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


Headteacher Christopher Wilson
Receiving our award at
the House of Lords
Based in Worksop, Ramsden Primary School is a community
and family-focused school that encourages pupils to have
lofty aspirations. Serving a student body where up to 85 per
cent come from lower socio-economic backgrounds, Ramsden has
shown significant improvement in terms of attainment in recent
years and was rated “good” by Ofsted in its 2016 inspection.
Headteacher Christopher Wilson explains more about the
school’s progress and discusses its vision for the years to come.
I joined Ramsden Primary School in 2014 following Ofsted reports of “satisfactory”
in January 2012 and “requires improvement” in October 2013. The school had a
lot of potential and had historically always been “good”. However, it had failed to
recognise the social change that was happening around it and had therefore not
adapted accordingly.
The school is situated in a relatively affluent area among stone cottages that
surround Carlton Hall. The cottages housed employees who served Squire
Ramsden, whose family had built the school in 1831. However, its close proximity
to an area that falls within the top ten per cent of areas of deprivation means that
up to 85 per cent of children come from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Five perspectives of poverty
Through research, we identified five main disadvantages that children from lower
socio-economic backgrounds begin their school lives with. We called these the
“Five Perspectives of Poverty”, or the 5Ps: material poverty, poverty of language,
emotional poverty, poverty of experience and poverty of ambition
»Headteacher: Christopher
»Founded in 1831
»Based in Worksop,
»Type of school: Community
»No. of students: 223
Ramsden Primary
Highlighting best practice
We then set about identifying ways
in which we could combat these
disadvantages. The first thing that
we did was to implement a double
hit of language development. First,
we employed speech and language
therapists to help children overcome
pre-existing difficulties. Second, we
had every member of staff trained in
language development, including sign
language as well as spoken language,
and established language-rich display
areas throughout the school. This
has had a massive impact on the
early development of language from
foundation level to year 6.
We employed a play therapist to come
into school to help children address
issues, especially around attachment,
which often hamper a child’s ability to
start their learning journey. This also
helped overcome aspects of negative
behaviour and encouraged children
and parents to foster a belief that we
genuinely cared for them.
Although our Key Stage 2 results in
2015 did not hit national targets for
attainment, we achieved 100 per cent
for our progress scores, with every
child making progress of two levels.
This led to an Ofsted rating of “good”
in February 2016.
“Audaces Fortuna Juvat”:
fortune favours the brave
The addition of the Ramsden family
motto to the school logo gave the
school and the children a “have a go”
attitude with everything that we did.
We converted our woodland area,
which is connected to the school,
into a fantastic learning environment.
We were the first school in the
country to achieve the Council for
Learning Outside the Classroom’s LotC
This has led on to work in areas
relating to ecology and environmental
studies. We formed a partnership
with Rolls-Royce, which ensured that
the children learnt a lot about the
Polar Explorer expedition. Our STEM
curriculum has received recognition
as well, with one of our teachers
reaching the final of the Outstanding
STEM Teaching Awards for the region
of north England and Wales. Our
STEM Club was the only one from a
primary school to be invited to the
House of Lords to receive a “highly
commended” award.
Our sports team have proven to be
very successful too. Initially employed
to develop PE across the curriculum to
Learning outside the
classroom is central to
our ethos
We were the
first school in
the country to
achieve the
Council for
Outside the
LotC Mark
allow teachers time to focus on other
things, our sports team now work with
us full-time. They not only ensure that
our PE curriculum is the best that it can
be, but also spend all playtimes and
lunchtimes outside with the children in
order to develop their skills in playing
traditional games. This develops PE
“skills”, as well as teaching children
how to play together and resolve
conflicts positively. In addition, our
PE team provide holiday clubs during
all school holidays except Christmas,
ensuring that our children are always
developing, even when school
Branching Out
Our homework policy, called
“Branching Out”, encourages our
children to think outside the box.
Instead of the traditional maths or
English sheets for children to complete,
we ask families to go to museums
together, grow vegetables or learn
how to make nutritious meals for
under £5, encouraging them to
develop positive relationships with
themselves and with education.
Our desire to overcome barriers to
learning through a focus on the
perspectives of poverty has definitely
paid dividends, resulting in our school
being in the top ten per cent for
attainment at both Key Stage 1 and
Key Stage 2. We believe that this is
because of our implementation of a
creative curriculum that helps develop
curiosity and a love of learning. The old
adage of “look after the pennies and
the pounds will look after themselves”
certainly plays at Ramsden.
Looking ahead
Although we have recently built a
nursery within our woodland in order
to stimulate learning at an early
age, we are eager to go further and
younger. We intend to offer parents
specialist help in encouraging early
language development, positive play
and the formation of healthy sleep
patterns, as well as a host of other
things that can help parents support
their young children.
Many of the gaps that children
develop happen at the age of 18
months old, and only get wider. This
is not because parents neglect their
children, but because most of the
traditional support networks have
disappeared. As schools, we must
evolve to become more than what
we are. If that means bringing school
to the child in the home, we look
forward to the opportunities that that
will bring.
Our desire to
barriers to
through a
focus on the
of poverty has
definitely paid
Science and technology
is also fundamental to
our curriculum


This article was sponsored by Ramsden Primary School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.