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Educate Positive – end of term edition

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Welcome to the eighth edition of Educate Positive. Here we bring you news of a Bradford student who has won a scholarship to the International Science Summer School in Australia; children in the Early Years Foundation Stage learning to use technology effectively; and how pupils are having their voices heard. Read on for all that and more…

STEM success for Bradford student

Titus Salt
Titus Salt sixth form student Tommy Dobson, who has won a prestigious scholarship to Sydney

In edition 6 of Educate Positive we reported on the increased take up of STEM (Science, Technology and Maths) at Titus Salt School.  This increased interest has paid dividends for Year 12 student, Tommy Dobson, who is one of only five people in the UK to have won a scholarship to attend the renowned International Science School in Sydney (for the summer school). With support from the Ogden Trust, this once in a life time trip will see Tommy immersed in a visionary science programme for academically talented Year 12 students.

Tommy will attend lectures by leading research scientists; experience hands-on brain expanding activities, explore the research labs, join in with a wide range of experiments and meet like-minded science mad students from all over the world.

Every two years 140 top students from Australia, China, Japan, India, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, the USA and the UK, travel to Sydney for an unforgettable fortnight of science.

Early Years technology scheme creates a buzz

Bradford primary school pupils getting to grips with the latest technology

Bradford’s Early Years pupils will benefit from a new technology project developed by three primary schools and the Council’s Curriculum Innovation Team.

The Bradford Technology in the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) Curriculum will help schools to use technology effectively in Early Years settings. The “curriculum development team”, made up of a consultant from the Curriculum Innovation Team, an independent consultant and staff from Blakehill and Greengates primaries, worked on writing the new curriculum, while staff from Worthinghead Primary demonstrated how schools and settings could implement the new scheme.


As you can see in the picture to the left, Chloe is using a barcode scanner in the role play shop.

The team launched the curriculum in Bradford through a series of four half day EYFS conferences with positive feedback of 96% good or better. Every practitioner who attended the conferences then took copies of the new scheme so that they could implement the ideas in their workplace right away.

Worthinghead Primary School has been using ‘Technology in EYFS’ in its Reception class since September and feels that this access to technology is preparing pupils for the Key Stage 1 Computing Curriculum.

The school is working on the Early Learning Goal scheme whose key message is that children see the links between technology and real life. The school tries to link technology and real life using role play. School also has QR codes that children scan to reveal prices in its role play cafe. The children also take a selfie photo and their picture is attached to their work so that practitioners know which picture/work belongs to which child.  Pictured right is Brooke taking her selfie.

Bradford’s ‘Technology in EYFS’ has benefited children and staff. It has noticeably developed the children’s confidence and vocabulary.

Teacher wins BBC award

A group of Year 8 girls at Carlton Bolling College showed their gratitude to the teacher who had made a difference to their lives by nominating him for a BBC Radio Leeds Extra-Curricular Inspirational Teacher Award.  Zaheer Jaffary had coached the girls at cricket and they had gone on to win the Yorkshire Championship at Headingley Stadium.

Mr Jaffary, pictured left, won the award and was supported by many of the students who have been inspired by his superb coaching and guidance.  Well done everyone and also to the Year 10 boys at the College who were also crowned Yorkshire Champions.

Pupils at St John’s CE Primary have their voices heard

Children at St John’s CE Primary School in Bierley are successfully having their voices heard in more ways than one. The school has introduced a novel approach to reading and writing with fantastic results; meanwhile the St John’s School Council recently showed their leadership and organisational skills when hosting a highly successful conference.

The new way of teaching reading, writing and maths throughout the school has delivered improved results and the method has been disseminated to other schools in Bradford.  St John’s has used its Pupil Premium grant to overhaul the way it teaches in Year 1 and boost the number of qualified staff at that level.  It has introduced small group teaching and reduced the amount of time children spend in whole class lessons.  The pupils are heard reading every day and they also take part in daily phonics and mental maths teaching in small groups.  Improved Key Stage 1 results, developmental review findings and an external consultant report are evidence of the impact.

Meanwhile the St John’s school councillors successfully organised a School Council Conference, attended by school councillors from Newhall Primary, St Columba’s Primary, Knowleswood Primary, Pudsey Tyersal Primary and Beckfoot School. They shared ideas on student leadership and the real difference that school councils can make. The St John’s councillors had been given a budget to work to when organising the conference, which included conference style stationery and a full buffet for attendees.

Fait accompli

Steeton Primary School is celebrating a national award for its linking work with a school in France.  Its pupils have benefited from the “etwinning” work which has provided creative curriculum activities and enabled them to improve their knowledge of history and language.

The school became part of the etwinning scheme in 2011, initially linking with a French school in Brest in a bid to provide relevance to the children in their learning of the French language.

The school’s French teacher, Diana Linford, became an Etwinning Ambassador for Yorkshire with the remit to promote etwinning and curriculum collaboration across school.  The school then led two projects in 2013 and 2014 which won UK National etwinning awards in 2014.   School is delighted to report that it has also now been announced as the overall national winner for 2015.

Another project “A Christmas Truce” was set up to commemorate the centenary of World War I.  The project looked at the renowned football match between the troops where football and singing inspired joint acts of humanity.  The school now leads on etwinning across the Two Valleys Learning Collaboration and in conjunction with its European Partners.

Governors develop unique training package

Collaborative working between Bradford Council’s School Governor Service, the Leeds Diocese and headteachers has led to the development of a unique training package to ensure high quality governance across the Catholic Schools Partnership of Bradford and Keighley.

Feedback has been very positive with governors feeling that the needs of the dedicated people who volunteer their time in school are being met through this development. The new training package includes multiple opportunities for training via a workshop approach, bespoke sessions and peer to peer support. Governors are able to attend other schools’ meetings to widen their experience and share good practice.

Educate Positive – Edition 6

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Welcome to the latest edition of Educate Positive, our fortnightly bulletin celebrating the great work taking place in our district’s schools and educational settings. In this edition we bring news of excellent STEM work at a Bradford secondary school; a debating competition victory for a Bradford primary school; a special project to publicise exciting teacher job opportunities in Bradford; and an innovative way to trigger a lifelong habit of reading for enjoyment.

STEM success at Titus Salt School

Students and staff at Titus Salt School have much to celebrate following the increased uptake of STEM (Science, Technology and Maths) which is becoming more and more deeply woven into the fabric of the school. The school is celebrating some of the best GCSE results and highest rates of post-16 uptake in STEM subjects as well as individual student successes. Emily Nar won a national competition for her design of a pop-up isolation unit and the school recently got through to the regional championships of the F1 in Schools Competition. Technologies and rocket science, it seems as if things aren’t going to slow down any time soon.

Sandy Lane Primary School wins public speaking competition again

Sandy Lane Pupil Voice
Teacher Kieron Murphy with some of the victorious Year 6 pupils

Hard work and commitment by Sandy Lane Primary School pupils has paid off for the third year running as they came top in a public speaking competition, providing them with learning experiences which will remain with them through their adult lives.

The Rotary Club of Bingley held its fifth annual “Youth Speaks” competition in March which was open to all Bingley schools who entered a team of three pupils to discuss the pros and cons of a topic.

This year’s Sandy Lane subject was entitled “The Lost Generation” and the children spoke about the lack of continuing care for older people in the district, suggesting that we all have it within us to help these people who may be struggling to do their daily routines and those who just have a lonely existence. The contest observed correct public speaking protocols and the children were questioned afterwards by Rotary members. The judges were recognised public speakers who deliberated long and hard before awarding Sandy Lane first place.  To take part in the competition pupils had to write reasoned viewpoints and ensure that they had a balanced view of their topic. They then rehearsed until they were able to speak publicly without notes.

Sandy Lane’s success over the past three years has ensured that public speaking has a high profile in the school and this will certainly impact on children’s learning in many areas, producing confident young people for the future.

Bus tours showcase what Bradford has to offer future teachers

As we have reported in previous editions of Educate Positive, a priority for the Council is retaining our outstanding teachers and attracting new teachers to our district as part of our Recruitment and Retention (R&R) Strategy.

On this note, Sara Rawnsley, our R&R Strategy Manager has been heavily involved in the “Bradford Bus Tours” to showcase what Bradford has to offer to potential teachers.  Sara worked with regional training providers to ensure this project was successful in encouraging the teaching students, from Leeds Beckett University and Bradford College, to want to work in our district.  Each tour was accompanied by an experienced school governor and the students had the opportunity to chat informally to headteachers and staff and gain an insight into the diverse make up of our schools.  The schools involved in the tours were Swain House, Princeville, Lees, Denholme, St John’s CE, Newby, Eldwick and Nessfield primaries.  The two governors, Elizabeth Evans and Steve Allan were on hand to explain to the teaching students the role governors play in schools with regards to monitoring and evaluating schools and also in ensuring the wellbeing of school staff.

It is hoped to roll these tours out to secondary and special schools in the not too distant future.

Following the positive tours all participants said they wanted to work in Bradford.  Thank you to the schools and the Governors for making this such a valuable learning experience for the students.

Reading Monster creates a buzz

St Francis monster read project
Dane Simora with his model ‘Artemis’ and Kayte Greenwood with ‘Kevin’

Pupils’ interest in reading is at an all time high at three primary schools due to the creation of the Reading Monster. St Francis Catholic Primary School worked with pupils from St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Shipley and St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School in Allerton alongside the former Doctor Who costume designer to create the model.  Pupils “feed” the monster with books which they have read in order for it to survive. The idea behind the scheme is to inspire reading for pleasure and improve outcomes for the pupils.

All the children were able to design their own Reading Monster. Some of the children were then tasked with creating a maquette of their monster. Three six-foot monsters are being created, one for each school. These monsters will then be fed the books the children have read and will communicate using the programming skills the children have acquired.

Educate Positive – Edition 3

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Welcome to the latest edition of Educate Positive, our fortnightly bulletin celebrating the great work taking place in our district’s schools and educational settings. In this edition we have several exciting events, including another Outstanding Ofsted report for one of our district’s schools; and a special award for a teacher for her clever use of film to engage pupils and develop their reading and writing skills.

Hazelbeck School is outstanding

Hazelbeck headteacher Sue Pierce with pupils
Hazelbeck headteacher Sue Pierce with pupils

We are delighted to tell you about another outstanding school – Hazelbeck School achieved Ofsted’s highest accolade in its recent inspection.

Hazelbeck School opened in April 2010 and is co-located with Beckfoot School to form the Beckfoot and Hazelbeck Learning Community. Beckfoot was also recently judged to be outstanding.

In a glowing report, the Ofsted inspectors found: “The leadership and management of the school at all levels are outstanding. The very high expectations of the board of trustees and executive headteacher are put into practice on a daily basis by the headteacher and senior leadership team. This ensures that the school is improving rapidly and students, including those in the sixth form, have every opportunity to meet their potential.”

Keelham Primary welcomes literary visitor

Siblings Alex and Grace with Golden Book Bag
Siblings Alex and Grace with Golden Book Bag

Keelham Primary School is very proud of its pupils and their involvement in the Summer Reading Challenge with a record number having taken part. Pupils are so keen to learn they are talking about their favourite books and taking them home to share with their families, spreading the learning together even further. Every week three pupils take home the Golden Book Bag which they read with their families and produce a scrapbook, consisting of written stories, photos and drawing about their learning experience and the book they had chosen. This is then shared in a school assembly.

Well-known author Andrew Newbound visited the school just before World Book Day and completely engaged the children, not with his stories, but with his love of words.

Headteacher Debra Butler said the senior management team in the school had carried out two reading audits with the children and are overwhelmed by the positive attitudes that pupils have towards their reading.

Inspirational Greengates teacher improves reading and writing

Greengates Primary School has seen an improvement in standards of reading and writing as a result of one of their teacher’s inspirational teaching. By using film across the curriculum, Claire Dunsire engaged the pupils in their learning which has in turn resulted in improvement in reading and writing standards. Claire has been recognised for her work as she received the prize for “most inspirational use of film in the classroom” at the Into Film Awards in London earlier this week.

As well as inspiring pupils at Greengates Primary, Claire also presents her work to teachers across Bradford and has also presented to Welsh teachers as part of their pilot Film Literacy project. Claire became one of the leading teachers from the training she received from the Bradford Media Literacy Project run by the Council’s Curriculum Innovation Team.

Roma pupils making progress

The British Council has recently funded a study on “Improving education outcomes for pupils from the new Roma communities”. This report gives national and international prominence to the work which colleagues in education and in our schools are doing. The full report can be downloaded here.

In the report, its author Mark Penfold has praised and thanked Bradford Council’s Children’s Services for its excellent work with EU Roma families. The report specifically cites Whetley Primary Academy and offers a case study which celebrates the outstanding work of this Bradford primary school. Although pupil mobility is exceptionally high and the average time in school is less than three years, the school has significantly improved the attendance and progress of Roma pupils. Progress in reading is particularly good. Through high quality teaching and strategies such as the ‘Talk for Writing’ Strategy, the children who are new to English are helped to make outstanding progress.

On Whetley Primary’s inclusion of Roma children, the report says: “Strong support for our most vulnerable pupils is speedy and effective from our large Inclusion Team and Nurture Provision. Pupils who access this support show excellent improvement in behaviour, attitudes to learning and confidence. We have had zero exclusions for several years.”

Highly skilled leaders in this school make a huge contribution to both the life of the school and the work of the Local Authority through the Closing the Gap Group for New Arrivals and the EU Migrant Strategy Group.

Cindy Peek retires leaving legacy of new schools

Cindy Peek will retire in April from the post of Deputy Director of Children’s Services, a role she has held for seven years. During her time in Bradford, Cindy has overseen the development of 15 new schools, including nine special schools, which have led to thousands of students now being taught in state-of-the-art schools. We wish Cindy well for the future.

Educate Positive – Edition 2

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Welcome to the second edition of Educate Positive, our fortnightly bulletin which showcases the innovative and effective practice taking place in the district’s schools and educational settings. In this edition we are delighted to tell you about the school and support staff who won at the T&A School Awards. We can also share with you two examples of outstanding Ofsted success and details of the Anne Frank + You Exhibition.

T&A Schools Awards

The excellent staff at schools throughout our district were recognised for their achievements at a glittering awards ceremony on 5th March. The winners in each category are listed below. The T&A Schools Awards are a joint venture with Bradford Council and the University of Bradford.

The Achievement Award was posthumously awarded to the late Barry Holden, a sports teacher at Southfield Special School.  Mr Holden sadly passed away last year. His inspirational teaching benefited thousands of pupils throughout his 30 year career.

Joe Holden receiving his late father Barry Holden's award
Joe Holden, who collected the Achievement Award on behalf of his late father, Barry Holden (Photo: Telegraph & Argus)

The Winners:

  • Achievement: Barry Holden
  • Science & Technology: Bowling Park Primary for its Moonrocks Project
  • Secondary Teacher of Year: Ben McGregor, Head of PE, Bingley Grammar School
  • Nursery/Primary Teacher of Year: Elizabeth Robertson, Fearnville Primary School
  • Support Staff: Paul Plant, Haworth Primary School
  • Voluntary Contribution: Vicki Street, Chellow Heights School
  • Leadership: Chris Currie, Dixons Allerton Primary Academy
  • Innovation: James Routh, Westbourne Primary School
  • Business in Schools: Tong High School
  • Community Involvement: Sarah Lawson, Immanuel College
  • Newcomer of the Year: Talib Hussain, Oasis Academy
  • School Improvement: St Phillip’s CE Academy

Outstanding Ofsted reports

Two schools in the Bradford district have been judged outstanding since our first edition:

St Edmund’s Nursery School and Children’s Centre is celebrating its third successive outstanding judgement. The glowing report says: “The exceptional Executive Headteacher continues to effectively lead the team in their aspirational goal of ‘nothing but the best will do for the children, families and staff’.”

Executive Headteacher Anne-Marie Merifield has been at the helm since the first outstanding judgement was given in December 2008, then again in November 2011. Anne-Marie is interim Executive Head at Lilycroft Nursery School, also outstanding.

St Edmund’s Nursery School is a National Teaching School. Teaching schools are outstanding schools asked by the Department for Education to work with other schools to provide support, including training people who are wanting to become teachers and providing support for teachers wanting to improve their classroom practice.

Bradford Central PRU also received Ofsted’s highest accolade, with praise being given for “the purposeful learning that prevails across the Bradford Central PRU” which is “a credit to all staff”.  In a glowing report inspectors commented that “the teaching of reading, writing and number is outstanding, as is the teaching of personal and social skills”. Nationally only 14% of PRUs have been judged to be Outstanding by Ofsted, so this is a fantastic achievement.

Promotion of cohesion and harmony by peer led project

Dr Eva Schloss MBE and Michael Jameson, Strategic Director of Children’s Services

Since the start of the Anne Frank + You project in 2008, over 10,000 of the district’s pupils have had an opportunity to speak out about hate-crimes and give their voice to the peer led project which has created an excellent relationship with the Anne Frank Trust. Based on the experiences of Anne Frank, pupils have been encouraged to voice their opinions on the importance of human rights. Bradford was awarded a sapling by the Anne Frank Trust which was recently planted at Lister Park by Anne’s step-sister Dr Eva Schloss MBE, along with dignitaries and several pupils on the Stand up, Speak out, Make a difference (SUSOMAD) peer education project. Dr Schloss was the keynote speaker at the launch of this year’s Anne Frank + You Exhibition on the same day.

Pupil Voice has been the overriding feature in the SUSOMAD programme which has led to almost 1,000 pupils becoming Anne Frank Ambassadors. Jani Rashid, Head of Bradford Council’s Diversity and Cohesion Service, and Alina Khan, Project Leader from Jani’s team, were invited to 10 Downing Street in recognition of the work which encompasses the Anne Frank + You project.

Recruiting and retaining the best teachers in Bradford

In the first edition of Educate Positive we introduced Sara Rawnsley, who is on secondment to the local authority from Princeville Primary School on a part-time basis, and is leading on recruiting and retaining outstanding teachers across the district; this continues to be a key priority for the Council, so that all our pupils can attend schools which are good or better. We are pleased to say that Sara will be presenting at the next Public Forum for Education (PFE) which has the topic: “How can we recruit and retain high quality staff in Bradford?”

Sara Rawnsley speaking with Councillor Ralph Berry

The PFE holds “big conversations” throughout the year on topical issues in education. Forums consist of expert speakers and the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the issues they raise.

The forum, independently chaired by former Bradford headteacher Michael Latham, takes place on Wednesday, 25 March from 4.30pm to 6.30pm in the Banqueting Hall at City Hall, Bradford, BD1 1HY, and on this particular subject discussion will focus on how we support and develop individuals and, in so doing, increase quality across the district; how do we keep Bradford’s existing outstanding colleagues who are in demand elsewhere; and it will explore how we attract more outstanding leaders to Bradford.

The Council has committed approximately £600,000 to developing education leadership over the next three years. At a time of some significant budget cuts there is a real commitment to the priority of recruiting, developing and retaining the very best teachers and school leaders.

Anyone wishing to attend this public debate should contact Heidi Hardy on 01274 434335 or by email at

We hope you have found this latest bulletin useful – please keep an eye on the blog for future updates.

Nominate an inspirational Bradford teacher for the Thank You Teacher Awards

Do you know of a truly brilliant teacher in the Bradford district who you think should be recognised for their fantastic achievements?

After the success of the T&A’s School Awards, here’s another opportunity to see our great teachers get the credit they deserve.

BBC Radio Leeds is launching its Thank You Teacher Awards, inviting people from across West Yorkshire to nominate their most inspirational teacher.

From pre-school to primary, secondary, FE and extra-curricular, this is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the work of teachers across the region.

They are asking for a 250-word submission and for those aged 16 and under there’s a special category which means they can submit a short film about the teacher who most inspires them.

The winners, runners up and nominators will be invited to a special awards ceremony at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on the evening of Monday 15th June.

Further details and the application forms are available from the BBC Radio Leeds website.

But don’t hang about – you only have until 31st March to submit nominations.

Good luck!