North West London
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Highlighting best practice
One of our priorities at Lea Valley is reading. Seventy-five per cent of pupils in Lea Valley Primary come from homes where English is not the first language. In addition to this, our children are from low-income groups and studies have shown that children from low- income groups are the poorest readers. We want to change this. Our aim is for our pupils to become lifelong readers – people who truly love reading and who choose to read for pleasure. An innovative curriculum is integral to the success of Lea Valley. We always start with what our pupils need, both as learners and as citizens in society, over the long term. When the new reading curriculum was introduced, we made the decision to avoid quick-fix schemes and a tick-box approach. We rejected the culture of text extracts, and are working instead to ensure that pupils enjoy high-quality stories from start to finish. Our Big Read approach, which was developed by staff at the school, taps into the creative skills of individual teachers. Each class studies a high- quality book and the reading skills are taught through the exploration
Thanks to this inclusive attitude, and because both teachers and pupils share the school’s motto of “determination
to succeed”, there have been no permanent exclusions in the last four years.
We champion a broad, balanced curriculum because we believe that it is most suited to our pupils’ lives and their future success
The Big Read
Our aim is to go from a “good” school to “outstanding” by Ofsted’s measures, but we will not achieve this at the expense of pupils’ overall life experience. We champion a broad, balanced curriculum because we believe that it is most suited to our pupils’ lives and their future success. I took on the substantive headship at Lea Valley in 2014 because I wanted to help all pupils reach their potential, in spite of often challenging circumstances. I am myself a second- generation Greek Cypriot – I learnt English when I went to school aged five, so I know first-hand the opportunities that education can bring. I was aware, from a very young age, that a good education with reading as a priority was the key to a better future and this must be instilled in our pupils today.
The reception class enjoying a lesson
44 | LEA VALLEY PRIMARY SCHOOL
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