Crab Lane Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Crab Lane 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 Crab Lane 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
Circus skills behaviour and
attendance reward
Our annual whole school
trip to St Anne’s-on-Sea
When Crab Lane Primary School in Higher Blackley,
Manchester, had been in special measures for a year
and was showing no signs of progress I was asked
to help. I was a local leader of education and head teacher
of a school in Moss Side. When I took over as head at Crab
Lane in 2009 the school had fewer than 220 pupils. They were
being failed in every way and the staff were neither supported
Our most recent Ofsted report was in 2015. The school was graded “good” with
“outstanding” leadership and management, and behaviour and safety. I am very
proud of our achievements and the journey we have been on to get to this point.
The first thing that I said when I met all the staff was, “Where is the dishwasher?”
There wasn’t one. An immediate change I made was refurbishing the staffroom:
it was painted, comfortable seating was provided, a new kitchen was installed,
including a dishwasher. This attention to detail was critical in order to show
the value we placed on each other and on the school environment. Very
quickly, the environment began to reflect the school’s drive towards better and
Running alongside the physical improvements I knew that the curriculum also
needed to be overhauled and to do this, it was important that the leadership team
was developed and expanded. The literacy and maths co-ordinators were invited
to be part of the leadership team and their impact was immediate and significant.
»Head teacher: Ms Pat Adams
BEd (Hons), MA in teaching,
»Founded in 1955
»Based in Higher Blackley,
»Type of school: Primary school
»No. of pupils: 435 with 23
languages spoken in the
»Pupil premium: 38 per cent
»SEND: 12 per cent
»Rated “good” with
“outstanding” leadership and
management, and behaviour
and safety in last Ofsted
Crab Lane Primary
They brought fresh eyes and strategic
thinking to school improvement,
along with systematic approaches to
curriculum development.
Together, we developed whole-
school systems and structures and
supported whole-school improvements
in teaching, learning and behaviour.
When I arrived, pupils’ behaviour and
their attitude to learning were not
good enough. I quickly discovered
that the behaviour policy was
ineffective, rewards were sporadic
and the curriculum was uninspiring.
Thetransformation from “inadequate”
behaviour to the “outstanding”
behaviour and safety demonstrated
by the pupils now was due to all staff
following the behaviour policies, all
staff developing positive relationships
and the significant improvements
in the quality and content of our
curriculum. All of these improvements
have happened because policies,
procedures, systems and structures
are followed consistently. Consistency
was – and still is – our buzz word
and we insist on it in all areas of
A curriculum beyond English
and maths
I believe very firmly that the arts have
a central role to play in developing
the whole child. I have found during
the course of my career that drama
has a way of motivating and inspiring
children, particularly those who
may have difficulty accessing the
academic challenges of the curriculum.
Consequently, I invest heavily in the
Manchester Arts Education Initiative
(MAEI) every year, resulting in an
extended performance at a prestigious
venue, in order to showcase the
incredible art, drama, dance and
singing that have been learnt.
Alongside this we collaborate with
several schools and perform at a range
of venues through our involvement
in network choir productions and
Manchester Museum and Galleries
events, all of which broaden and
deepen the content of our curriculum
and the experiences we are able to
offer our children. Ofsted may well
have decided recently to review the
wider curriculum and to pay more
attention to it in future inspections.
For us, it has been a key driver in
our journey from special measures
and is something we are particularly
Science Day investigation
Year 5 and year
6 performance of
Macbeth at Victoria
Baths, Manchester
Our Crab Lane
motto is ‘be
the best
person that
you can be’
Highlighting best practice
Our Crab Lane motto is ‘be the best
person that you can be’ and this
is lived and breathed through the
expectations staff and children have
of themselves, each other and of the
educational experiences on offer.
It has been an incredible journey
transforming the education offered
to our pupils and, along with it, the
skills and attributes of the staff. An
important aspect of the role of the
head teacher is developing others as
leaders. Talent spotting is critical to the
future leadership of education and by
providing the necessary opportunities,
support and challenge, I have been
able to build a successful team of
leaders around me, many of whom
have already become or will become
future leaders of schools in their
own right. It is because of the quality
of leaders around me that I have
been able to offer support to other
local schools, knowing that the high
standards and consistent approaches
embedded at Crab Lane will not suffer.
System leadership
Indeed, one such element of cross-
school temporary support in the
autumn term of 2015 turned into a
permanent federation when I became
executive head teacher of Crab Lane
and Crumpsall Lane Primary School.
There has been much debate about
system leadership and the fundamental
role it will play in school leadership of
the future. In my experience, system
leadership has allowed several leaders
to be supportive across more than
one school and provides significant
opportunities for development
that would not be available in a
The systems and structures at Crab
Lane were effective enough to be
transferable to another school. Both
schools maintain their separate
identities, while policies and practices
are shared. Equally, a school in need
of support is not the same as a school
that has no support to offer: Crab
Lane has also gained from a federated
approach, by tapping into excellent
practice in specific areas at Crumpsall
Lane. As a result, pupils in both schools
benefit from a shared approach to
school leadership.
For me, being a head teacher is the
best job in the world. Being the head
teacher of two schools is evenbetter.
A school in
need of
support is not
the same as a
school that
has no
support to
Investigating light and
shadow Class visit to Jodrell Bank


This article was sponsored by Crab Lane 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