Hornsey School for Girls

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Hornsey School for Girls'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 Hornsey School for Girls 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 Kuljit Rahelu
Students are encouraged to develop
a deep knowledge of ICT
In 2017, Hornsey School for Girls’ progress score outranked
all other schools in the London Borough of Haringey, moving
from mid-table to the top, with a validated progress 8 score
of +0.66. Head teacher Kuljit Rahelu discusses the steps
taken in effecting positive change throughout the school,
referencing collaboration, field trips and allowing students
greater independence as key components that contextualise the
successes of Hornsey School for Girls.
A journey to excellence for all
Since April 2015, we have embarked on an ambitious and no-holds-barred
programme encompassing our academic and pastoral provision with student
outcomes at the centre of our vision. This might seem obvious, but the complex
and myriad ways that school life is geared to pulling one away from the basics are
well documented. We are unforgiving with ourselves as professionals to ensure that
every aspect of the school delivers on our ambitions for all within it.
Our English department has grown and developed over a number of years. The
new specifications are embedding and last year, after two years of preparation,
they achieved a progress score of +1.14. In layman’s terms, this is the equivalent
of every student gaining over a grade on their targets, regardless of their starting
points. EAL, SEND, GT, whatever ethnic group – the planning and skills set of
the team ensured that students achieved higher than above average. For many,
this opened more ambitious and challenging pathways for them. Other subjects
are learning lessons from this, and it perpetuates a cultural shift in expectations
around both staff and student performance.
»Head teacher: Ms Kuljit Rahelu
»Founded in 1887
»Based in Crouch End, Haringey
»Type of school: Secondary
comprehensive girls’ school
with mixed sixth form
»No. of students: 900
»In December 2017, one of our
ex-students proposed to his
girlfriend of ten years in the
classroom; they first met in
when they were in our sixth
form. She said yes.
Hornsey School
Highlighting best practice
Our school is a typical comprehensive.
I am sure that the term “girls’ school”
conjures up images of leafy spires,
hockey and either Cheltenham Ladies’
College or St Trinian’s. Our school
Our school demographic comes from
across the boroughs of Haringey,
Enfield and Edmonton as well as
Islington and Hackney. These are
inner-city London boroughs, with the
issues that come from being based
in large urban sprawls. What we
do is manage as many of the social
issues and concerns as well as the
advantages that come with urban
areas. We are evangelical about using
our connections and local links as a
key part of our curriculum provision.
This is clear with our enterprise and
geography departments utilising the
London mayor’s “London curriculum”,
but also in our commitment to
increasing extra-curricular provisions
and experiences for our students.
This has been key to some of our
successes – and we are lucky to be
based in an area with easy access
to the advantages of being based in
the capital city. Subsidised transport
allows children to develop greater
responsibility and self-awareness, while
teaching them how to independently
navigate themselves in urban
environments: an important life lesson.
In itself, these facets do not contribute
to improved outcomes. However,
when these trips and experiences
are embedded within the classrooms
referred to and explicitly connected
with learning episodes, we begin
to see our students succeed on an
unprecedented scale.
Nothing in isolation
We are keen to collaborate and
are welcoming of new links and
partnerships to support our young
people. Our staff are dynamic and
driven: this means that they are
constantly sourcing new experiences
and partnerships to drive academic
achievement. A year 7 student in the
school has already attended a theatre
trip, listened to a reading and workshop
by award-winning authors, had the
opportunity to be a key part of the
school production, been invited to Texas
to play with the Haringey music service,
and will be meeting and visiting the air
ambulance service in the school. These
activities support our creative learning
environment, and again form part of
the curriculum that students take with
them. The key has been to tie in these
events and experiences into pieces
across the curriculum that support us.
These partnerships have been critical
to developing our student offer. In
our coeducational sixth form, every
student has a mentor that allows them
access to a different network or skill
set required for the future and is part
of our work with the brilliant Access
Project. If you’re a school considering
how best to support disadvantaged
students into higher education, we
recommend partnerships like this to
give a wide-ranging pool of experts in
different fields. We couldn’t support
our outcomes without them. Lower
down the school, our work with the
Girls’ Network, something I brought
with me when I joined the school in
2015, has genuinely changed the
lives and driven the aspiration of our
STEM is critical,
underpinning success
outcomes are
at the centre
of our vision
students. The partnerships are out
there that will change their lives, and
do so in conjunction with your school’s
unique vision, ethos and values.
The curriculum
We know that more challenging
specifications across subjects need
greater resilience and independence,
as well as an in-depth understanding
of the impact of wellbeing. This
can’t be an accidental hope. Our
directors of learning are tasked early
on with designing a year-long tutorial
programme which supports greater
awareness of mental wellbeing.
At present, the programme has a
wellbeing component running through
it as an explicit strand – regardless
of the topic. For example, when we
talk about careers with our students,
we also discuss work-life balance
and its ongoing impact on families
and those in the industry. Our
topics are supplemented by a varied
programme of different speakers who
are booked and brought in to share
Our curriculum keeps at the heart of it
a commitment to creativity, partially in
recognition of our past as a performing
arts school. We are privileged to have a
fantastically dedicated staff team, with
our teaching and learning programme
led for many years by my exceptional
deputy head teacher Angela Rooke,
supported by the aptly named
“Inspires Team”. This team of our best-
performing teachers keeps innovation
and challenge at the forefront of our
industry, ensuring that our teaching
and learning is the best it can be.
It takes cultural change to develop a
school, and it takes all of the staff to
live and breathe the vision and values
to sustain and deliver the ambitions
for success. We are delighted to show
this through our journey, which has
allowed us to become the highest-
achieving school in the borough
that will
change lives
Head teacher Kuljit
Rahelu and chair
of governors Anita
Yiannoullou regularly
meet students


This article was sponsored by Hornsey School for Girls. 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