The innovative school, which serves families around its Cold Bath Road address in central Harrogate, provides vibrant education for over 400 children between the ages of three and eleven. Defying its Victorian exterior, its recent Investors in People report describes how the school exudes creativity, modern-thinking and democracy, embedding powerful principles of success in its leadership team, teachers, support staff, pupils, parents and wider school community.
Leading the way
Cheryl Smith, pictured, took on the role of Head Teacher in 2003. Under her direction, the school has undergone a series of building improvements that have enabled it to expand its educational offering. Construction work has included a new nursery suite with sensory area, several new classroom areas, improved toilet facilities, a new front office, a dedicated computer suite and extra security throughout the school.
Bright new look
Last year, the school rebranded to update its logo, its messages, its uniform and its literature to include the strapline ‘Creating Success Stories’. The word ‘SUCCESS’ is an acronym whose priority words and phrases (Stimulating, Understanding, Creating, Committed, Educating, Supporting, Striving) define a clear focus for all employees. Each stage of the school has its own sub-brand that promises to teach children in its care skills that will prepare them for life. With the rebranding came a motivational restructuring of curriculum management which incorporates a wide variety of teaching outside the classroom and specialist visits in addition to the traditional principles of the three ‘R’s.
In the Investor in People report, assessor Stephen Hudson said, “There is no doubt that the school staffing structures and stimulating teaching and learning environment allow everyone to operate with good humour within the true spirit of an Investor in People. The effective devolved leadership empowers people to work together with all in the school community where the children are encouraged to think for themselves so that they develop effective learning skills for life. All interviewees, without exception, spoke warmly and confidently about the strong professional working relationships, mutual support, trust, encouragement and fun which contribute to helping all children achieve to their full potential in such a creative and inclusive school. The community spirit, leadership style, friendly staff and polite happy children make Western Primary an absolute joy for any visitor. Throughout the visit the enthusiasm, energy and passion of the staff was evidenced by their individual contributions, anecdotal evidence and personal growth or career success stories. The SUCCESS acronym appears to be working well.”
Particular areas of strength that were documented were clarity of vision, mission, planning and evaluation, the rigour of induction processes, shared leadership, development opportunities and flexible, holistic care for staff with an understanding of work-life balance.
For more information about the school, please visit www.western.n-yorks.sch.uk