
school, but our MAT status allows
us to expand our principles and
philosophy more widely if the right
circumstances present themselves in
the future. Thanks to our success and
desire to do things differently, we
wanted to maintain independence
while not detracting from the practice
of any other school.
We have no desire to start
amalgamating every school we can
into our MAT. If we did find one, by
chance, that wanted to work with
us according to our principles, with
personalised curricula, that celebrated
difference and wanted to learn, share
and grow together as friends, that
would work, but it is not presently
something we are focusing on.
For now, our priority is continuing
to reach and further improve the
standards and expectations we
embody. As we move forwards, we
will keep our methodologies and ideas
of best practice at the centre of all
we do, ensuring that we provide the
best and most unique personalised
opportunities for all pupils at
Beddington Park Primary School.
As we move
forwards, we
will keep our
and ideas of
best practice at
the centre of
all we do
Learning rooms are
immersive, celebratory
and inviting

This article was sponsored by Beddington Park Primary School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.