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

Principal Rishi Boyjoonauth
Our reception children enjoying
the enhanced EYFS outdoor area
and our wooden ship
Based in Medway, Chattenden Primary School has been
rated “good” by Ofsted since 2010 and is an academy
with a focus specialist subject teaching and a broad
curriculum. Principal, Rishi Boyjoonauth, formerly a solicitor,
believes that a school can perform best when teaching certain
subjects with specialist leaders. Since starting at the school,
he has invested in in a more rigorous journey of continuous
professional development, allowing staff to reach their full
potential. Since implementing these changes, the school has
won an increasing number of awards and boasts a more
enjoyable curriculum. Rishi tells the
The school became a standalone academy in 2012. Our intake is quite varied and a
large portion come from deprived backgrounds. Twenty-one per cent of our pupils
are in receipt of pupil premium and 16 per cent have special educational needs.
A new journey of professional development
Upon taking over the school as Principal in 2016, myself and the leadership team
began the journey of developing the quality of teaching and learning further. We felt
that in order to empower staff, their continuous professional development had to be
made a priority. As someone who has a background in teacher training, I saw that
there were some obvious deficits here. More specifically, it was important that all staff
felt engaged in the process of improvement and understood recent developments
in best practice. Accountability, too, was something that the school could improve
upon. In short, I wanted to ensure staff were meeting their fullpotential.
»Principal: Rishi Boyjoonauth
»Converted to stand-alone
academy in 2012
»Based in Medway, Kent
»Type of school: Primary school
»No. of pupils: 210
»The principal started his career
as a solicitor
Chattenden Primary
Highlighting best practice
I therefore began my journey at the
school by articulating loudly and
clearly in all corners of the school
what our core purpose was, which
is, and always will be, teaching and
learning. Our school motto is “success
no matter what” and everything that
happens in the school must have
this core objective in mind. Ensuring
our children get the most of school
in terms of teaching and learning
has to be at the forefront of all of
In view of this consideration, my
initial period saw an intensive period
of upskilling staff and imbuing the
new and bolder ethos. On the first
inset day, we had the whole school
community from the finance office to
the site manager come in to discuss
the new direction the school was to
take and focus on what teaching and
learning should look like. Only on this
shared foundation could we move
forward – everyone had to be on the
same page.
I also effected change in the domain
of assessment. At the time, too much
of the curriculum had its focus on
standardised testing, in order that
certain boxes could be ticked. I operate
on the belief that learning has to be
about more than just remembering
facts; it has to have a real and
lasting impact on the child. One of
the mantras we introduced to help
us reflect as practitioners on what
learning should be about was DR ICE:
» Deepening thinking
» Role modelling
» Impact on learning
» Challenge
» Engagement
A broader and more specialist
One of the real strengths we’ve
developed over time is our specialised
and broad curriculum. Previously, the
school was weak in terms of sports
and music, but we have now greatly
improved our provision in this area.
My background in music has been very
helpful in this regard. As part of this
initiative, we started a school choir
which performs at local and national
events and increased and improved
the quality of peripatetic tuition for
pupils, so that the year culminates in a
fantastic musical extravaganza called
The dance curriculum has been an
outstanding success. One of our brilliant
teaching assistants is also a dance
teacher. The curriculum provision was
enhanced and as a result we won the
Royal Opera House National Nutcracker
ballet competition in 2017 out of 100
schools nationally. During this the
children – under appropriate guidance
and supervision – had to compose their
own dance based on
The Nutcracker
Efforts like this show the success
of engaging in specialisms and
getting buy-in from the children.
Children at the school
develop a real passion
for reading and love
using the newly
refurbished library
Only on this
could we move
forward –
everyone had
to be on the
same page
Updated school
displays demonstrating
commitment to sport
and the performing arts
Weencouraged the children’s interest
in gardening, led by another brilliant
member of staff, and we came second
in Kent Life magazine’s School Garden
of the Year competition. In my opinion,
too much emphasis is placed on the
need for staff to know and teach
everything. By bringing in specialist
provision and teachers, however, we
have allowed children to excel to a
much greater degree. Previously in
sporting competitions, we were always
the school who “tried the best”; we can
now boast having won in multiple areas
of the Medway Mini Youth Games,
including tag rugby andbasketball.
Covid-19 has had a detrimental effect
on our children’s education across the
land. Despite the challenges we were
able to deliver a fantastic curriculum
online, through the innovative use of
technology. Pupils really flourished
with the project-based curriculum and
regular daily feedback from teachers
enabled pupils to be fully engaged with
their learning. Catching up is a priority
for the school now, but that is not at the
expense of losing the broad curriculum.
If anything, it has strengthened our
determination to provide a rich set of
experiences for our pupils.
Greater collaboration for
greater results
Moving forward, I believe it would be
fruitful for greater collaboration to occur
between schools. At present, academies
and schools run by local authorities can
be too distant from one another. Given
that Medway is a relatively small unitary
authority, this makes little sense. It was
particularly surprising for me to discover
that there had been no interaction
between us and the excellent school
just down the road. Our school plays an
active role within the local consortium
of schools, and many schools have
come to look at our excellent examples
of writing and handwriting which
were described as “impeccable” by
Ofsted. We also recently led training
for one of the local grammar schools
on the raised expectations of the new
Ultimately, we’re all in this together,
bringing up the next generation
of citizens. One example of where
collaboration could be particularly
fruitful is in paediatric services, and I am
in the process of working with others in
the community to see that services like
these become a sharedresponsibility.
Last year, I was fortunate enough
to chair the Primary Headteacher
Association in Medway, and this was
particularly critical during the Covid-19
outbreak. Schools and headteachers
were able to share resources and
expertise in order to benefit the
In any case, I’m excited about where
things are heading, even if there are
challenges along the way. Ofsted’s new
direction with respect to a renewed
focus on curriculum is something we
welcome, although this still stands as
an awkward contrast against the DfE
core subject results that schools must
publish. Education, after all, has to go
beyond mere numbers and tables; it has
to take into account the whole child.
It’s with this in mind that we move
forward, confident in our mission.
The curriculum
provision was
enhanced and as
a result we won
the Royal Opera
House National
Nutcracker ballet
competition in
Dance and the
performing arts are now
at the heart of the school

This article was sponsored by Chattenden 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 Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy