OfSTED judges Deer Park School ‘Outstanding’!

Deer Park School has received its first report from OfSTED, where inspectors found the school to be Outstanding in all assessed areas. Opened in 2015 by Bellevue Place Education Trust and still operating out of a temporary site, the report acknowledged an “ethos focused on enabling every child to succeed”, noting that “inclusion lies at the heart of this outstanding school”. Deer Park epitomises the BPET vision of extending opportunities for enrichment well beyond the classroom, with “pupils’ high levels of participation in the school’s very rich and extensive extra-curricular programme [demonstrating] the success of this strategy”.

Academic excellence is central, with “strong progress across the curriculum” and “above-average standards” repeatedly remarked upon. The report credits “pupils’ outstanding progress” to “consistently effective teaching which engages and challenges”, with teachers “[encouraging] pupils to make links between subjects”. An emphasis on creativity is evident with pupils supported to “develop their appreciation of the arts and music”. Comprehensive progress is made across a “wide range of highly stimulating learning activities”. This extensive approach to education fosters a genuine enjoyment of learning as pupils “take pride in their work and persevere”, motivated by a “thirst for knowledge and deeper understanding”. The expansive benefits of Deer Park’s educational offer are clear, with OfSTED again describing “the school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare” to be “outstanding”.

Engagement from parents surrounding the inspection was overwhelmingly positive, with 100% considering their child to be happy and safe; that the school is well led and managed; as well as claiming to recommend the school to other parents. The report quotes their appreciation of “the ‘strong bond’ between home and school”, citing that “they could not think of a better place to educate their child”. The broad sense of school community extends to the school’s governance and BPET, who the report credits as providing “excellent challenge and support”.

The Chief Executive of Bellevue Place Education Trust, Mark Greatrex commented on the inspection result:

“I have watched Deer Park grow from just 13 pupils and four members of staff to become a thriving, vibrant school. The work that has gone into establishing this school, and ensuring it is located in the area we intended, has been absolutely phenomenal. Deer Park’s success has come from a joint effort with the Local Authority, Department of Education, parents and an ‘exceptional’ Headteacher. It is fantastic to have OfSTED recognise the hard work and successes, celebrating a high quality education offer that nurtures our pupils into lifelong learners”.

Alison Colenso, the Headteacher at Deer Park, also spoke about the report:

“I am beyond proud of everything the Deer Park community has achieved since opening three years ago. We are absolutely delighted that the passion, belief and unstoppable drive to be excellent in everything we do has been recognised. Our little school – in a grey portacabin in the middle of a carpark – has always been outstanding and we intend to build on this validation; continue to serve the community; and provide an exceptional education for local children for decades to come.”

The school is currently accepting applications for Reception to Year 3, and will begin Year 4 from September 2019.

Below are a selection of our favourite quotes from the report:

“Children behave very well and develop a good degree of independence. They become confident, creative and persevering learners.”

“Pupils make exceptional progress across the curriculum due to consistently effective teaching.”

“Outstanding learning is the norm for every child […] No stone is left unturned in providing pupils with an outstanding education.”

You can read the full report by following the link – click here.

BPET Exciting Mixed-Use Development with Lidl

Bellevue Place Education Trust opened a Free School in September 2015 which became Richmond’s Deer Park School, with the express purpose of meeting the primary place needs for the East Twickenham/ St. Margaret’s area of the borough.

Finding a permanent location for the school has been challenging: like for many new schools in London, space is at a premium.  With the support and drive of the Local Authority, working closely with the Department for Education and BPET, an option was found in the right area, with an innovative proposal to develop space owned by Lidl, at a site called new Ryde House.

The planning permission application received unanimous approval from Richmond’s planning committee in April 2016 and building work began in July 2018, aiming for a 2019 opening for the school.

The success of the project has led to further confidence in mixed-use schemes.  Lidl has announced a series of developments set to benefit the local communities in which they open stores, leading with our partnership on the new Ryde House site for Deer Park School. The story has been picked up nationally by both The Guardian and Sky News, as well as a number of local and industry publications. It is great to see Deer Park’s new home named as the feature example for this innovative new model of ‘mixed development’. The same site that was formerly used as an office block will now meet the infrastructure needs of the community, providing a supermarket and a school that are both vitally required in the area.

This only occurs with the support of a wide range of groups – parents, local council, the Department for Education and commercial partners. This innovative model of development demonstrates mixed-use schemes with schools can be highly effective in meeting the needs of the local community.

Both national articles can be read by following the links below.

Guardian article – ‘Discount Grocer Lidl Plans to Build 3000 Homes and a School’

Sky News article – ‘Lidl Plans to Build More Than 3000 Homes to Cement Planning Permission for Stores’

Parental Survey Results 2018

Bellevue Place Education Trust places a huge emphasis on regular review and improvement, with input considered carefully from all of our key stakeholders – this is factored into the planning for the following academic year. The annual BPET Parental Surveys was sent out in May 2018 and yet again, there were very positive results received.

We are delighted to say that 93% of respondents would recommend a BPET school to their friends – a 1% increase on last year – this is worth celebrating.

Below are the Trust-wide totals of the parental responses to some key questions from the surveys across the seven schools:

  • 97% of parents and carers strongly agree or agree that their child enjoys coming to school
  • 93% ranked their response as highly likely or likely to recommend a Bellevue Place Education Trust School to their friends
  • 95% of parents and carers strongly agree or agree that their school’s values and attitudes have a positive effect on their child
  • 94% of parents and carers strongly agree or agree that their school develops their child’s independence and responsibility
  • 91% of parents and carers are satisfied with the leadership and management of their school

We also asked parents for testimonials that we could publically share. Quoted below are a selected favourite for each of our seven schools:

Braywick Court School is a fantastic school where we have seen our child grow so much in so many different ways. It is a wonderful environment for the children to learn, inside & out, giving them lots of opportunities. All of the staff are very warm and welcoming, making the children feel secure and extremely happy.

The school is magnificent, with a commitment to not only a fantastic education but that the children ENJOY and are able to flourish in the areas that work for them. From welly walks to singing concerts to comic club, every child has the opportunity to find something they love and I have never known kids more proud of their own school. The teachers and families of Deer Park have created something very special and we are so proud of everyone involved.

We have been excited to join a growing school with so much energy and talent around; Halley House is a vibrant community developing each year.

My child is extremely happy at Kilburn Grange and looks forward to going to school and learning every day. She has excelled in her reading and writing, and I am extremely proud of her progress. More people in Camden and Brent need to know about Kilburn Grange!

My children are thriving, confident little people who are being well-prepared for their future lives, to be ambitious, respectful and kind humans connected to the world and wanting to make a difference. One couldn’t really ask for more from Rutherford House.

Watling Park is a great school with a community environment and family feel. Children are happy, make great progress in their education and also as little people.

Whitehall Park School has a great mixture of high academic expectations, fun activities, core values and critical thinking.

Heather McKissack MBE Tribute

It is with huge sadness that we let you know of the passing of one of our truly wonderful Governors.

Heather McKissack MBE served as a Governor at Deer Park School from December 2016, with her main focus being on our Pupil Premium children. Heather’s appointment to the Governing Body truly embodied our mission to blend the best of the public education system with that of the state system having spent her career working towards bettering children’s outcomes in both sectors. We were so privileged to have had someone of Heather’s gravitas on our governing body.  Her outreach work stretched far and wide and she was awarded an MBE in 2016 for her dedication to building strong partnerships between schools from state and independent sectors. Heather will be very fondly remembered for her challenge (which was very fierce!), her humour and her wealth of knowledge and experience. She lived life to the very end and we are truly grateful for her contribution. We wouldn’t be where we are without her and will be creating a new ‘Heather garden’ in the permanent home of Deer Park School in her honour.

Whitehall Park teachers publish article in TES

Two teachers from Whitehall Park School have written an article on the necessity of teaching personal finance at KS1 in the digital age. The following article comes courtesy of  Jo Fynaut and Sarah Nash, and can be found on the Times Educational Supplement website by following the link at the bottom of this page.

‘Why we teach personal finance at KS1’

Teaching young children about money is crucial, say these primary teachers – but our curriculum needs an update

How to manage your finances is something that every one of our pupils will have to understand once they leave school. Yet this is a topic that is rarely properly tackled in schools, if it is tackled at all – particularly at primary level.

At our school, we place a particular focus on it, trying to help children to learn about money through play and tangible experiences. For our youngest pupils, we set up shops in class and encourage them to “buy and sell” classroom items. We expand this idea for Year 2, by giving them a £20 budget to design a stall at the summer fair.

Bringing a subject to life like this and making it tangible is a really effective pedagogical technique for key stage 1. However, the way that people use money is changing, and this is having an impact not just on how pupils understand it, but how we teach about it, too.

The national curriculum requires our pupils to understand two financial concepts: to “recognise and know the value of different denominations of coins and notes” and to “find different combinations of coins that equal the same amounts of money”. Currently, we are meeting these requirements with our KS1 teaching, but with the advent of contactless card payments and digital spending through iPads and smartphones, we are concerned that the curriculum is not going to be fit for purpose for much longer.

So, what are we doing to bridge the gap?

‘Digital money’

We have changed the way that we teach about money to make the focus much more digital and are incorporating apps and devices as much as we can into these lessons.

There are now a number of games that are based around teaching personal finance, which use the technology that children are already familiar with to educate them about digital currency. For example, Pigzbe uses cryptocurrency to introduce children to the concepts of digital money through saving, spending and playing with tokens.

Our “digital-native” pupils are adept at navigating apps and games, but this is also where the issue of digital money is often most problematic. We’ve heard many stories of parents checking their bank statements only to discover that their child has been spending money on games, unaware that pressing a button on an iPad is the same as handing over coins in a shop.

So, we discuss these issues with the children and use devices to replicate the physical play techniques that we have previously relied upon to engage pupils in the past.

Ultimately, the life skills that today’s primary school children will need are intrinsically linked to technology, and personal finance is no exception. The national curriculum might not have moved on yet, but that doesn’t mean that our teaching can’t. It is our job to provide children with the skills they will need to succeed in life and that means showing them that managing your money in the digital age takes more than just knowing how to count coins.

Jo Fynaut is a core leader and Sarah Nash is a Year 2 teacher at Whitehall Park School in Highgate, London.

You can read the original article by following the link: https://www.tes.com/news/why-we-teach-personal-finance-ks1 

School Improvement Review Cycle EYFS visits

Throughout April, EYFS visits have been taking place to all schools as part of our regular School Improvement Review Cycle. The purpose of these visits is to provide an overview and recommend any areas of improvement to the Early Years provision in our schools.These are led by Early Years experts from the Independent schools that we are linked with.

The visits consist of six key assessment areas, including; Attendance, Behaviour and Welfare analysis, pupil interviews around work and school experience, and reviews of progress against overarching appraisal targets.The full School Improvement Review Cycle consists of five visits to each school throughout the academic year, each with a separate focus in line with the Ofsted inspection criteria. The Review Cycle provides the Trust with an overview of the performance of each of our schools, as well as supporting Heads with their improvement strategies. These reviews are always linked to the underlying vision of the Trust and help us to verify best practice by evidencing the quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

Community Green Space Grant awarded to Rutherford House School

Rutherford House School has been successful in its application for a Community Green Space Grant from the London Mayor’s Greener City Fund. Sadiq Khan announced his ambition to create the world’s first ‘National Park City’, following a manifesto commitment to make London 50% green by 2050. With the emphasis that BPET schools place on activity and outdoor stimulation, we are beyond pleased with this result. Rutherford’s successful application for the project ‘Rutherford Goes Green – From Grey Playground to Green Oasis’ aims to convert the concrete playground to create new green space for use by the whole community. Volunteer action days and community workshops are planned to both establish and maintain the space, with up to three generations of local people working in regular collaboration. The school was awarded £10,000 to develop 60sqm of green space, including growing areas and wildlife, in which it will establish sustainable gardening and outdoor learning space. The project has been given an anticipated completion date of July 2019.

Trust-wide Thinking Schools training

Kilburn Grange School hosted a Trust-wide training session for ‘Thinking Schools Development: Philosophy for Children’, as we continue towards pursuing Thinking Schools accreditation across all seven BPET schools. Delivered by the former President of SAPERE (Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education), an education charity dedicated to the promotion of Philosophy for Children (P4C), the events took place over two days and involved Headteachers as well as Thinking Skills Leaders from schools across the Trust.

Philosophy for Children is a programme with a proven record for developing higher order thinking, questioning, speaking and listening skills. The Education Endowment Foundation and Durham University published a study showing that P4C raises student attainment in reading, writing and maths, with a special emphasis on improvements amongst disadvantaged pupils. It has subsequently been included in the EEF pupil premium toolkit. P4C arrived in the UK during the 1990s with the formation of SAPERE, who adapted the existing international programme to increase accessibility for teachers without a background in philosophy. Last November, Kilburn Grange also hosted the Thinking Schools International Conference, organised by Thinking Matters CEO Richard Cummins and bringing together Thinking Schools Leaders from across the country, including teachers from our own Rutherford House and Whitehall Park.

In April, Whitehall Park and Watling Park will also host a delegation from a number of Lithuanian schools. The BPET schools have been asked by Richard Cummins to demonstrate the effect of implementing a Thinking Schools approach and the positive impact it has had on our educational offering.

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