Colegate Community Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Colegate Community 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 Colegate Community 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

Highlighting best practice
Year 2 pupils building bridges
with bamboo sticks and elastic
Matt Younger and year 6 pupils with
their Easter bonnets, made with help
from parents
The Colegate Community Primary School, based in
Gateshead, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary
and proudly reports that to this day it has always been
perceived by Ofsted as “good”, with significant areas of
strength and “outstanding” judgments for safeguarding and
behaviour. Head teacher Matt Younger discusses the extensive
developmental work he has undertaken to keep the school
as one of the best in the local community and an ideational
beacon for the wider authority.
The school has had up to 46 per cent free school meals in recent years and is in an
area of significant deprivation on the east side of Gateshead. We therefore do not
have extra resources to draw upon from parents, though we have used our pupil
premium funding to provide pupils with high-quality experiences that they might
not otherwise enjoy. We spend a considerable amount of funds and effort on the
pastoral side of the education we provide.
Visitors to our school always remark upon the politeness and caring behaviour of
our pupils and staff. This is a significant achievement for a school in our area and
requires a consistent system of reward and positive reinforcement backed up by
consequences for negative behaviour that efficiently involve parents in the school’s
efforts for their child. For example, our end-of-week “privilege time” rewards
many pupils on a weekly basis with access to tabletop football games, pool tables,
Wii and Nintendo DS consoles, and many other favourite toys and games. We
are proud to say that over two terms last year there was not one behaviour case
outstanding in any week!
»Head teacher: Matt Younger
»Founded in 1964
»Based in Gateshead
»Type of school: Maintained
primary school, for ages 3–11
»No. of pupils: 170
»No. of staff: 9 teachers and 5
teaching assistants
»Our “family homework”
project has been extremely
successful in engaging
parents with their children to
produce pieces of work that
are stunning in their creativity
and expression of skills. A
recent example has been year
5’s Second World War event
with model dioramas made by
parents and pupils
Colegate Community
Primary School
We maintain incredibly positive
relationships with parents and the
community at large. The local library
and churches are represented on
our governing body and we have
excellent links with these as well as the
local history society and community
improvement groups.
I am a member of the local authority’s
school forum, the Joint Union
Committee and other working parties
to maintain the profile of the school
in the authority. I am also a board
member of Schools North East, a
major representative organisation
for all types of schools and an
increasingly influential lobbying group
for education in the North East.
Mydeputy head teacher, Morris Fryer,
and assistant head teacher, Martine
Raczynski, represent the school on
various curriculum networks in the
area and staff are encouraged to
attend meetings of this type wherever
relevant. This type of participation
in other agencies and committees
has ensured that the school is kept
abreast of any policy changes and
Changes to structure and
A huge change to the structure
and staffing of the school and of
leadership and management systems
has been made over the past two
years to ensure the effectiveness of
leadership and management and its
focus on learning and teaching in the
future. The senior leadership team
consisted of six senior leaders, each
with separate responsibilities. We now
have a head teacher, deputy head
teacher and assistant head teacher
with one permanent teaching and
learning responsibility (TLR) for PE and
personal, health and social education
(PHSE) maintained by sport premium
funding. This has produced a smaller
team that has taken on board up-
to-date management tools to make
meetings time-aware and focused on
The school recruited new staff
during the restructuring exercise
and embarked upon the National
Association of Head Teachers
(NAHT) Aspire programme of school
improvement, presented by Edison
Learning, to ensure that the induction
of new staff was integrated into a new
push for school development with
existing staff. The result has been a
huge improvement in leadership from
teaching staff and enhancements for
the whole school community.
Through the programme there has
been much in-depth professional Sports and being active
are very important at
Our whole school
community promotes
our shared values
We maintain
with parents
and the
community at
Highlighting best practice
Lord Puttnam was impressed
with our excellent ICT skills
development for all staff on leadership,
pedagogy, parental and student
support, assessment for learning, and
the school ethos and environment.
As a by-product of this developmental
work, the school has been an exemplar
for other network schools on various
aspects of the programme, and these
developments are being felt in the SAT
results throughout the school, with Key
Stage 2 the last phase of the school
yet to better national expectations –
something we expect in the coming
year’s results.
Values and ethos
Teachers have worked upon the
values and ethos of the school with
pupils and have developed REACH,
an acronym representing respect,
enjoyment, achievement, co-operation
and honesty, for a healthy future. This
has reinforced and clarified our positive
approach to behaviour, bringing even
more improvements to pupil attitudes.
Issues and solutions
Every school has issues which they
need to address and ours is that we are
currently suffering from problems with
falling pupil numbers due to expansion
by neighbouring schools. The schools
in question have had brand-new
premises built under government
schemes and have consequently
attracted new parents from a static
number of households – this is having
a catastrophic effect on the ability of
our school to deliver quality education
for the local area, as our budget is
adversely affected.
Our reaction is once again positive,
and we have turned a potential
weakness into a strength. We have
a long-serving, committed and
extremely supportive governing
body at Colegate; together we have
resolved to market the school more
overtly in the local area and to use our
assets, such as an excellent pupil-to-
teacher ratio stemming from low class
numbers, to attract the parents and
pupils we need to continue. We are
also expanding our before- and after-
school provision to attract parents who
require “wraparound care” and who
are entitled to 30 hours of free nursery
placement. All of these developments
will, of course, be delivered to the
highest standards; that is a mark of our
work here atColegate.
We have
resolved to
market the
school more
overtly in the
local area and
to use our
assets, such as
an excellent
teacher ratio
stemming from
low class
numbers, to
attract the
parents and
pupils we need
to continue
Privilege time rewards positivity and
achievement across the school

This article was sponsored by Colegate Community 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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister