North West London

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Highlighting best practice

Duncombe Primary School

All the school dresses up and performs for the international evening banquet W hen Barrie O’Shea arrived at Duncombe Primary, the majority of teaching staff were in the process of handing in their resignations, which pre-empted the school’s proposed enforced closure. The school, situated in Hornsey, one of the most deprived areas in the UK, had been designated a “troubled school” by the LEA and its pupils had been banned from local libraries, borough swimming pools and the local sports association. Upon being petitioned by parents to remain as headmaster, Barrie took over headship in 1989, becoming the first local-council appointed headteacher within the London borough of Islington. Twenty-nine years later, Barrie is still present at the school, a testament to his involvement with the local community and dedication to teaching. Herein, Barrie discusses his provision of care: engaging with students and parents in order to effect wider positive outcomes for the pupils and the community at large. Upon my headship, I accessed extra help where needed for families and for my own staff. Moreover, we regularly survey our parents and children so as to make well-informed improvements. As of late, recent staff appraisal targets were focused on improving parental engagement: I am comfortable and have the relevant pastoral experience to support families and those who work for me. Duncombe’s emphasis is on lifelong celebration and support. This rationale is the reason for our success.

Barrie O’Shea, head teacher

REPORT CARD Duncombe Primary School » » Head teacher: Barrie O’Shea » » Founded in 1850 » » Based in Islington » » Type of school: Mixed primary school » » No. of pupils: 465 » » Duncombe has been among the schools with the highest percentage of free school meals in the country » » Lifelong support and celebration has people coming back 20 years later » »


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