Malcolm Drakes, Broadford Primary

A word from TES’s Primary of the Year

Following a six year transformation, from Special Measures in 2012, to Outstanding in 2014, and accredited Teaching School in 2016, Broadford Primary was awarded TES’s Primary School of the Year last year. Malcolm Drakes, the school’s executive headteacher, explains the school’s remarkable journey

Staff have worked tirelessly to ensure all pupils succeed, regardless of socio-economic background. Based in an area of high deprivation, 68 per cent of pupils are identified as vulnerable. Despite this, achievement of pupils has reached exceptional levels. In 2016 we ranked in the top 100 of all schools nationally for the third year running.

Broadford demonstrates a relentless drive to innovate and improve. Pupils are provided with a rich and broad curriculum that raises aspirations and challenges pupils in and out of the classroom. We recognise pupils don’t routinely access enrichment beyond school; therefore we deliver an ‘Experience Entitlement’ closing this gap between Nursery & Y6. In addition our cultural roadmap ensures every pupil leaves Broadford having visited the most significant museums, galleries and theatres in London. By 2015, 100 per cent of pupils in Year 5 & 6 had been to all the key cultural centres. Located near Stratford, we’ve also been able to develop our Olympic Legacy curriculum. We’ve allowed students to go on boat trips along the River Lee to witness regeneration; sketch key London landmarks, climb the Orbit; ride the Olympic BMX track and attend sporting events at the Copperbox. By completing these experiences we instil a love of learning and fan the flames of curiosity in our pupils. Consequently pupils’ attendance is up (from 93.1 per cent in Special Measures to 96.4 per cent last year) - they don't want to miss a day.

Only 22 per cent of FSM pupils go to University, which is why the Broadford University programme is so important. Having the chance to study a range of degree courses in pottery, Polish, music, and writing contributed towards changing pupil attitudes. The partnership with the Brilliant Club has seen pupils attend Russell Group Universities and acquire a taste for further education. Consequently 90 per cent agreed they would like attempt a degree, 100 per cent of parents stated it had raised their aspirations.  

In 2016, our outstanding culture of reading was further improved with book clubs and reading leagues. Imagine having the opportunity to read Hamlet before watching a live production of The Lion King on stage in the West End and comparing the two. Or, assembling your own reading team, winning the league and watching West Ham play as your reward. White British pupil premium boys queue up to read. Consequently the proportion of disadvantaged KS2 pupils attaining the expected standard in reading was above national figures.

Broadford’s high expectations are now sweeping through the local area; this is clearly demonstrated through the Learning Federation formed with Mead Primary. This collaboration has seen Mead’s results reach new heights - from bottom 20 per cent to top five per cent between 2015 & 2016.

Nationally recognised as a Teaching School and RWI model school in 2016, Broadford has now been awarded funding for an Early Years project through the Strategic School Improvement Fund. Excellent continuous staff development, an inspirational and exciting curriculum that fosters a love of learning and the opportunity to work with more schools through the teaching school – these are all reasons why Broadford has continued to develop as a school and was the outstanding candidate for Primary School of the Year.

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