Bardney school headteacher reveals the secrets behind a remarkable ‘revolution’

Bardney Primary School - riding high in the top ten of the county rankings
Bardney Primary School - riding high in the top ten of the county rankings

Once a sleepy rural school with just 88 pupils, Bardney Primary’s student numbers has more than doubled - and it has climbed the rankings to third best in the county in terms of progress scores.

In addition to revolutionising the curriculum, the past ten years has seen the Church of England school enrich pupils’ minds and bodies with abundant extra-curricular opportunities and through the employment of the school’s very own family support worker and counsellor - all with headteacher Garth Hicks at the helm.

Mr Hicks told the News: “This is my tenth year as headteacher at Bardney and we’ve come a long way in that time, securing a good Ofsted grading and expanding from 88 pupils to 213.

“Another way we’ve grown is the formal federation of both Bardney and Bucknall primaries. This took place from September 2018 with me as Executive Headteacher for both.”

According to Mr Hicks, attention to detail and careful consideration is key to ensuring the best environment for pupils to thrive, and the team at Bardney strive for the best in terms of teaching methods, staff training and creating opportunities for pupils to succeed.

He said: “We’re very careful about which new initiatives we introduce into school. We make strong use of research when we make any collective decisions, with input from the whole team.

“We’ve taken steps to ensure our curriculum is meeting the needs of all of the children in our school.

“For example, in Maths we’ve moved very successfully to using ‘Maths Mastery’, an approach based on the method used in Singapore and China.

“Our new Activ English programme has been also incredibly successful in helping us drive improvements in writing, along with using topic focussed learning over a term.

According to Mr Hicks, working in partnership with Bishop Grosseteste University has delivered ‘the best new talent’ in teaching directly to the school.

This, combined with minute attention to detail in terms of staff personal development and training means that teachers are always cultivating new skills - and the children are being taught by industry leaders.

Mr Hicks said: “We have amazing staff team, who all work together to provide the very best for the children at Bardney. The quality of teaching and the learning experiences that the children receive are second to none.

In terms of year six progress, the school’s tried-and-test approach of support for students on an individual level as propelled and assured their success.

“We’ve invested heavily in supporting all of our year six children with individual and small group interventions,” added Mr Hicks, “both during school time and also before and after school.”

“This has ensured that any gaps in knowledge are plugged, and has really helped with our progress scores.”

Year six pupil Rose Wilson said: “We really enjoy our one to one sessions, as they help us to revise and learn how to do things in different ways. We work as a team to help each other. We also get lots of help and support from our teacher and teaching assistant.”