Yeading Infant & Nursery School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Yeading Infant & Nursery 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 Yeading Infant & Nursery 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 Rupinder Ahluwalia
Managing risk and
developing independence
as children play on our
purpose built climbing wall
Yeading Infant and Nursery School supplement their
specially designed curriculum with a variety of alternative
learning techniques, including outdoor teaching and
wellbeing support. As the majority of their nursery pupils come
to the school with attainment below national expectations and
English as an additional language, they have focused on phonic
screening, a tactic that has seen marked results. Headteacher
Rupinder Ahluwalia discusses these innovative techniques, their
recent “outstanding” grading from Ofsted and how they have
engaged with parents.
We have always strived to provide our children with a plethora of expedient
opportunities that far surpass the four years they spend with us. Situated in West
London in a challenging socioeconomic area, with over 95 per cent of our children
speaking English as an additional language, it has been a principal aim to ensure
that our curriculum is empowering, engaging, ambitious and sustainable. This is
aptly reflected in our school vision: “Everyone is valued and encouraged to grow
and exceed beyond their expectations.”
From little acorns do strong oaks grow
Our children begin school in nursery with attainment far below national
expectations in prime and specific areas. Teachers in the early years work tirelessly
to support the building of strong relationships with children and parents, forming
a bedrock from which attainment can flourish. Given our school demographic, the
early acquisition of language is imperative to children’s rapid progress. A number of
Rupinder Ahluwalia
»Deputy: Sabah Malik
»Established in 1930
»Based in Yeading
»Type: Infant and nursery
»No. of pupils: 480
Yeading Infant and
Nursery School
Highlighting best practice
resources supporting this vital learning
are employed not only in the early
years but also beyond into Key Stage
1. Our focus on communication and
language is well placed, evidenced
by our comparative assessments of
baseline attainment and end of year
Our school curriculum is based around
a coherent progression of objectives,
with depth of learning rooted at its
very core, and a clear set of outcomes
to support our children’s success. We
are exceedingly proud of our phonics
screening results over the last three
years, which show a consistent level
of achievement and currently stand at
94 per cent. Key Stage 1 results are
consistently above national and local
authority averages in reading, writing
and maths. Despite positive results, our
ethos remains focused on fostering the
complete development of each child
who attends our school. As a four-
form entry school, this is no mean feat.
Don’t just teach how to count
– teach what counts most
Our children’s buoyancy of spirit and
their tenacity to acquire knowledge
are nurtured by relevant learning
opportunities. It is therefore imperative
that our curriculum lends itself to the
innate curiosity that children possess.
Whether they are showing solidarity
to other children who cannot go to
school in their philosophy lessons
as part of the global WE Are Silent
campaign or writing diary entries as
Rosa Parks as she campaigned for race
and gender equality, our children’s
budding moral sense of duty is ever
apparent around the school. This
transferable knowledge is used by
staff when designing their learning
We are fortunate to have the space
for the development of a rich outdoor
learning environment, supported
by a well-established forest school
programme, which begins in nursery
and leads through to year 2. Four
designated Level 3 qualified forest
school leaders lead a comprehensive
programme placing communication
and language at its heart. Children
experience the outdoors in its entirety;
they learn about science, maths and
the humanities, but they also learn
about themselves.
Through a safe and supportive
environment, they learn to use the
five R’s: resilience, resourcefulness,
responsibility, reasoning and
reflectivity. We teach our children
about the importance of their own
wellbeing and, through our use of
a social communication, emotional
regulation and transactional support
programme, how they can maintain a
happy outlook.
Staff understand the importance of
the curriculum as an ecosystem where
different subjects, knowledge and
skills are not insular but transcend
subjects and classroom contexts. A key
construct in our whole school ethos is
that children are just as likely to learn
in the classroom as they are on the
playground, in the forest school area,
in an afterschool club or simply during
lunchtime. Our provision encompasses
a plentiful array of activities. Children
enjoy cooking healthy pizzas, jacket
potatoes or garlic bread in our
Our school
curriculum is
based around
a coherent
progression of
with depth of
rooted at its
very core
Opportunities for
deeper application of
knowledge and skills for
children in a variety of
exciting wider contexts
Gruffalo Cob oven; sampling open-
fire cooking in the discovery garden;
visiting Windsor Castle; or using their
entrepreneurial skills in our purpose-
built YINS café in the playground. Even
our school’s “play rangers” extend
the children’s exploratory play through
“adventurous engineering” using our
forest school area.
Challenging our limits
As with embedding any initiative, there
has been no shortage of challenges.
Rising mobility across the school means
we do not retain a stable cohort of
children from nursery to year 2: a
natural consequence of living in such
close proximity to Heathrow. This
flux has meant a need to include a
responsive element in our curriculum.
Interventions are time limited and
address language needs. An early
identification system supports children
with a range of complex needs,
including social communication. Parent
literacy levels also vary; to manage the
impact, we have a broad programme
of support for engaging parents,
including a positive parenting course,
interactive workshops for sharing
strategies, open days and weekly soft
start sessions. During these sessions,
parents are invited to learn crucial
strategies to support their children
in English and maths. Our provision
also encourages parents to volunteer
in class, and we have many success
stories of parents returning to work.
The new Ofsted framework launching
in September 2019 will bring more
changes to the educational landscape.
A shift to include the key performance
indicator “quality of education” will
feature in the framework, which is
pleasing, as we believe it to be a
nucleic aspect to the work we do every
day. Other implications of the new
framework require more reflection as
we wait to see how they will impact
our daily systems and operation.
We are extremely proud of the journey
we made to become an “outstanding”
school but there is so much we would
like our children to experience in a
wholesome way, and having the time
to fit everything in requires a strategic
and resourceful plan. We also now feel
well placed to make our application for
the Learning Outside of the Classroom
Gold Award, ever mindful of the
far-reaching impact of building links
with colleagues in other schools and
Above all, we want our children to be
ready for life; certainly, a curriculum
that provides an opportunity for
our children to dip their feet in an
ocean of knowledge will allow them
to swim to the outermost limits of
We are
proud of the
journey we
made to
become an
Enrichment and
enjoyment as children
make pizza in our school
cob oven

This article was sponsored by Yeading Infant & Nursery 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 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