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 Jubilee Academy is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
The Jubilee Academy
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP
1THE JUBILEE ACADEMY |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
Headteacher Dr Michael Jarrett
Media lesson in our Design
The Jubilee Academy’s headteacher, Dr Michael Jarrett, has
taken on the task of improving outcomes for pupils who
have become disengaged. The academy is an alternative
free school which has a strong and prevailing ethos of getting
people back on track, principally by delivering high-quality
education to students in a safe, structured and stimulating
environment. Objective metrics reveal that this endeavour has
been a success, with many children making the equivalent of
up to two years’ more progress than predicted. Data plays an
integral role in measuring success and meeting targets, and
their motto of “Aspire and Achieve” motivates the children to
succeed. Michael tells
The Parliamentary Review
more about the
school’s upward journey.
We are an alternative free school whose goal is to help get children who have fallen
off trajectory back on track – such as students who have disengaged to a very large
extent or have perilously low attendance. Our job is both simple and hard: ensure
these children are not left behind. This means accelerating their progress through
constructive and practical steps. Part of this effort requires removing barriers to
learning – something we have demonstrably excelled at.
Driving standards through enhanced pedagogy
The children who attend our school are from a wide variety of backgrounds,
and each one is an individual with their own set of needs. We must therefore
THE JUBILEE ACADEMY
»Headteacher: Dr Michael Jarrett
»Founded in 2013
»Located in Harrow
»Type of school: Alternative
»No. of pupils: 115
»100 per cent of their 16-year-
olds go on to higher education
or work placements
The Jubilee Academy
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
2| THE JUBILEE ACADEMY
closely cater our approaches for each
child, especially those with complex
educational needs, and we often do
this through the use of data. Ofsted,
for example, reported on our sensible
use of data to drive improvements in
attainment and outcomes. Another
way in which we remove barriers
to learning is through a range of
agencies – some of which we work in
partnership with – who can provide
closer, more tailored support.
The curriculum itself is particularly
broad and is therefore suitable for
a similarly broad range of people.
The overarching focus, however, is
on raising standards and holding
children accountable. This empowers
them not just in their school life but
in life more generally. More than this,
though, it gives them the best-possible
education and the best chances in life
– something that has been denied to
them before they enter our school.
Internal attendance upon their arrival
can also be a significant issue, so we
had to put in place the right support
and procedures, which eventually
resulted in attendance hovering
roughly in line with the national
average. The results of these efforts
are plain to see: our attainment levels
are outstanding. Our pupils are also
above the national average in terms
of their Progress 8 score and their
rate of EBacc completion, as well as in
maths and English. When compared
with similar forms of provision in the
country, we exceed them.
Teaching, not surprisingly, has been a
crucial component in our success. This
is largely because we’ve taken special
care to make sure all teaching staff
share our school culture and vision. We
also check to see if they are sufficiently
well versed in pedagogy and in their
subject content area. The ambitious
targets we have set ourselves have to
be met, and they can only be met with
the help of outstanding teachers.
The importance of an
One of the keys to success is an ethos
that permeates all aspects of school
culture. For us, this is embodied in the
motto “Aspire and Achieve”. This is
especially important in a school such
as ours, as a lot of our pupils come
into the school demotivated and with
low aspirations. Indeed, it is our first
and primary task to raise expectations
for these children and to inspire them.
We want them to know that an entire
world of opportunities awaits them.
broad and is
suitable for a
3THE JUBILEE ACADEMY |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
We promote this in every way we can:
through assemblies, through class,
through the curriculum, and so forth.
Among our teaching staff are learning
champions, who play an active role
in promoting this system of values –
something made easier by the fact
that our classes contain a maximum of
Moving forward with
We’re a spirited and confident school
now, but there were initial challenges
we needed to confront. One was
recruitment, as we knew that our
vision could only be realised with the
right kind of teachers. Another difficult
challenge – one that we regularly had
to contend with – was image. As an
alternative provision, not everyone was
convinced at first that we could deliver.
It was our job to prove this view
wrong. This was achieved primarily by
letting the results speak for themselves.
It was an uphill battle at first, but now
the number of people who doubt our
approach is much smaller. This goes to
show that face-value judgements are
not always accurate.
Because of our success, we are
receiving a lot of interest from many
corners, and funding opportunities are
steadily increasing. This is why we now
have a new state-of-the-art facility
and generous per-pupil funding.
And we don’t plan on stopping
there: development and expansion
continue, and we’re currently engaged
in an outreach effort where we visit
mainstream schools who might have
children who could benefit from
provision of the kind that we offer.
We’ve already seen considerable
success in this area.
The extent to which we’ve got our
pupils back on track and the improved
reputation we’re now enjoying give us
every reason to be optimistic for the
future – the future, that is, of both the
school and the children.
It is our first and
primary task to
for these children
and to inspire
GCSE English Language
The Rt Hon Professor The Lord Blunkett's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
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.