Monthly Archives: October 2015

Educate Positive – Edition 9

Welcome to the ninth edition of Educate Positive, a monthly publication highlighting excellence in Bradford education and other topical news from across the district. In this edition we bring you the outcome of the Local Authority’s School Improvement Ofsted inspection; the proposed Bradford Education Covenant; Oakbank School’s success in the Good Schools Guide; and parents gaining skills to support their children’s learning at home, as well as other examples of achievement and good practice.

Bradford Council’s Ofsted report

Ofsted image

Bradford Council’s Children’s Services School Improvement service was inspected by Ofsted in June as part of its routine inspections of local authorities around the country.

In the published report Ofsted found evidence of a “step change” in Bradford Council’s approach. The report stated that the local authority had been too slow in driving improvement in the attainment, progress and attendance of pupils in the past, but it endorsed the Council’s renewed strategy and its school-led improvement plan. Ofsted identified a “cause for optimism” but it indicated that time will tell in terms of seeing the impact on results.

The Bradford Education Covenant

Bradford Council has proposed an Education Covenant as part of its strategy to deliver urgent and sustained educational improvements. The Bradford Education Covenant lists a set of pledges from the Council as well as a set of ‘asks’ of others – young people, parents, schools, businesses, the community and central government. The Covenant makes clear that education takes place inside and outside the school gates; it begins at birth and continues for life, so the improvement drive has to be a united effort from us all. Everyone in the district is invited to have their say on the Education Covenant, before it is finalised, by emailing

Oakbank highest performers

Consistently good teaching and recent exam results have seen Oakbank School in Keighley receive two awards from the Good Schools Guide for out-performing all other English schools in its category and for displaying excellent performance. One award is for the highest performing English comprehensive school for girls taking Design & Technology Product Design at A Level; the other is for the highest performing English comprehensive school for boys taking the Fitness Trainer Training at VRQ Level 1.

Literacy success

Literacy Hub photo
Bradford City player James Hanson and boxer Tasif Khan promote the importance of reading to children

More than 5,000 children and young people have so far been involved in the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford, which works in partnership with Bradford Council and other local partners to create long-term change where low levels of literacy are entrenched, intergenerational and seriously impacting on people’s lives. The initiative works with schools, public services, businesses, communities and cultural, faith and voluntary groups through the Bradford Literacy Campaign.

Local role models and celebrities have backed a host of campaigns. These include a book giveaway in City Park supported by Bradford Bulls, Yorkshire Cricket Club, Bradford City player James Hanson and boxer Tasif Khan (pictured above reading with a child in City Park) and fellow boxer Saira Tabusum. Tasif also visited a local school to talk about his favourite book to inspire teenage boys to read more. The Hub has also linked up with a hairdresser in Girlington who now encourages young people to read books aloud to him while they have their hair cut.

A key priority is to encourage men to be actively involved in their children’s literacy by working closely with a group of dads at sessions in children’s centres. A reading selfie competition was launched on Father’s Day featuring Bradford Bulls chief executive Robbie Hunter-Paul which featured in the Telegraph & Argus. 

The Bradford Hub also works to improve boys’ writing skills. Contemporary poetry workshops were delivered to more than 150 pupils and a ‘Love Keighley’ poetry competition was launched. The Hub built links between two madrassas and local schools resulting in children performing their pieces at the international Saif-ul-Malook festival in Bradford.

The Bradford Hub offers free support for every school in the district to develop outstanding literacy provision through the National Literacy Trust Network. The National Literacy Trust’s Premier League Reading Stars Programme (PLRS), which uses the motivational power of football to inspire children, particularly boys, to enjoy books, was rolled out in 26 schools. All boys who participated in the PLRS programme made more than expected improvement in reading, with three boys making the equivalent of a year’s progress or more after completing the ten sessions.

To find out more about the National Literacy Trust Hub in Bradford and get involved, contact Bradford Hub Manager Imran Hafeez on 01274 385681 or or visit

“Yorkshire Greats” Elections at Immanuel

ben parkinsonStaff and students at Immanuel College took part in their own election to vote for the greatest Yorkshire person, as opposed to a political candidate. Pupils had to research the “great” they were voting for, which increased their own knowledge while also learning the process of an election. The school set up a polling station in its library.

The overall winner was Ben Parkinson, the paratrooper who has been recovering from his deep wounds after being badly injured by a huge anti-tank mine. The Bishop of Bradford, the Reverend Dr Toby Howarth, announced the winners. In second place was Bradford’s own magician Dynamo, and in third place was pop star Ed Sheeran.

Pupils graduate from Nursery

Westbourne graduationPupils at Westbourne Nursery had their first experience of transition and achievement at a very early age when they “graduated” at the end of the summer term.

There were two ceremonies, one for the pupils who attend nursery in the mornings and the other for the afternoon children, for those pupils who will be starting Reception in September. They all received a graduation certificate and wore mortar boards and sashes in the school colours. Proud parents and carers made up the audience. The next cohort of Nursery pupils is now settling in well to school life at Westbourne.

For further information contact Belinda Wardle, Headteacher, 01274 483138.

Engaging families accreditation for two schools

Families whose children attend St Matthew’s CE Primary School have benefited from the school’s “open door” practice which led to the school achieving the Engaging Families Award.

Saltaire Primary School is also celebrating the same accreditation. In a glowing report the inspectors spoke of the development of greater understanding between different learning communities, saying: “There is a focus on establishing a family friendly ethos, building respectful trusting relationships and providing a caring and nurturing environment.“

St Matthew’s has provided a wide range of workshops, meetings and more academic courses which help parents to support their children as they progress through school. Courses included Family Life, Life Education, Keep Fit, Oral Health, Pilates, Cook and Eat and E-safety.

The active Parents’ Forum also gives parents the opportunity to have direct influence in the school.

For further information please contact Bob Curran, Headteacher at St Matthew’s on 01274 731693, or Sally Stoker, Headteacher at Saltaire Primary School on 01274 584093.

UKAR Work Experience

Thirteen students from four of our schools have gained valuable employability and enterprise skills thanks to the work experience programme hosted by UKAR (UK Asset Resolution Limited). The students involved were from Holy Family Catholic College, Buttershaw Business & Enterprise College, Queensbury School and Carlton Bolling College. UKAR continues to make a contribution to youth employment in partnership with Xperience and Connexions.

The students spent a week in different departments within UKAR to gain greater insight into the business as a whole and gain office environment experience. They also learned about apprenticeship schemes and the career routes available.

For further information contact Catherine Halliwell, Lead Placement Officer for Bradford Council, 01274 385834.

Family Learning Accreditation

Family Learning Edition 9A number of parents of pupils from schools across the district are better placed to support their children’s learning and development at home thanks to the Family Learning courses the parents have attended.

The Functional Skills English qualification is separated into three categories: Reading, Writing and Speaking & Listening. In the academic year 2014-2015 a total of 235 of these units were achieved by parents and carers. Some chose to do one or two of the three available categories. There were 48 who chose to do the full qualification which covered all three elements.

Family Learning supports parents and carers to develop not only their own skills in maths and English but also skills which support their children’s learning. Pictured are parents from Allerton Children’s Centre.

For further information please contact Vicky Clifton, Bradford Council’s Family Learning Curriculum and Qualifications Officer, T 01274 385938.

Take the opportunity to share your best practice and recent achievements – to submit an item for publication please contact The Education Communications Team T 01274 385615 or email: