Crossley Hall Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Crossley Hall 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 Crossley Hall 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
“Growing and blossoming”
Engaging learning
Crossley Hall Primary, based in west Bradford, Yorkshire,
has weathered an arduous journey to be recognised
by local authority and Ofsted leaders for its continued
improvement across all aspects of school life. Executive head
teacher Michael Thorp discusses the development of Crossley
Hall from dilapidated and temporary settings to a newly built
campus, which not only has the infrastructure to cater for
specialist provision but has also overseen a marked increase
in the quality of results in maths and English, well above
the national standard. Moreover, the responsibility given to
junior members of staff enables them to develop quickly into
leadership positions, enhancing productivity among staff and
student populations alike.
A comment once made by an executive leadership coach while visiting Crossley
Hall examined how it had become a “growbag for leadership”. This is a view we
certainly share and one which has been fundamental to the success of the school.
Our school is a large three-form entry primary in west Bradford. The original school
was built in 1876 and principally served as a board school. It is now complemented
by a 21st-century building – dubbed the “West Wing” – housing our children aged
five and under. We serve a mixed ethnicity community with 75 per cent of our
pupils from Pakistani heritage. The remainder of our pupils are from a mixture of
British and Eastern European backgrounds.
A decade ago, Crossley Hall was a two-form entry primary in a run-down building,
with half of the children being taught in temporary classrooms. Ten years later, we
»Executive head teacher:
MrMichael Thorp
»Founded in 1876
»Based in Fairweather Green,
Bradford, West Yorkshire
»Type of school: Community
primary school
»No. of pupils: 735
»No. of staff: 125
»Pupil premium: 168 pupils
»EAL: 450 pupils
Crossley Hall Primary
have matured into a thriving three-
form entry school with a three-million-
pound new-build, over-subscribed
two-year-old and three-year-old
nurseries and a specialist provision
unit for autism. The school has been
transformed into a modern, exciting
and aesthetic environment, while still
paying homage to its Victorian roots.
The skilled teachers and support
staff help those children to “Grow
and Blossom” – our school motto
– through exciting, engaging and
highly personalised learning. The
curriculum involves activities as diverse
as curling, fishing and archery; we
even grow marrows on our 400 square
foot allotment. This, combined with
high-quality teaching, has led to our
progress in reading, writing and maths
climbing, wherein we have achieved
levels above that of the national
Quality of leadership at all levels
has been the key driver of these
When we interview staff we never
recruit with simply a teacher in
mind. We are always looking for
leadership potential. Thorough and
incisive talent spotting leads to newly
qualified teachers rapidly taking on
responsibility and leadership roles.
Thorough induction leads to fast
promotion opportunities; it is not
unusual for newly qualified teachers
to find themselves with a leadership
responsibility by the end of their first
year and potentially to have reached
the level of assistant head by their
Our leaders understand the moral
imperative of what they do. They are
relentless in their high expectation
and are driven by inclusion and
making sure that pupils progress. In
a 2016 Ofsted report, it was noted
that “senior leaders are zealous about
checking whether what they expect
teachers to do is helping pupils make
Before becoming an assistant head, we
nurture our future leaders by offering
fixed-term “leaders in waiting” posts
for those wishing to gain leadership
experience. The posts are supported
by Ambition School Leadership, an
external partner, to focus their school
improvement work. This involves them
engaging in regular taught leadership
development modules and an annual
residential during the summer holidays.
The development of high-quality
leadership and a distributed leadership
model meant that in January 2018,
when asked to provide interim
Concrete, pictorial, abstract
(CPA) maths learning
Trained snake charmers
at work
Crossley Hall
Primary School
is like a
growbag for
Highlighting best practice
leadership to another local school,
we were quickly able to restructure.
We moved to an “executive head
model” with heads of school. During
this transition, capacity gaps were
swiftly filled by “leaders in waiting”.
The school currently has three
specialist leaders in education and
one local leader in education. We
also contribute to the Initial Teacher
Leaders have energised staff.
Teachers adopt and adapt a
wide range of effective ways
to teach…as a result, pupils’
progress is good.”
This conveyor belt of leadership
development has been fundamental to
our school improvement and now to
the improvement of other schools.
At the heart of the school is our belief
that we are a community school
that belongs to everyone. We are
welcoming of all pupils no matter how
complex or daunting their needs may
be. We currently have 23 children with
an education health care plan and over
15 childcare apprentices who work
one to one to meet their needs. Awide
range of partners, from language
development workers, portage,
educational psychologists to nurses,
support the school. This all contributes
to good provision for pupils with special
educational needs. In2016,itwas
judged that a number of our pupils
with autism would benefit from a place
at a Designated Specialist Provision.
Unfortunately, a shortage of places in
the authority meant there were none
available. After working closely with
the local authority, we rearranged the
school and offered to open an Interim
Provision, which will shortly become
permanent. This was to the delight of
the parents who wanted their children
to remain at the school where siblings
attended, which is embedded at the
heart of the community. We have also
recently started to take children from
other local schools who need this more
specialist provision. We will be full with
12 pupils by 2019.
We are still on a journey; taking on a
partnership school is providing its own
challenges and we are currently in the
process of joining a multi academy
trust, which will in turn bring a new
way of working. It will also provide
further leadership development
opportunities and allow us the chance
to cross-pollinate areas of practice
and similar concepts, thus improving
our school on a cumulative and
cooperative level.
Growing and Blossoming
is what we
specialise in at Crossley Hall – whether
it be children, staff, leaders or families
– and we will be striving to provide
outstanding education and experiences
for 142 more years to come.
Leaders are
rightly proud
of the
culture they
have created
Ofsted 2016
A harmonious

This article was sponsored by Crossley Hall 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