Tag Archives: secondary school

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

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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 school.improvement@bradford.gov.uk

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

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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 Imran.Hafeez@literacytrust.org.uk or visit www.ourstories.org.uk

“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: FHCommunications@bradford.gov.uk

School admissions for secondary places now open

Secondary school admissions across the District opened this week.  Parents and carers can now apply for a secondary school place for their child for entry in September 2016.  Applications for primary places open in November.

Bradford Council has written to all parents whose children need to apply with information on how to do so. This includes a Unique Identification number (UID) so the parents can apply online.

Applying online makes the application quicker and easier as all a child’s details will already be completed from the Council’s database.  Parents will also be emailed straightaway when the decision is made on 1 March next year.

The online admissions system is available for secondary applications until 31 October 2015 for children born between 1 September 2004 and 31 August 2005.
To make the application process as simple as possible and ensure that parents and carers are able to send their child to a preferred school, the Council is suggesting five key steps parents need to take. These are:

  1. Make sure you check the criteria that your preferred schools set for admissions.  You can do this by visiting each schools website or reading the Guide for Parents, available online from 12 September.
  2. Read the guidelines set out in the Applying for Secondary School booklet.
  3. Fully complete the application form and put in your five preferences and fill in any required Supplementary Information Forms.
  4. Make sure that you submit your application by 31 October 2015.
  5. Only submit one application – don’t do an online form and a paper form.

If parents and carers have any queries, they can visit the Council’s website or contact the Admissions Team in the following ways:

  • Email secondaryadmissions@bradford.gov.uk
  • Call the School Admissions Team on 01274 385967
  • Write to the School Admissions Team, Future House, Bolling Road, Bradford BD4 7EB
  • Call into our drop in sessions at Future House: Monday, Wednesday and Friday – 9.30am to 12.30pm or Tuesday and Thursday – 1pm to 4pm

Coun Susan Hinchcliffe, Executive Member for Education, Skills and Culture, said: “It’s a big step for any child as they apply for a secondary school place for next year.  We are likely to have nearly 8000 children applying for secondary school places this year.  The easiest way of applying is to do so online.

“We’ve tried to make the application process as simple as it can be .  To give your child the best chance I’ m asking parents and carers to follow the five key steps and I’d particularly recommend using all five preferences.  We know that nearly 20% of applications last year only named one school which meant that if the family didn’t get their first preference, their child could be allocated any school in the district.  Obviously this then causes a lot of heartache.

“It’s also important that parents check out the criteria of the schools they are applying for as the Admissions Authority (the Council or School) have to abide by these criteria when offering places.”

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

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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.