Reedley Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Reedley 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 Reedley 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

Deputyhead Kerry Gorrell (left)
and Sarah Bell (right)
We achieved Primary
School of the Year in the
East Lancashire Education
Awards in July 2017
With 90 per cent of their students having English as
an additional language, Reedley Primary School have
adapted their curriculum to meet the needs of their
students. This has involved creating “knowledge organisers”,
which are banks of information and facts that allow students
to become accustomed to the vocabulary they will need in
an upcoming topic, ensuring that they are able to focus on
developing skills. Since being appointed in January 2016,
Headteacher Sarah Bell and Deputy Headteacher Kerry Gorrell
have overseen significant improvement in attainment and
progress across all areas of learning. They tell
The Parliamentary
about the importance of the school’s ethos and their
work with a local cluster of schools.
We are a two-form entry school, having expanded over the last three years to 420
pupils. In total, 24 per cent of our students are eligible for the pupil premium, and
90 per cent have English as an additional language. We received our first Ofsted
inspection in April 2017 and attained a “good” judgement after overcoming
a variety of barriers, including improving the quality of teaching and learning,
consistency of staff across the school and the personal development and wellbeing
of pupils and staff. To drive this change, we established high expectations across
the school, which were recognised when we achieved Primary School of the Year in
the East Lancashire Education Awards in July 2017.
»Headteacher: Sarah Bell
»Established in 1977
»Based in Burnley
»Type: Primary
»No. of pupils: 420
Reedley Primary
Highlighting best practice
The importance of our values
Central to our school life are our values
and ethos. We focus on these different
values in all classes and display them
prominently around the school.
We are always looking to see these
values in practice and have organised
weekly awards to reward those who
demonstrate them. We have high
expectations for all of our children
and staff, and these cover academic
work, behaviour and conduct. It is
vital that both children and staff
attain the best that they can, through
both achievement and progress,
and we have developed a culture of
learning from mistakes. We have very
supportive parents who are closely
involved in the life of our school.
The professional growth of our staff
is important to us, and we have a
focus on continual learning. Central
to this are peer support groups in
which staff address personal areas
of development. This involves a
collaborative cycle of “plan, teach,
review” and enables staff to reflect
on their own teaching practice and
the impacts that they have on the
children’s learning. We use this as an
opportunity to trial new strategies and
develop a sense of collective ownership
of their pedagogy.
We were appointed to lead the school
shortly after the introduction of the
revised national curriculum, and there
was a sense of uncertainty about this
change. To adapt to this, we trained
our staff in new systems and made
sure that our curriculum focused on
our children, placing them at the heart
of all we do. The curriculum is tailored
to the individual needs of our children
and their prior learning, instilling a
sense of uniqueness in our provision.
As an example, we have a significant
focus on vocabulary due to the large
number of EAL pupils in school. In
2016/17, 50 per cent of our children
achieved the expected standard for
reading at the end of Key Stage 2. In
one year, we managed to raise this to
69 per cent, with 29 per cent achieving
the greater depth standard.
Adapting to the needs of our
Reading is key to accessing the
curriculum; as many of our children
struggle with comprehension, we
have implemented a “Reciprocal
Reading” programme. This involves
children discussing texts with their
peers and becoming involved in
monitoring their own comprehension
and understanding. We have also
We set high
expectations for all of
our children and staff
growth of our
staff is
important to
us, and we
have a focus
on continual
created a “Reading Buddy” system in
which year 6 children receive in-depth
training to support EAL learners in
year 1, delivering one-to-one sessions
to develop their decoding and
comprehension skills.
One of the biggest changes we
have made is supporting a focus
on reflection. We have worked
hard to promote a positive mindset
throughout the school and use
mistakes as learning opportunities,
viewing them as part of the wider
learning process. We have also created
“knowledge organisers”: banks of
knowledge and facts about a topic
that we give to all children to immerse
them in their new learning. This allows
them to have a base of knowledge
so that they can focus on developing
skills. This is particularly helpful
for our EAL learners, as they can
become accustomed to the necessary
vocabulary before the topic begins
while enjoying independent research.
Crucial to this is their immersion day
before the start of each topic, in
which children identify the areas that
they would like to explore in greater
depth, taking into account their
Working together to
negotiate challenges
We collaborate closely with a
cluster of local schools, whose
strapline is “diversity, friendship and
community”. Staff from 13 schools
work collaboratively to provide
opportunities for the children to
spend time together, ensuring all
children experience time with others
from diverse backgrounds. Our
staff conduct joint training, meeting
regularly to share best practice and
reflect on teaching and learning. The
cluster recently hosted a leadership
conference to analyse and evaluate our
impact on the curriculum and to share
effective practice across the county.
One of the main challenges we face as
school leaders is managing our budget,
and we are always looking for ways to
do more with less. We are committed
to ensuring that our curriculum
remains broad and will continue to
maintain our programme of school
trips and visitors, which is essential to
the richness of our school.
As we look to the future, we
are focused on maintaining our
progress and providing high-quality
opportunities for all of our children
and staff, focusing on both the
academic and the pastoral. We ensure
that our children are ready for the next
step in their lives, underpinned by our
school motto: “achieving today for
tomorrow’s world”.
closely with a
cluster of local
strapline is
friendship and
Reading is key to
accessing the curriculum
Our curriculum is
tailored to the needs of
our children

This article was sponsored by Reedley 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 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