Timberley Academy

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


Highlighting best practice
Maggie Rose, principal
Pupils in the school’s
physics lab
Timberley Academy is a large primary school situated in
one of the most deprived areas of Birmingham. A high
percentage of pupils receive pupil premium funding,
and there is an above-average percentage of pupils with
special educational needs (SEN) and physical and cognitive
difficulties. The school prides itself on not only serving the
needs of all pupils in an environment that is opportunity-
rich, but also on serving the sometimes-complex needs of
the local community. Principal and local leader of education
Maggie Rose, who has been in the position of principal since
2007, details how the school has adapted over time to meet
changes in national standards and promote inclusivity for its
growing population.
Since taking on the headship more than ten years ago, I have made it my aim
to produce effective change. One such change was to develop an innovative,
exciting curriculum, matched to pupils’ needs, which would produce excellent
results. I wanted the school to be an example of good practice for inclusivity,
where children can be successful regardless of their backgrounds or starting
points. I wanted all pupils to feel valued every day they came to school. I also
felt it was important to seek external validation through the pursuit of awards
and rigorous monitoring from external agencies and trustees. The school has
gone from strength to strength in the past decade, changing from a school with
falling numbers, poor reputation and talk of closure to a popular, full, three-form-
»Principal: Maggie Rose
»Founded in 1952
»Based in Shard End,
»Type of school: Standalone
academy serving nursery and
primary school age range
»No. of pupils: 696 with
27-place resource base for
physical difficulties and
medical conditions
»No. of staff: 139
»Ofsted: “Good”, 2014
»Pupil premium: 63 per cent
Timberley Academy
A change in approach
The new SATs in 2016 were a huge
challenge for our year 6 pupils and this
resulted in the school falling below
the floor target. Action needed to be
taken, and this began immediately. The
school had already made substantial
changes to meet the demands of the
new curriculum, but these changes had
not had time to make their full impact
on our pupils in upper Key Stage 2.
Therefore, a different approach was
needed in order to meet expected
We changed the design of the
curriculum in upper Key Stage 2, with
teachers teaching to their strengths
in more frequent and concise lessons.
Carefully targeted, daily interventions
were put into place to ensure all pupils
were able to access the curriculum
and achieve their goals. The school
had held pupil progress meetings for
many years, during which the senior
leadership team met with year group
staff, along with the SEN team, to
discuss progress, set targets and review
the success of interventions. These
meetings have continued. The trust
board has developed its Curriculum,
Assessment and Standards Committee
and met with the senior leadership
team each half-term to rigorously
monitor pupil progress and hold me to
account for current standards. Because
of these changes, along with many
other initiatives over time, Key Stage
2 SATs improved dramatically. Now
84 per cent of our children achieve
age-related expectations for maths, 87
per cent for reading and 80 per cent
for writing. All of this combines to put
the school in the top 20 per cent for
reading and maths nationally.
The Timberley ethos
Achieving academic success is
Timberley Academy’s key aim.
Developing the “whole child” has,
however, always been at the heart
of what we do. This is not purely
due to good teaching and rigorous
monitoring and intervention but is
thanks to the fundamental values
instilled in all our staff and pupils and
the opportunities we offer from the
very outset of each child’s time at
Timberley Academy.
Children have access
to the school’s farm for
curriculum, mentoring,
counselling and
the “whole
child” has
always been
at the heart of
what we do at
Highlighting best practice
We pride ourselves on offering a
diverse and rich curriculum and having
a vast range of resources and facilities
on-site to provide this. These include
our Forest School farm – containing
goats, alpacas, pigs, chickens and
numerous small mammals – an
allotment, separate rooms for art,
music and cookery, “Phiz Lab” – our
dedicated science lab, very rare in a
primary school – sensory room and a
brand-new sports hall. Year groups
teach exciting topics each half-term,
with these ranging from “Temples,
Tombs and Treasures” to “Living
Outside of the school day is also a time
when we like to take full advantage
of any opportunity to learn. School
provides a free “breakfast club” each
morning from 8am, during which
time activities and tuition are run. All
children are then invited to begin the
school day early in order to carry out
maths challenges in their classrooms.
We run lunchtime clubs and nearly 40
different after-school clubs, ranging
from drama to badminton, archery,
fencing and cookery. Pupils are
rewarded for time spent in these clubs
with an annual graduation event. We
also offer residential visits from year
2 up to year 6, gradually increasing
the number of days away and the
level of challenge involved, including a
writing residential for year 6 pupils that
involves a week in Devon with authors
Christopher William Hill and Malachy
Doyle and poet Jen Hadfield.
We aim to include parents in as much
of what we do as possible, seeing
ourselves as a hub for the greater
Birmingham community. We offer
“stay and play” sessions four mornings
a week and academic workshops, such
as the science workshops run by The
Ogden Trust. We also run fitness clubs
and health and safety sessions covering
topics such as alcohol awareness,
which promote responsible living.
A fully inclusive school
As previously mentioned, we do
our best at Timberley to promote
inclusivity. The school has a 27-place
resource base for pupils with physical
and frequently cognitive needs. These
pupils are taught alongside their
mainstream peers in an atmosphere
of collaboration and care. It is unlikely
that most of these pupils will meet their
age-related expectations; however, we
feel immense satisfaction when we are
able to witness the often momentous
progress they do make, including first
steps, first sentences and first goals
scored in competitive sport. It is the
opportunities we provide for these
pupils, along with those for all children
with special educational needs and
disabilities at Timberley, that means
they consistently make more progress
than any other group in theschool.
Moving forward
As always with education, we are
constantly moving forward, forever
looking for new initiatives and ways to
improve our provision. There is never
a day at Timberley Academy when
something doesn’t surprise, inspire or
challenge me, but then that is what
makes the school, and the job of
running it, so special.
There is never
aday at
Academy when
surprise, inspire
or challenge
The school prides itself
on the opportunities
given to pupils in
its resource base
particularly in PE


This article was sponsored by Timberley 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 Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister