Kings Hill School

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

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 Kings Hill School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Headteacher Alice Early
Running regularly supports
children’s mental health
Founded in 1997, Kings Hill School is based in the heart of
the Kings Hill community on extensive grounds. It was the
first school to be built on Kings Hill, which was formerly
the West Malling airfield site. Headteacher Alice Early joined
in September 2015 and recognised that the school had scope
for future success and development. Below, she discusses the
changes that have been implemented and the areas the school
has succeeded in since.
On my arrival, I initially set to work with all the stakeholders in order to secure
a clear vision and values to ensure a shared purpose. Our motto – “Inspired
to believe, inspired to achieve” – was formulated soon after, and we began
establishing the core values of respect, responsibility, kindness, courage, co-
operation and resilience. Subsequently, in 2017, we were one of the first primary
schools in Kent to achieve the values-based education accreditation, as, over that
period, we had fully integrated values into the curriculum and ethos of the school,
ensuring a strong foundation for learning and positive, respectful relationships
between all.
Developing teaching and learning
Teaching has been consistently strong at Kings Hill School, with standards above
national averages. However, this has improved even further in recent years, and
leaders are aspirational for every pupil. Leaders have developed a shared culture
and commitment to targeted professional development and research, ensuring
that teachers are empowered to take risks and are innovative in their approaches.
»Headteacher: Alice Early
»Founded in1997
»Location:West Malling, Kent
»Type of school:Community
»No. of students: 452 children
on roll and 62 on roll in the
Kings Hill School
Highlighting best practice
In 2017 we published Action Research
with Canterbury Christ Church
University, where we studied the
impact of various teaching strategies,
such as retrieval practice, precision
teaching and pre-teaching.
These practices have since been
implemented, evaluated and
embedded, resulting in significant
improvements in learning outcomes
and children’s retention of knowledge.
Leaders and teachers are committed
to improving their own subject
knowledge, and professional
development has led to high-quality
responsive teaching. Covid-19 has of
course presented further challenge in
this area but the school’s response was
quick and we established Microsoft
Teams to enable remote learning.
An ambitious and exciting
Leaders and staff have worked
together to build an exciting and broad
curriculum, ensuring that knowledge,
skills, vocabulary and cultural capital
are built on progressively and
cohesively throughout the school.
Unique features have been developed
within the curriculum to ensure that
children are given enriching and
well-planned opportunities to further
their experiences. For example, in the
year 6 history unit on immigration,
children visited Brick Lane and cooked
a vegetarian curry from scratch in their
cookery enrichment course.
Outdoor learning is also a strong
feature embedded within the
curriculum, which is supported by
exceptional facilities and resources,
including a pond area, woodland,
an outside classroom, a meadow
and growing areas. In the outdoor
learning programme, experiences are
linked directly to knowledge taught
across all subjects. For example, our
year 2 students made maps using
natural resources to show the seven
continents linked to their geography
learning, and year 5 made Greek
artefacts from clay linked to their
history unit on ancient Greece. The
high-quality outdoor provision has
culminated in the school receiving
the silver “Learning Outside the
Classroom” accreditation.
Throughout 2019 and 2020, subject
leaders have worked with experts in
their subjects, including professors
from the University of Roehampton,
to develop rich and exciting units
of work with powerful knowledge.
Leaders have developed a curriculum
model to ensure that children are
given the opportunity to practise and
master skills as well as acquire and
Reading is given the highest priority,
and we have worked closely with a
Department for Education English
consultant to develop an ambitious
mastery curriculum in English, ensuring
that reading, spelling and vocabulary
are taught systematically with highly
trained staff. A love of reading is
embedded, and the school library is
well utilised, with carefully selected
books. The school has won a “best
library” award. Regular reading
assemblies, reading challenges and
a reading river ensure that reading
The curriculum is
ambitious and exciting
learning is also
a strong
within the
which is
supported by
facilities and
Personal development and
Staff have always taken the personal
development and pastoral care of all
pupils very seriously and even more so
due to the implications of Covid-19.
A strong focus has been developed
on both physical and mental health.
The school has its own therapy dog as
well as a trained psychotherapist, and
children in the wellbeing committee
have had training from a psychologist.
A wellbeing change team has also
been set up to review mental health
provision for all stakeholders, including
staff and parents. Children in the
committee are proactive in listening
to the views of others and have been
successful in securing a bid from the
charity HeadStart and a local business
called Cantium to build a calm cottage
for use at playtimes.
Children are active and opportunities
to use an all-weather running track
and multi-use games area have
increased since lockdown, to support
their physical activity. Children also
complete fitness challenges each term
to improve their personal fitness.
Staff ensure children understand
the effect of physical health on
Children are encouraged to have a
real voice in the school and to make
a difference, and there are many
opportunities to do so, including
the charity committee, wellbeing
committee, school council, digital
leaders, values ambassadors and play
leaders. Children are also given a wide
range of extracurricular opportunities,
including mountain biking, tennis, golf,
illustrations and book club, and are
inspired for their futures by monthly
careers assemblies run by parents.
Although there have been some
restrictions to this due to Covid-19, we
plan to offer these opportunities again
as soon as we are able.
In September 2020 we were awarded
the IQM Centre of Excellence Award
for inclusion. The assessor said,
“Inclusion permeates every aspect of
the school and reaches every corner
and every aspect of their work”.
A democratic culture has been
developed and children are given the
opportunity to debate philosophical
questions weekly at the talking-point
assembly. The school’s determined
efforts to promote spiritual, moral,
social and cultural development
(SMSC) have ensured that the school
has been awarded the gold SMSC
quality mark.
Next steps
We are excited to have opened a
nursery class in September 2020
and can now integrate children at
an earlier age into our nurturing
environment. Kings Hill School is an
exciting place to learn and work, and
despite the challenges from Covid-19,
we are looking forward to sharing
our commitment to continuous
improvement and providing an
accessible and ambitious education
Staff have
always taken
the personal
and pastoral
care of all
pupils very
seriously and
even more so
due to the
implications of
Outdoor learning is an
integral feature at Kings
Hill School

This article was sponsored by Kings Hill 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