Emerson Park Academy

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Emerson Park Academy'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 Emerson Park Academy 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


Mr McGuinness with our head
boy and head girl
Year 11 triple scientists
Emerson Park Academy is a mixed comprehensive academy
for 1,050 pupils aged 11 to 16 years. It traces its roots back
to 1943 when it began life as the only grammar school in
the country formed during the Second World War. It moved
to its present site, spacious and attractive grounds overlooking
the Ingrebourne Valley, in 1953 and became a comprehensive
school 20 years later. In 2017, Emerson Park Academy was
thriving, with Ofsted judging the school “good” and over
1,020 applicants for 210 spaces in year 7. Head teacher
Scott McGuinness explains that it is a school underpinned by
traditional values which, combined with modern-day thinking,
creates well-rounded individuals who excel academically, in the
arts and in the sporting arena.
When I became the head teacher of Emerson Park, it was immediately clear that
I had inherited a school with very intelligent pupils from families who were, and
continue to be, extremely supportive. Situated in a London borough where the
percentage of adults who have been to university is much lower than the national
average, it wasn’t so surprising that raising the aspirations for academic excellence,
especially for high attainers in the school, was an area that needed our attention.
Academic success for all is a fundamental value which remains at the core of
everything we do. It seemed that celebrating academic success, however, had been
overtaken by other factors in previous years at the academy.
Re-introducing an Academic Awards Evening, attended by the former mayor
and over 350 parents in the autumn term, was the first step towards raising
»Head teacher:
»Founded in 1943
»Based in Havering
»Type of school: Mixed
»No. of students: 1,010, but
expanding to 1,050 next year
»The percentage of pupils
attaining Grade 5 and above
in English and mathematics
last year was 17 per cent
above the national average
Emerson Park
Highlighting best practice
the importance and celebration
of academic achievements. The
appointment of a lead practitioner
responsible for raising attainment for
more able pupils, 26 pupils becoming
members of Mensa, developing links
with local sixth form providers and
visits to universities, such as Wadham
College and University of Oxford,
came later in the year. Having high
expectations for all pupils, coupled
with a highly skilled teaching staff,
helped to create what I can only
describe as a “field of dreams”.
Create the capacity for success and
the successes will come – an aphorism
which became a reality at the end of
my first year with a set of GCSE results
which placed us among the top five
secondary schools inHavering.
Structural changes
An important element of change
within Emerson Park was the re-
development of the traditional
year group structure. Vertical tutor
groups had embedded a strong
house identity within the academy;
however, moving back to horizontal
tutor groups provided greater
opportunities for utilising tutor time
more successfully. Restructuring staff
meant that we could increase the lines
of accountability, especially for the
pastoral side of the academy. Four
heads of house were replaced by five
year leaders and assistant year leaders,
and each year group was linked to
a member of the senior leadership
team. Essentially, this meant that 15
staff members were now responsible
for elements of the school which had
originally been left to justfour.
The curriculum was also an area where
changes had to take place. Moving
back from a two-week to one-week
timetable resulted in a positive change
in the allocation of subject time. The
core subjects gained time, optional
subjects increased their teaching time
at Key Stage 4 and these changes
have resulted in greater value for tutor
time and have encouraged greater
creativity when delivering key elements
of the curriculum. The recruitment of
highly skilled individuals, the creation
of five lead practitioner roles and the
investment into CPD for our existing
staff members has also resulted in
an academic environment where
continuous learning for all is becoming
the norm.
I am immensely proud of the
achievements of the pupils and staff at
Emerson Park Academy and relish the
opportunity to share this. Following a
very successful open evening, we had
four weeks where prospective parents
were taken around to see the school
Year 8 food and nutrition
Year 9 technology
Create the
capacity for
success and
the successes
will come
in action during a normal working day.
We have re-designed the academy
website to reflect the progressive
nature of education in the 21stcentury
and create five newsletters each year
(two of which are dedicated to our
sporting successes). We are active
users of Twitter and encourage
each faculty area to have a Twitter
feed which is updated regularly. We
have recently invested in “Show My
Homework”, something which has
been well received by our parents,
staff and pupils. We are also involved
in the development and delivery of
the “ScratchMaths” computer coding
program, designed by University
College London, which enables a
number of our pupils to work with
our local primary schools and help
deliver a compulsory element of their
curriculum. Embracing technology
and using this to our advantage is
something which we endeavour to do.
Our future
The future of Emerson Park Academy
is bright but will not be without its
challenges. Financial constraints and
political uncertainty are factors which
we try to balance while ensuring
that decisions are made for the good
of the individual pupil. Academic
success is important for all and yet we
recognise that success is not always
measured by academic performance
and this is something that we must not
forget while preparing our pupils for a
highlycompetitive world beyond school.
Managing complacency and ensuring
that high expectations are maintained
will be fundamental in ensuring that
our successes continue to be built upon.
One thing is for certain, the future of
Emerson Park Academy will be based
upon a team effort. If something is not
right, we see it as an opportunity for
improvement. A history of excellence
underpins the progressive nature of
this school and I am looking forward
to sharing our successes and learning
from others at every opportunity.
I am immensely
proud of the
achievements of
the pupils and
staff at Emerson
Park Academy
and relish the
opportunity to
share this
Our pupil leadership
Year 10 English literature


This article was sponsored by Emerson Park Academy. 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