Pudsey Grangefield School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Pudsey Grangefield 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 Pudsey Grangefield 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


Principal Mark McKelvie
New state-of-the-art school
building completed in 2010
Pudsey Grangefield School is a secondary school for students
aged 11 to 18 years old located in the town of Pudsey
which is situated to the west of Leeds. The school has a
long and proud history having been established in the town
in 1905 and has over 1,200 students including a thriving Sixth
Form of almost 200 students. Principal Mark McKelvie tells
TheParliamentary Review
more about the school’s transformation.
When I started at Pudsey Grangefield School in September 2014 it was clear that
the school was underperforming and that some difficult decisions would have to
be taken if the school was to reach its true potential. We set about transforming
every aspect of the school. A clear behaviour system was quickly established which
ensured that teaching and learning could take place in a rigorous but supportive
classroom environment. The standard of teaching was dramatically improved whilst
our systems and processes were simultaneously redesigned and tightened.
Changing our culture
A key initial piece of work which we undertook with students, staff, parents and
Governors was to establish a clear set of values which are: respect, resilience,
integrity, compassion and ambition. These are fundamental to the work we do and
underpin everything from our behaviour system to our charity fundraising.
In addition we implemented a comprehensive school improvement programme
with a clear focus on ensuring that we raised standards but, unlike some schools,
chose not to do this at the expense of staff wellbeing. We firmly believe that people
perform to their best when they are supported and inspired. As a result, when we
»Principal: Mark McKelvie
»Founded in 1905
»Based in Pudsey, West
»Type of school: Secondary
»No. of students: 1,241
»No. of staff: 121
Pudsey Grangefield
Highlighting best practice
ask our staff to go the extra mile for
our students they do not hesitate. This
approach is clearly reaping rewards
in the significantly improved progress
that our students now make.
After our inspection in September
2016 we received a letter from
Amanda Spielman, Ofsted Chief
Inspector of Schools, which
congratulated us stating we had
‘improved all aspects of the school’.
Despite this it was clear that further
work would be required if we were
to move the school on to the highest
levels of performance. After some key
changes in personnel and systems,
the impact of our actions was clear to
see as we became the most improved
school in Leeds in 2018 and one of
the most improved in the country. In
addition our work with disadvantaged
students means that the gap between
them and their peers is closing at a
rate which is thirty times faster than
the national average.
Recruitment and the
education sector
There are many challenges facing
schools at present. A key issue for
all schools is the significant shortage
in maths and science graduates
entering the profession. One promising
development is the Future Teaching
Scholars project which has been
established by the Department for
Education and is recruiting some of the
best A level maths and physics students
and providing them with funding
through their degree in exchange for
a commitment to teach for at least
three years. We are proud to be one
of the first schools in the UK to employ
Future Teaching Scholars and we have
employed two scholars who will finish
their maths degrees at York University
this summer and start the teacher
training with at Pudsey Grangefield
School in September.
Another challenge is the real terms
funding cuts particularly in school
Sixth Form funding. Through prudent
budgeting we are able to operate a full
curriculum for our Sixth Form which
is growing in size but many schools
across the country have been forced
to close their Sixth Form provision
whilst larger centralised colleges are
being built. We believe that there is a
need for the Government to increase
funding to support local schools to
A vibrant and growing
Sixth Form
One of the
schools in the
provide post-16 education rather than
forcing an unnecessary transition on
young people at a key point in their
We are pleased to see the approach
which Amanda Spielman is driving at
Ofsted. The new framework is like a
breath of fresh air as we move away
from a rather simplistic approach
focussing on exam results (which led to
some questionable practices in certain
quarters) towards a more evidence-
based view of the fundamental
purpose of education and particularly
its potential to address social
disadvantages. We are embarking
on a comprehensive review of our
curriculum to ensure that our students
educational experience is second to
none and in doing so, allow them to
become outstanding, confident young
It is encouraging that the Government
and Ofsted clearly recognise that the
teachers of our country are one of our
most valuable assets and are actively
taking steps to ensure that they are
treated as such. Many positive steps
are taking place to replace a culture
where it was assumed that holding
people to account using dubious
targets was the only way to achieve
excellent results. We have long
adopted an approach which is rigorous
but also supports staff wellbeing. It
is encouraging to see this philosophy
now being promoted at a national
We believe that the purpose of
leadership is to create a rigorous
climate which allows staff to teach
to a high standard on a daily basis
and in doing so, ensure that all of our
students achieve their true potential.
We have made many significant
improvements and our school is now
about to embark on an exciting new
phase during which we will achieve
our vision of our school being “a truly
inspirational and caring community
of learning where everyone within it
has been developed and supported to
achieve their very best”.
A truly
and caring
community of
Exciting new phase of
our development is
about to begin


This article was sponsored by Pudsey Grangefield 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 Professor The Lord Blunkett.

The Rt Hon Professor The Lord Blunkett's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Professor The Lord Blunkett

A new Prime Minister, a new Education Secretary and, as we're all painfully aware, a deeply uncertain future. It is in this context that the education service continues to deliver for individuals, communities and of course for our nation. 
There is no doubt whatsoever that the education service as a whole, schools, post 16/Further Education, and yes, lifelong learning, needs the most enormous injection of cash. Independent analysis shows that there has been at least an 8% average reduction in the amount of spend per pupil in our schools. Those damaged most by this have been pupils with special educational needs, whose voices are sadly rarely heard. The necessity of urgent action was underlined in July by the report of the all-party House of Commons Select Committee on Education. They could not have been clearer about the need for substantial funding and a long-term 10-year commitment. 
At the same time, there are a number of reviews taking place. One of them, in relation to post-16 qualifications, is in danger of a classic mistake by politicians and officials who have little or no understanding of the complex territory they're dealing with. Namely, the ridiculous proposition that BTEC National Diplomas might be set aside because 'T Levels are the gold standard'! 
I'm in favour of T Levels, but in the right context and for the right outcome. They are intended to be extremely focused specialist qualifications in defined areas of employment. When and if they eventually take off – there is predicted to be just a thousand students in 2021-22 taking up the qualification – they will not replace the BTEC, which has been the workhorse providing a general and high-quality education for decades. The BTEC has equipped young people for a variety of opportunities in a very changing employment market where the development of artificial intelligence, robotics, and changed working practices makes confining the choice of vocational pathways to one narrow focus, frankly ridiculous. 
Meanwhile, her Majesty's Opposition continue to throw out titbits which do not give, as yet, a very clear idea of what, if elected, Labour would do in office. What is needed is positive proposals. Abolishing this, that or the other – assessments/tests for those leaving primary school, for instance – is not the same thing as a very forward-looking agenda for radical improvement in standards and equity between those who can and cannot afford additional help for their children.  
There are a handful of Labour Party members, supported by some people who ought to know better, who have decided that a full-frontal assault on private education would be a good idea. For those worried about this, stop worrying. A party that put this in its manifesto wouldn't get elected, and if by some fluke it did, it would be challenged in the courts to the point where all the contradictions would be exposed for everyone to see. 
Just contemplate one simple fact. 20% of secondary schoolchildren in the borough of Hackney attend private schools! Yes, Hackney. This is because a large number of parents, some of whom scrape the money together, are sending their children to private education in London which happens to be the area of England with the best academic outcomes from state education. What's more, very large numbers (again, particularly in London) pay for private tutors. At the last estimate 40% of parents in London had at some point over the last year paid for a tutor for their child!  
Perhaps therefore an opposition party, hoping to provide unity rather than division, opportunity for all rather than a futile class battle against educational privilege, would seek ways of ensuring that those who can't afford tutors have the kind of support outside school that would put them on equal terms. 
One thing is very certain, no government would be able to stop parents buying additional tutoring for their children.
So, a practical agenda for equalising opportunity, for investing where it's needed most, for transforming the pipeline from school through college, apprenticeships, or university, is a goal worth fighting for. A positive way of linking business and education through political decision-making, with the delivery by excellent professionals in the education service, to the children of today and the economy of tomorrow. Surely that is a much more progressive and less negative way forward for both government and opposition. 
The Rt Hon Professor The Lord Blunkett