Richard Atkins Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Richard Atkins 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 Richard Atkins 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

Nadia McIntosh, head teacher
Creating a secure and
united community
Richard Atkins Primary School empowers children to achieve
excellence in all that they do, setting them on a life of
infinite possibility where they understand just how big their
world can be and know that they are their own creators. Head
teacher Nadia McIntosh details key aspects of how the school
enhances the provision and learning experiences of the pupils,
creating “an impressive climate for learning” (Ofsted2017).
Richard Atkins is a warm, vibrant and inclusive school at the heart of its
community. With a purpose-driven, high-quality provision, we endeavour to
foster fundamental values including growth, integrity, courage, excellence,
curiosity and empowerment. We strive to provide our pupils with skills to enable
them to become lifelong learners who are effective communicators, enjoy
learning and achieving, are able to make informed choices about their lifestyles
and are confident to compete and make a positive impact in the local and
My arrival, in September 2014, coincided with some key changes in primary
education; we needed to respond swiftly to ensure that the school was in a
position to effectively implement the new 2014 national curriculum, SEND
code of practice and Assessment Without Levels. Targeted changes were made
to schemes of work and curriculum resourcing and the staff team structure
was revised to ensure distributive leadership at every level in order to drive
forward improvements in teaching and learning. We are now well on our
journey towards “outstanding” by dealing with all challenges in a proactive and
»Head teacher: Nadia McIntosh
»Founded in 1897
»Based in Brixton Hill, Lambeth
»Type of school: Two-form
entry primary school
»No. of pupils: 354, including
»Ofsted: “Good”, January 2017
Richard Atkins
Primary School
Highlighting best practice
Creative Curriculum
Ensuring our provision met the
expectations of the new National
Curriculum 2014 was only part of
our challenge; our pupils also needed
to be encouraged to engage on a
deeper level and become leaders
of their own learning. In order to
achieve this, we developed our own
“Creative Curriculum”, incorporating
engaging, aspirational pupil-led
activities linked around key whole-
school themes. We aim to go
beyond rote learning, and focus on
using motivational experiences and
teaching strategies to activate and
enhance individual children’s passions
and needs, leading to higher levels of
Music plays an important role in
enhancing our curriculum. Our
full-time music specialist ensures
that every child benefits from class
music lessons once a week, as well
as opportunities to learn a musical
instrument during their time with
us. We passionately believe that
providing children with these
learning opportunities helps not
only their language development
but also their creativity, physical
skills and their personal and social
Pupil wellbeing
Integral to our core ethos is meeting
the needs of the whole child. Given
this, pupil safety and wellbeing are
of paramount importance at Richard
Atkins. Working with our pupils in a
therapeutic way permeates everything
we do and we take time to listen and
support pupils socially and emotionally
as well as academically. We provide a
range of creative therapies, including
martial arts, enabling our pupils to
build their confidence, self-esteem
and resilience in an increasingly
Fostering inquisitive
Embracing new
Pupils are
confident that
they will be
learners. They
take risks, ‘have
a go’ and rise to
the challenges of
their teachers
Ofsted 2017
Pupils as leaders
Encouraging our pupils to take
leadership of and pride in, their school
takes a variety of different forms
at Richard Atkins. Our Children’s
Committee is comprised of pupils who
are elected by their peers to represent
each class from year 2 onwards.
These pupils meet several times per
term, guided by a member of staff, to
discuss key issues affecting their peers
and to effect positive ways to improve
their school.
We have developed a team of peer
mediators: carefully trained pupils
who support their peers to resolve
disagreements amicably at playtimes
and lunchtimes. Our peer mediators are
overseen by key members of staff who
prepare and debrief them on a weekly
basis, enabling them to discuss any
issues that have arisen and equip them
with the skills to supporteffectively.
In order to help prepare our pupils
for future life, we have created a
team of “young leaders” who take
on roles of responsibility within the
school. Pupils go through a rigorous
job selection process, completing a
job application form and an interview
with the senior leadership team
before they are appointed. Roles are
as follows: lunchtime, environmental,
welcome, clerical, librarian and “Rights
Respecting School” young leaders.
Windmill Cluster
Richard Atkins takes a leading role
in the Windmill Cluster, a cluster
of ten schools within Lambeth
who share ideas, resources and
expertise to support and facilitate
the highest outcomes in attainment
and aspirations for the entire school
community. Staff work together
with trust and respect in a variety
of different forums including heads,
SLT, literacy, maths, year 2, year 6
and EYFS to discuss key issues and
generate opportunities for improved
outcomes. We pool resources, bidding
for shared funding in order to increase
our efficiency and effectiveness.
Collaboratively, we have secured
enhanced opportunities for our pupils
including workshops with visiting
authors and Pegasus Opera (working
directly with the children), Poetry
Slam, horse riding, Science Fair, Maths
Olympiad, art exhibitions, film-making
and outdoor learning opportunities.
As we deliver on our promise of
inspiring curiosity and the courage
to succeed in our pupils, we are
committed to preparing our young
people for the world of the future.
We take a holistic approach to
educating the individual person. We
have developed the extended pupil
experience that ensures they develop
flexible and adaptable skills to be
successful future employers/employees.
As we build the foundations for our
pupils’ education and their people,
social and communication skills, we
want to ensure that they will lead
healthy and fulfilling lives that will
enable them to take risks and to be
respectful, creative leaders of the
modern world playing active roles
Head teacher
Nadia McIntosh
details key
aspects of how
the school
enhances the
provision and
experiences of
the pupils,
creating “an
climate for
Striving to be our
greatest self

This article was sponsored by Richard Atkins 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 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