Falinge Park High School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Falinge Park High 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 Falinge Park High 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


Head teacher Janice Allen
A sunny school
Janice Allen, head teacher of Falinge Park High School,
had feared that language had become more polarising in
children and there were greater levels of disunity among
those of varied backgrounds than there had been five years
previously. She here discusses how she investigated this
concern, and subsequently took steps to make the school a
place that cherishes similarities and celebrates difference among
its diverse and talentedstudents.
“Rochdale is more diverse than London – we mix more here than London because
it’s smaller.” The statement took me by surprise. It came from Amie, a first-
generation Nigerian pupil who arrived in London and moved to Greater Manchester
when she was in primary school. My team and I were creating a training video on
how effectively equality was promoted in school, and the views of Rochdale-based
pupils and staff were both heartening and saddening in equalmeasure.
Falinge Park High School overlooks Rochdale, the birthplace of the Rochdale
Pioneers, founders of the co-operative movement in the 1800s. We are an inclusive,
vibrant, oversubscribed comprehensive exceeding 1,200 pupils and will have
expanded to 1,350 by 2022. There are over 42 languages spoken at the school
and it is a harmonious, caring environment. Over the 2016/17 academic year,
however, I began to feel we weren’t doing enough to truly celebrate the principles
of equality and diversity that make our community strong. Yes, our public-sector
duty on equalities was prominently placed on our website, but there was a
nagging feeling that at the ground level it was being tested through the increase
in polarised and binary language externally. Was this true or simply a figment of
»Head teacher: Janice Allen
»Founded in 1990
»Based in Rochdale, Greater
»Type of school: 11-16 mixed
comprehensive school
»No. of students: 1,230
»No. of staff: 80 teaching, 170
»We have been involved in
a year-long project with
Bletchley Park, and the Enigma
machine has visited our school
»Our choir sang at the
Bridgewater Hall with the BBC
Newsreaders and Manchester
Inspirational Voices
Falinge Park High
Highlighting best practice
my imagination? I was convinced that
leading a multicultural school had
become harder than five years ago, but
was I simply confirming my own bias?
We had to ask the pupils.
We engaged an external business
leader and magistrate who spoke to a
variety of pupils and staff and tested
this evidence against our own findings.
The answer was simple – yes, pupils
were becoming increasingly concerned
about the future and how they fit
into British society. They were worried
about what would happen outside
our safe community and what the
future held for them. All the pupils we
spoke to talked eloquently about their
perceptions, their experiences and their
hopes and fears for the future. It was a
call for action and one we did not shy
away from.
The school curriculum
At Falinge Park High School, we
believe that a curriculum is about more
than achieving a set of examination
results; it is about educating the whole
child and providing the knowledge
and subject skills which, with strong
habits of learning, will help them to
make positive choices for the future.
The curriculum is more than the taught
lesson or the exam syllabus – it is the
way the child feels when they put on
their school tie in the morning, the
way they walk to school with their
friends, whether they move to the side
for someone on the street or give their
seat up on the tram, whether they say
please or thank you when someone
holds the door open for them; it’s
how they apply the good manners
and the kindness we model with each
other and staff and outside of the
school environment. Our big aims of
the curriculum are to create learners,
team players, communicators, role
models, thinkers, researchers, experts
We therefore addressed the challenges
of celebrating an equal and diverse
community through our curriculum
rather than as an “add-on”. We
have looked at where we are, where
our individual histories have led us
up to this point and what we can all
contribute to the future. To date, we
1. Rooted our history, geography
and RE curriculum at Key Stage 3
in a sense of belonging and the
local context, exploring individual
and community contribution to
Rochdale and Great Britain.
2. Responded to key issues through
our personal, social and health
Equalities ambassadors
teaching staff
Pupils with an Enigma
First you must
trust and
cherish your
3. Secured a partnership with the
People’s History Museum in
Manchester on an art installation
exploring the fundamental
questions of “who am I?”, “where
have I contributed to society?” and
“what changes can I make?”
4. Created a team of equalities
ambassadors who have trained
staff and pupils on LGBT issues and
have ensured that this remains high
profile across the school.
5. Strengthened pupil leadership
groups across school to lead
projects on Black History Month,
disability discrimination, British
values and raising awareness on
protected characteristics.
6. Led debates on equality and age
discrimination through external
7. Engaged local businesses and
public services through a series
of diverse network evenings with
pupils to provide inspiration and
show that it can be done, no
matter what your background or
circumstances. It may be harder but
that is no reason not to try, and if
you don’t succeed at first, try again
in a different way.
8. Community events and celebrations
which create a sense of inclusion.
9. Supported our whole-school aim
of improving pupils’ vocabulary
through focusing our “Falinge
reads” on material which celebrates
equality and diversity and supports
the principles of democracy, rule of
law, individual liberty and respect
and tolerance.
Perhaps the most important aspect
of us driving this experience is the
culture we have created for teachers.
For all this to occur I have celebrated
the diversity of my teaching staff
in the classroom in terms of their
pedagogical approaches, used
research to guide what works well and
applied the same listening to teaching
staff as well as pupils. We have
had one objective since I joined in
September 2015 and that is to “create
a compelling learning experience”.
We do this in a culture of high trust
and high professional responsibility.
I truly believe that to create the best
environment for pupils to succeed
in, and when you are tackling head-
on the challenges we face in a
multicultural school, you must at first
trust and cherish yourstaff.
What next?
We’ve made remarkable progress,
but we are not there yet. Our next
steps include a project with Rochdale
Town Hall which looks at identity,
engagement with bigger businesses
including Manchester City Football
Club, engagement of positive local
role models including those who
work on a national level and – most
importantly – we must keep talking,
listening and celebrating equality and
diversity for, as Maya Angelou states:
“In diversity, there is beauty and there
is strength.”
Create a
experience –
wedo this in a
culture of high
trust and high
Head teacher with pupils


This article was sponsored by Falinge Park High 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