The Devonshire Hill Nursery & Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The Devonshire Hill Nursery & 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 The Devonshire Hill Nursery & 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

Headteacher Julie D’Abreu
Our head boy and girl with
Only a ten-minute walk away from White Hart Lane
stadium in Tottenham, Devonshire Hill has created a
curriculum that is tailored to the needs of its children.
With 92 per cent of their students coming from ethnic minority
backgrounds, and with over 39 languages spoken, they have
chosen to teach all of their students Mandarin to embed a new
cultural experience into their provision. Focusing on careers
and working with university programmes from year 4 onwards,
the school aims to counter the negative stereotypes that are
sometimes associated with their local area. Headteacher Julie
D’Abreu discusses their new STEAM engine programme and how
they have developed creative methods to secure new funding.
Although we may have the highest deprivation levels in the local authority, we
have the highest aspirations for our children, thus we consistently outperform local
and national averages. Progress data in 2017 placed us in the top two per cent
nationally, and we are also involved in the Mayor’s Schools for Success programme.
We have 450 pupils across our nursery and primary provision, with an age range
of 2-11 years. I became headteacher in February 2010. Prior to my appointment,
the school had a high rate of staff turnover and often struggled with academic
performance. Supported by a committed core group of teachers and senior leaders,
we have managed to turn this around and are now a thriving place, full of happy
children and supportive parents.
»Headteacher: Julie D’Abreu
»Established in 1912
»Based in Tottenham
»Type: Nursery and primary
»No. of pupils: 450
The Devonshire Hill Nursery
and Primary School
Highlighting best practice
Matching our provision to our
We are passionate about countering
stereotypes, especially those levelled
at our local area. Visitors are
consistently surprised by the attitude
and success of our children, which
are driven by our school ethos and
our motto: “successful learners”.
We have very high expectations for
all of our children, underpinned
by our zero tolerance approach to
We have prioritised a focus on home
learning to enable the child’s learning
journey to continue beyond the school
day, and, through our home learning
process, all our pupils can access
carefully selected online learning tools
to support their independent learning.
A passport is issued to pupils every
half term and contains a number of
challenges, culminating in a project at
the end of each half term. These online
tools are essential for the development
of vocabulary and linguistic confidence.
For the last five years, our children
have been studying Mandarin and
Chinese culture more widely. As
a multilingual environment, we
chose this language to bring a new
culture into the school. The choice of
Mandarin also supports our focus on
the future, as the importance of this
skill will only grow. There has been
remarkable success, and many of our
children are now able to converse
confidently in Mandarin.
Our STEAM engine
One of our major focuses is our
“STEAM engine”: a specially designed
classroom that promotes science,
technology, engineering, arts and
maths. We have allocated huge
investment to develop this provision,
allowing our children to experiment
in a specially designed environment.
We have employed a STEAM expert
teacher, and this is a part of our school
that makes us trulyunique.
We focus on the learning journey of
the child, basing our provision on
building knowledge and developing
skills. We have created a fantastic
environment, with highly skilled
and motivated staff. Our provision
is enriched through a wide range of
stimulating learning experiences, which
include visits to museums and theatres.
Our wider curriculum is adapted to our
children’s’ needs at different stages
in their learning journey. In reception
and year 1, we focus on transitional
Children at work in the
STEAM engine
Practicing Chinese
The attitude
and success of
our children is
driven by our
school ethos
and our
support as our pupils move into the
next phase of their learning. This is
developed in year 2 as our children
work towards English and maths
mastery before accessing swimming
lessons and learning the ukulele in
year 3. In year 4, all of our children
learn a second instrument and begin to
prepare for university through working
alongside the Tottenham University
Project, supported by the University
of Oxford. This is supplemented
by working with the IntoUniversity
project. In year 5, the brightest
children from the poorest backgrounds
are given university-style tutorials by a
PhD lecturer from The Brilliant Club.
In year 6, all the children access a
residential trip to Pendarren House in
Wales, performing a variety of outdoor
education activities that many of them
have never experienced before.
A strong emphasis is on ensuring that
transition into secondary school is as
smooth as possible – something that is
particularly pertinent for children in our
local area. Data collected from pupils
in Haringey show that black Caribbean
children often perform very well in
primary school but struggle to replicate
this success in the secondary setting.
Transition is thus crucial, and we hold
a graduation ceremony, complete with
a year 6 prom, for all of our leaving
Continuing to develop
We are committed to teacher training
and developing the leaders of the
future. For the past six years, we
have worked closely with Teach First,
developing nine trainee teachers,
many of whom have since gone on
to assume leadership roles in other
schools. We also work with the
Schools Direct programme and are
currently working with our fourth
trainee. We strongly believe in
the importance of our continuing
professional development and
excellent pedagogical programme. In
order to drive our progress, we have
high-quality strategic leadership across
the school, supporting staff to deliver
our key aims. This has also led to high
levels of staff motivation.
With the introduction of the new
Ofsted framework, our main challenge
will likely be equipping pupils with
the knowledge and skills to address
the cultural capital challenges to
enable them to succeed in life. The
introduction of a forest school on site
will be unique for an inner-city school
like ours. We will strive to provide our
pupils with the same experiences that
their more-affluent peers enjoy, but
we are reliant on funding to support
this, something that is consistently
diminishing. We therefore have to
be creative to generate funds. For
example, we currently rent out our car
park and playgrounds on Tottenham
Hotspur event days as we are local to
the stadium.
Our ultimate aim is to gain an
“outstanding” grade at our next
Ofsted inspection; through creating a
more practical curriculum, tailored to
the needs and futures of our children,
we are hopeful we can achieve this.
Our provision
is enriched
through a
wide range of
which includes
visits to
museums and
Children experiencing
broadcasting via
Devonshire Hill Radio

This article was sponsored by The Devonshire Hill Nursery & 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 Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development