Friday, 30 March 2012

Victoria Primary School!

I visited Victoria Primary School in Leeds this morning to see Ali Carrick, the wonderful headteacher, who has been transforming the place and is doing a brilliant job. Over Easter the school entrance is being given a red makeover which will inject even more passion and WOW into the place!

I love schools like Victoria Primary School and simply talking to Ali you realise what she has achieved over the last three years to create a purposeful, calm, positive and caring atmosphere where powerful learning takes place and the children make real progress.
It was interesting to know that Victoria Primary School is one of the primary schools in Leeds being targeted by the DfE to become an academy because it's results over the years have remained stubbornly below the Government's floor targets. The school has been visited by our friends from OFSTED and despite provision being good and improving and the children making great progress, limiting factors sweep in to condemn these sort of schools as simply satisfactory. 
The real danger we face is that we are being distracted by a flawed, negative and destructive approach to accountability which suggests that structures and simplistic outcome measures are what really matter. That isn't true and we all know what really matters is passionate leadership, coaching, practice, relationships, high expectations, high self-esteem, belief, high quality teaching and learning, persistence and hard work. We must be focused on building BRILLIANT LEARNING IN BRILLIANT LEARNING PLACES and we all know that in schools like Victoria Primary School that takes time!! 
It's sad but blindingly obvious that, like so many other schools on the DfE list, Victoria Primary School doesn't need structural change, it simply needs to maintain, nurture and develop passionate leadership, beautiful systems and intelligent accountability. And most importantly these schools need people, like Ali, who believe that these wonderful children can achieve and can succeed and are prepared to roll up their sleeves and make it happen!


  1. Isn't it sad that successful schools, teachers and headteachers are being bullied into changing practice that has such a positive effect on the children in their charge, just because they don't meet externally imposed targets?
    It is clear that schools like Victoria Primary School are not failing their children, so why should they be forced to change?

  2. This is a question we frequently ask ourselves. If I get the answer I'll let you know.

  3. Thank you for this Chris for posting such a supportive statement about Victoria Primary School and Ali. Your catch phrase 'interesting times' has never been so pertinent.

    Rebecca Ingram, Oakwood Primary School


More than anything else, feedback helps us improve and develop.
So, please let me know what you think?