Achieving High-Quality and High-Achieving Primary Education


At the Raising Standards and Attainment in Education Across Northern England forum, a number of key topics that influence education are set to be discussed.

We are especially looking forward to hearing what Pauline Woods, Headteacher at Grange Park Primary School, has to say regarding achieving high-quality and high-achieving primary education. This is seen as being of vital importance to boosting attainment in the North and Pauline is expected to discuss several topics, some of which we have outlined below.

Thought-provoking approaches to education

The school in Sunderland, despite being in an area of high deprivation, has championed new methods and has consistently performed well above the national average in statutory tests. As a result, Grange Park supports schools all over the county, by providing training, as well as staff coaching and mentoring. The school’s latest Ofsted report for example, details how “the relentless way in which the headteacher and senior leaders pursue excellence and improvement has an extremely positive impact on pupils’ outcomes”. How this is all achieved will likely be discussed and those in attendance may discover new ways of approaching how education is delivered.

Using the McKie Mastery Teaching Toolkit to drive positive change

Grange Park is the home of the highly innovative and successful McKie Mastery Teaching Toolkit, a resource developed by teachers for teachers. It aims to drive positive change in primary and secondary schools across the UK and works to challenge the rhetoric that often associates areas of deprivation with educational failure. The school itself is a shining example of how this is not always the case.

Staff at the school lead the initiative that aims to ensure that children continue to thrive when learning, while also pushing the boundaries to encourage learning in a way that allows every child to better themselves. The school reports that using the McKie Mastery Teaching Toolkit affects real change in primary, secondary and special education. The concept of mastery learning involves the breaking down of learning content into manageable chunks, with each chunk having a set of learning objectives that must be met before moving on to new information.

Challenging the rhetoric around deprivation and education

Just before Christmas 2017, the Education Policy Institute reported that there was a widening geographical divide when it comes to accessing high-performing schools in the UK. It detailed that disadvantaged pupils in London were more likely to go to a good school than similarly deprived children in other areas of the country. The report focused solely on levels of progress among secondary school pupils and it highlights the need for both high quality and high achieving education at a national level. Again this challenges the notion that deprivation and educational failure go hand in hand, as pupils in disadvantaged areas have still made significant achievements.

Providing outstanding education to meet Ofsted criteria

Alongside the McKie Mastery programme, Pauline is also expected to detail how schools can ensure outstanding teaching that meets the criteria of Ofsted inspectors. In December, Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman said that disadvantage is not an excuse for low achievement and that she wants schools to focus on how they can overcome the challenges they face. Ofsted figures highlight that 90% of all primary schools and 79% of secondary schools are rated as good or outstanding, but as with most things, there is always room for improvement. How to deliver those improvements is expected to feature heavily during Pauline’s presentation.

Support for pupils receiving pupil premium funding

Pupil premium funding to help raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils of all abilities is widely available in the UK and it aims to close the gaps between those pupils and their peers. In order to ensure that these pupils progress at similar rates to their peers, Pauline is expected to address the need for focused support and may detail how it can impact on educational outcomes. 

Tradewind Recruitment exhibited at the Raising Standards and Attainment in Education Across Northern England forum on Tuesday 16 January.