West Lodge Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by West Lodge 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 West Lodge 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


Highlighting best practice
Celebrating the opening of
our Celtic roundhouse with
a History Day!
A love of reading
West Lodge Primary School is an inclusive, diverse and
high-achieving school in Harrow. Head teacher Jim
Dees explains that at West Lodge Primary School
the vision is that each child finds the spark within them, which
continues to grow, igniting the spark in others. This all starts
with understanding and acceptance. This inspirational vision
embodies the commitment to an ethos of inclusion and high
expectations at West Lodge Primary.
A rich, broad curriculum built on an excellent foundation in reading, writing and
mathematics and with a focus on developing a positive learning culture has helped
the school maintain high standards over a long period of time. We believe that it is
imperative to provide pupils with a wide range of experiences to ensure that each
child finds their spark. This rich provision helps to foster creativity, build resilience
and enable children to become responsible citizens.
We have a strong active learning culture that permeates to all stakeholders in
the school. Our journey is one of continuous improvement and we are constantly
reflecting, reviewing and developing our practice. This mindset ensures that changes
are incremental as we work hard to maintain high-quality education for all pupils.
Inclusive ethos
West Lodge has gained a positive reputation for working successfully with SEND
pupils. We have over thirty children with an education, health and care plan – three
times the national average for a mainstream primary school. In 2015 we opened
Kaleidoscope, a specialist resourced provision for pupils on the autistic spectrum.
»Head teacher: Jim Dees
»Founded in 1954, but became
West Lodge Primary School in
2010 after the amalgamation
of West Lodge First and
Middle Schools
»Based in Pinner, Harrow
»No. of pupils: 648
»No. of staff: 104
»EAL: 65 per cent
»EHCP: 4.9 per cent
»On site autism resource
»Ofsted: “Outstanding”
West Lodge Primary
Kaleidoscope has gained an excellent
reputation and enables us to provide
appropriate support for pupils with
autism and a foundation for these
pupils to access mainstream. Over
the last three years we have built our
internal capacity and were appointed
a learning hub for autism and we now
provide training for teachers from
other local schools.
West Lodge is proud to be an inclusive
school which strives to meet the needs
of all our pupils – we believe every
child has the capacity to exceed their
expectations and we are proud of the
progress our pupils make. Monitoring
the progress of all pupils allows us to
identify needs, which in turn informs
our provision. By working closely with
outside agencies and families of children
with additional needs we ensure that
children are well supported. In addition,
the school has worked hard to become
“attachment aware” – providing
training for staff and drop-in sessions
for parents to build understanding of
attachment issues. As an outward-
looking school we work collaboratively
with other schools and external
agencies which enables us to share
good practice and continue developing.
Positive learning culture
Our school lays the foundations for
a life-long learning journey which
provides students with the tools to
live happy, fulfilling and successful
lives. Over the last five years we have
worked hard with staff, parents and
pupils to embed a culture of challenge
– rooted in the work of Carol Dweck
and the understanding of what it
means to foster a growth mindset.
Rather than being viewed as a miracle
cure it has meant we are on our own
continuous learning journey. Our
curriculum and learning experiences
are created with the aim of building
autonomy for pupils and emphasising
that success is achieved through
personal effort, a willingness to try
new things and by embracing and
persisting through challenges.
Learning is carefully differentiated and
pupils are encouraged to choose their
level of challenge. Over time and with
careful guidance pupils have become
more adept at making good learning
This approach to developing a culture
of taking risks, enjoying challenge and
developing creativity has been extended
to how we approach lunchtime at West
Lodge. Working with OPAL (Outdoor
Play & Learning) and Recipe for Change
we have transformed both the outdoor
and indoor experiences for pupils. As
an OPAL Platinum Award school we
have enhanced pupils’ outdoor play
using pallets, cable drums, fabric, old
computer keyboards, table tops and
more. Pupils’ experience at lunchtime is
now filled with creativity and risk taking.
A Lego zone session in
Practical learning
Our curriculum
aims to provide
a range of
opportunities to
meet the varied
needs of all
learners and
give every child
the best possible
chance of
finding their
‘song’, their
‘element’, their
Highlighting best practice
Recipe for Change has guided
our improvements to the indoor
lunchtime experience for children.
A transformation has occurred with
the organisation of pupils into family
groups and pre-arranged sittings.
Pupils now enjoy a positive social
experience in the dining room with a
focus on creating an environment that
resembles a restaurant, not a canteen.
As part of this journey we have worked
hard to embed a strong culture of
learning amongst staff which has been
facilitated by embarking on a journey
of developing Lesson Study as a vehicle
for professional development. Staff
collaborate on key areas of action
research, which involves developing
research themes, engaging in peer
observation and participating in
structured learning conversations.
This can lead to small incremental
tweaks to improve practice, while
our approach to staff appraisal has
changed so there is a greater emphasis
on performance development as
opposed to performance management.
Enriched curriculum
Our pupils are offered a curriculum
that is broad, balanced, exciting and
creative. Teaching staff are flexible,
innovative and reflective in their
approach to teaching, which ensures
pupils are given the opportunity to
maximise their full potential.
We used the opportunity of the new
curriculum in 2014 to review our
provision – we wanted to ensure
that our curriculum matched our
context – and curriculum topics have
been chosen to reflect our locality.
For example The Rise of Metroland
is a topic that begins with a study of
Victorian London but moves into the
growth of the Metropolitan line during
the subsequent century.
Our pupils are challenged in fun and
exciting ways through a curriculum
that offers real-life and purposeful
learning opportunities, first-hand
experiences and regular opportunities
to learn outside the classroom via a
range of educational visits, curriculum
workshops and residential trips. We
recently built a Celtic roundhouse in
our grounds and developed our own
forest space alongside.
In addition, we maintain a strong
emphasis on PE, sport and the creative
arts. We were in the first round of
schools to achieve the School Games
Platinum Award – only 103 schools
nationally have achieved this. Pupils
have performance opportunities within
each academic year as well as a range
of opportunities to learn a musical
instrument, join the school choir or
take part in the school orchestra.
Final thoughts
Our vision drives everything we do.
We are tenacious, determined and
passionate about providing a range
of opportunities for students – so
each child can find their “spark”.
Our inclusivity is important to us, as
is continuing to embed our culture of
learning. Viewing this culture across
the whole community – pupils, staff,
parents, governors and external
agencies – is crucial to our ongoing
success as a school.
aims to spark
a love of
learning in all
and to ignite
the fire so that
become active
Creative outdoor play
– the children made a
see-saw using a pallet
balancing on a tyre


This article was sponsored by West Lodge 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 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