The Greetland Academy

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The Greetland Academy'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 Greetland Academy 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

The academy’s two sites, Key
Stage 2 (top) and Key Stage 1
(bottom), almost a mile apart
Amanda Bennett, CEO and Executive
Principal with the trust’s MAT
principals and senior administrators,
plus leaders of the teaching school,
SCITT and research school
In the last five years, The Greetland Academy has grown from
successfully serving its local village to becoming a designated
research school and leading both a multi-academy trust and
a teaching school alliance. It has also become a school-centred
initial teacher training centre and an English hub school.
Executive Principal and Teaching School Council Representative
for Lancashire and West Yorkshire Amanda Bennett describes
the drivers behind moving an “outstanding” school forward in
this way, and the factors that enable it to participate in both
regional and national developments.
A vision for all
When a visitor enters a school, every impression made should develop and reinforce
the purpose of that community of staff and pupils. I am proud that our vision
statement is aspirational, current and ongoing:
The Greetland Academy strives to always provide an inspirational, positive
and welcoming environment where there is a sense of pride and fun
and where everyone works together with confidence, enthusiasm and
mutual respect. We aim to nurture academic, personal, spiritual and social
development in a caring and professional manner so that all achieve their
full potential and all can reach great heights.”
“All” is an important concept. During my first decade at Greetland, this could be
seen as primarily referring to our pupils; over the second decade, it came to include
staff as well. Now, in more recent years, I feel it has gone even further to include all
»CEO and Executive Principal:
Amanda Bennett, national TSC
representative for Lancashire
and West Yorkshire
»Principal: Helen Crowther
»Founded in 1899
»Second site opened in 1976
»Based near Halifax, West
»Type of school: Two-form-
entry primary academy
»No. of pupils: 420, aged 4 to
»Ofsted: “Outstanding”
»National support school
»Teaching school
»Research school
»English hub school
The Greetland
Highlighting best practice
Thank you for
lending us your
children for
seven years.
This is a
we take very
preparing them
for the next
stages of their
education and
future life
Past Chair of Governors
Norman Kemp
of the external bodies and individuals
we now have the good fortune to
work with.
The consideration of all stakeholders
has become increasingly key to the
changes we have made. We are
constantly asking ourselves what we
could improve, and who changes will
benefit or affect. We want everyone
involved to be engaged in the most
positive way possible. Change is all
around us; to sit back and not take
account of it for all members of the
community would be to fail in our
vision for all.
Managed development,
leadership and staffing
The importance of good governance
cannot be underestimated. We have
been very fortunate to have had strong,
effective and challenging governing
bodies for many years. Recent
longstanding chairs of governors
have been clear in their priorities to
build a school on solid foundations.
This oversight has clearly directed the
delegation of financial, staffing and
curricular management, recognising
the needs of the academy to move
forward. We responded to such a
need with the appointment of Helen
Crowther as principal in 2018; focusing
on and developing the leadership of
the academy has permitted the further
development of the CEO role.
The academy has attracted, recruited
and retained gifted and committed
staff for over 40 years. Numerous
ex-pupils and students from our SCITT
programme have become academy
teachers; they always feel positively
about returning and in recent years
have been keen to take advantage of
the growing number of external links
we have.
Returning to the theme of “all” as a
concept, it must be mentioned that
our successful staff teams are a much
wider group than just our teachers.
We recognise and celebrate the work
of over 100 members of our MAT
staff; each role exists for a reason, and
without the whole team we could not
function effectively. A good example
would be the work of our catering
team, who maintain a high pupil
meal uptake and provide dinners to
The importance of community
and communication
Children learn best when there are
strong links between home and
school, and our parents have always
been keen to support their children’s
development by becoming involved
with school life. Historically, the
community showed its commitment
to the school in the 1970s, when
it successfully lobbied for a nearby
new site development to become an
extension to Greetland Primary School,
now our Key Stage 1 site.
Our PTA group, the Friends of
Greetland School, have also been
active since the 1970s. They have
worked closely with successive
headteachers and principals to offer
our pupils additional resources
and opportunities. Parents are key
stakeholders in the life of any school;
I believe that their aspirations, issues
and concerns need to be addressed
positively when it comes to any
development a school makes.
Solid curricular
foundations – reception
phonics learning
We communicate with parents through
letters, newsletters, curriculum guides
and other electronic communications;
each sent out as necessary to different
audiences. Our recent launch of
“Seesaw”, an online teacher-to-
parents progress reporting system, has
proven to be very successful, alongside
one of the most popular primary
school Facebook pages in the country.
We believe that the best people to deal
with any parental concerns are class
teachers, given their familiarity with
the child in question, and in addition
to scheduled meetings we encourage
open and constructive dialogue at the
end of the school day.
Children and parents appreciate
the lengths that staff go to when it
comes to ensuring that all children
feel positive about and fully included
in academy life. Activities and
opportunities are planned so that all
can participate and achieve their full
potential, often through the confidence
to fail and try again. Our residential
trips are carefully planned to similarly
develop independence and resilience;
our year 6 pupils undertake theirs at
the beginning of the academic year to
effectively develop positive relationships
and trust for both children and staff.
Innovation and working with
the wider world
Following our becoming the first primary
academy in Yorkshire and the Humber
in 2011, we have made the most of
our freedom to make our own financial
and curricular decisions. In recent years,
we have steadily developed our own
personnel, and by attracting additional
funding streams employed additional
staff to manage our TSA, SCITT and
MAT alongside our status as a research
school and an English hub.
When applying for additional
designations, the input of our Head
of Research School Dr Jo Pearson has
been key. Working closely with the
EEF, research-informed decision making
has led us to pursue the “best bets” for
greatest school improvement impact.
A recurring challenge has been the
often unavoidable delay between new
project acceptance and receiving due
funding. Continued progress has been
made possible by having a sufficiently
well-qualified academy bursar and
business manager – now our MAT’s
CFO and COO. Such system leadership
has enabled the necessary forward
planning and change management
to successfully implement new
developments. To meet fresh
commitments, we have always planned
to respond securely, continuing to
build upon our solid foundations.
A future for all
Over two decades of strong governance,
leadership and planning have ensured
that our MAT school principals and
their respective teams are now in the
best position to develop their schools
and serve their communities, to best
serve our growing number of external
stakeholders and to meet that crucial
final line of our vision:
All achieve their full potential
and all can reach great heights.”
The academy is proud of
the success of its SCITT
students; several have
gone on to teach there
Our early
adoption of
academy status
and all
have been driven
by our desire and
preference to be
at the forefront
of the academic
landscape and to
lead change
CEO and Executive
Principal, Amanda

This article was sponsored by The Greetland Academy. 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