Kensington Community Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Kensington Community 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 Kensington Community 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

Senior leadership team
Kensington is an above-average-size school in inner-city
Liverpool. It serves a socially and economically challenged
area despite recent regeneration work. Of the 487 pupils,
only 63 have no barriers to their learning and the school’s
deprivation indicator is twice the national average. All the
figures measuring special needs as listed in the report card are
above the national averages for those groups. The school serves
families who have lived in the area – and attended this school
for generations – alongside first-generation immigrant families
speaking approximately 40 languages. Kitty Davies, head
teacher, explains how the school responds to this hugely mixed
These groups themselves are diverse, ranging from parents attending one of the
city’s universities to workers in the local hospital to asylum seekers and refugees. To
support the children’s academic progress, we must constantly identify barriers to
learning in order to develop the most effective response.
Growing and expanding
In September 2017, we began the expansion of our school. Pupil admissions rose
from 60 to 75 in reception to year 3. We self-funded the building of three new
classrooms to allow this to happen. We were determined not to have mixed-
age-range classes, as the children and the teachers are already addressing many
different barriers to teaching and learning – adding in a mixed-age-range class
would just be another barrier. This year, where the school’s intake has increased,
»Head teacher: Kitty Davies
»Founded in 2010
»Based in Liverpool
»Type of school: Primary school
»No. of pupils: 487
»No. of teachers: 24l
»No. of teaching assistants: 28
»English as an additional
language: 54 per cent
»Free school meals: 44 per cent
»SEND: 15.4 per cent
Kensington Community
Primary School
Highlighting best practice
we have three classes of up to 25
pupils, each with a full-time teaching
assistant funded mainly through pupil
Our school prides itself on being very
diverse and inclusive. We are proud
of our recently-achieved School of
Sanctuary status, which is testament
to the fact that we are committed to
being a safe and welcoming place for
all, especially those seeking sanctuary.
Pupils and staff work together so that
children and their families are part of
the school community, ensuring they
feel equal and valued.
We know that some of our children
have arrived in Britain so that they
can be safe for the first time in their
lives, and it is important that we not
only educate them academically, but
also ensure that they are cared for
emotionally at the same time. This
initial focus on emotional wellbeing
during each child’s induction period
means that children are then ready
for the challenges of learning across a
broad and balanced curriculum.
Language skills
A common barrier for any one of
our children is a limited vocabulary.
It may be limited because they have
yet to master English as an additional
language, because they do not live
in a vocabulary-rich home or because
they have limited life experiences
from which to draw. We set about
identifying a range of strategies to
support our children; this included
the “Lesson Study” professional
development system to collaborate
and improve further the quality-first
teaching in our school. Staff have
risen to the challenge of adapting
their teaching styles to ensure that all
children have a development focus on
their use of language.
To widen our children’s vocabulary, we
introduced “WOW” visits and visitors.
Each year group looks to identify an
area of the curriculum where they
feel a trip or a visitor would be able
to deepen the children’s knowledge
and understanding or spark their thirst
to learn. Being so close to Liverpool
city centre is fantastic – there are so
many free cultural experiences on
our doorstep. We also make full use
of our two school minibuses, which
allow us to access experiences not
just in Liverpool, but surrounding
areas as well, including Manchester,
north Wales and Derbyshire. We have
invested greatly in these WOW visits,
and have appointed a co-ordinator
Enquiry time block play
Pupils and
staff work
together so
that children
and families
feel part of
the school
Mishoshi – a WOW
who ensures that the best learning
experience is identified, that all risk
assessments are completed and all that
they are appropriately planned.
Since introducing this initiative, we
have seen an improvement in the
children’s vocabulary, which, in turn,
has positively affected their writing.
Children are able to access the
curriculum first-hand, leader to greater
confidence, improved learner curiosity
and a drive for each child to find
answers themselves.
Fostering curiosity
Since I became head teacher in 2012,
we have changed the traditional
playtime to “enquiry time”; this allows
children to investigate the areas in
which they might have a personal
interest. During this time, all staff
have designated areas which they
monitor – art room, ICT suite, science
station, library and, of course, outside.
Staff are responsible for ensuring
that these areas have a variety of
different activities available for the
children, which may even be linked
to curriculum areas for each year
group. Children, however, are not told
what to do at this time; they use it to
investigate or create whatever they
choose. It’slovely to see teachers and
teaching assistants supporting children
in areas that perhaps the curriculum
time does not allow them to. You soon
find adults and children alike sharing
common interests, discussing likes
We have been able to provide many
of these opportunities and resources
as a result of adequate funding over
the past few years. It has allowed the
school to provide our children with the
experiences that they desperately need,
ensuring they are able to compete
and achieve as well as those children
that perhaps are offered a variety of
opportunities in their homelives.
We are, however, concerned that
with the new funding formula,
the necessary resources will not be
available for initiatives that support
children that are living in areas of high
social and economic deprivation. This
in turn could see some of the trips,
visitors and experiences we offer being
limited in line with the tightening
of school budgets, which could
unfortunately lead to the narrowing of
a broad and balanced curriculum.
It’s lovely to see
teachers and
children in areas
that perhaps the
curriculum time
does not allow
them to
Collaborative learning
supports acquisition of

This article was sponsored by Kensington Community 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