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At Three Bridges, we understand that collaborating and sharing is at the heart of excellent community schools.  We are committed to sharing openly with schools, communities, and other groups to ensure that our work advances the broader good for all children.

We appreciate that our efforts complement a range of initiatives that seek to reduce educational inequity, and that we are often only a small piece of a larger and more complex puzzle.  


Cover (click to read the FULL article or listen to the PodCast) Excerpt & Author

Dan started teaching 6 years ago after working in the private sector for a defence company. He was brought up in from Preston but ended up in London to start his teaching career. He taught in another school in Uxbridge before moving to Three Bridges Primary School three years ago. He is currently teaching in Year 6.

Dan describes the two very different worlds that he has experienced as a teacher: his previous school and his current school. His powerful reflection on his development as a teacher at Three Bridges Primary School is a striking testament to what can happen when high-stakes accountability is replaced with trust and professional development. Find out how this happens and the impact on teachers and pupils.

Host: Teachers Come First Conference 2020
Presenter: Daniel Fletcher

I had noticed that talk in the afternoon in EYFS was less structured than the morning, with fewer instances of dialogue. When pupils were completing free flow afternoon activities, there was little or no dialogue and any talk would often fall into the disputational category. Disputational talk can be characterised as ‘disagreement and individualised decision-making. There are few attempts to pool resources or to offer constructive criticism of suggestions.’ (Mercer 1995: 104). I hoped to move the talk of the students in EYFS towards one that was more exploratory, where there is co-construction of understanding through critical but constructive engagement of learners in each other’s ideas and reasoning is apparent.


Author: David O'Connell
**This piece was highly commended in the impact projects journal from the national oracy leaders programme**

In this conversation, Jeremy Hannay will discuss teachers as researchers and leaders of their own learning; using coaching as a technique for them to uncover the best within themselves and develop their sense of internal accountability.


Host: Andrea Stringer, Growth Coaching International AUSTRALIA

Then she asked us to pick up the raisin.  Place it in our mouths.  Don’t chew it.  Don’t swallow it.  Just roll it around in your mouth.  Notice the texture, the flavours. Notice how it feels to shift it from one slide to the other, to press it to the top of your palette, hold it under your tongue.  And everyone did.  A pin dropping would have been an atomic bomb. We needed to practice being mindful. Stopping. Pausing. Capturing the moment. It was a defining moment in our journey as a school – both professionally and personally.  The room was silent and the point became salient: the most important moment is now. What will you capture from it?


Authors: Jeremy Hannay & David O'Connell

This links nicely with the idea of PAUSE.  It’s not an acronym. It is the art
of inaction. Of waiting. Of taking a minute to breathe, think, reflect, align. It is one of the greatest attributes we can have as leaders (and humans!) of
busy, complex, people-driven organisations. 
Leadership is a tough gig on the best days. I allow myself to make mistakes –
I give myself permission to turn mistakes in to opportunities for
growth. There is a lightness to that – a freedom. They – our staff – need it,


Author: Jeremy Hannay

The headteacher of Three Bridges Primary School in Southall, West London, which he joined in 2012, saw his school rewarded last year with an ‘outstanding’ rating from the watchdog. But if there’s any credit in that (which Hannay is first and loudest to question), then he isn’t the type to take it.

“I’m an average guy surrounded by incredible people,” he says. Professionally, I suppose If I’m good at anything, it’s finding good people and holding on to them. I hire people who are smarter than me, who are better teachers than I was, more creative than I was.”


Author: JL Dutaut, Schools Week

The Happiest School in the UK | Three Bridges Primary | Jeremy Hannay interview With Steve Waters

Incredible learning is a practice of freedom. The interaction between teachers and learners in the presence of knowledge is one aspect of learning, the power relationship between the two requiring intimate attention. Incredible schools won’t merely discuss equity or refer to global citizenship – they’re mindful of those everyday, subtle interactions between teachers and pupils in the presence of knowledge. We must acknowledge that what we learn, how we learn it and who we are as educators are instructional, and that all three of these considerations should form the curriculum of our schools.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

Headteacher of Three Bridges Primary School and contributing writer for Primary School management Jeremy Hannay talks about what it takes to build an outstanding school culture in challenging circumstances.


Host: Jazz Rose, Passion for Learning

For the inaugural episode of Classroom 101, we speak to Jeremy Hannay, headteacher of Three Bridges Primary School, West London.

In this frank and inspiring interview – the first since Ofsted graded the school ‘Outstanding’ in all categories – Jeremy discusses:

· How his childhood and early career shaped him

· The school he ironically credits for his success

· How he went about creating a culture of trust at Three Bridges

· His views on Ofsted following the school’s ‘Outstanding’ judgement



Host: Andy van Terheyden, Classroom 101 podcast

This episode is one I’ve been really looking forward to releasing for a while.

If you’re on Twitter, the chances are you’ll have seen my guest be pretty vocal about the need to reduce high stakes accountability and increase teacher autonomy.

You’ll probably have seen his latest news has (at the time of writing) been ‘liked’ over 4.5K times and retweeted over 1.1K times.

If you haven’t seen what it is, I won’t spoil it for you, just head on over to his Twitter to find out.

But NOT before you’ve listened to what he was saying in the final episode of the pilot season of the We Are In Beta podcast, which was recorded BEFORE Ofsted paid him a visit a few weeks ago.


Host: Niall Alcock, We Are In Beta podcast

CPD should rarely be reactive. Strong leaders will know their staff, be able to anticipate when new developments are likely to cause a struggle, and effectively gauge where that struggle will be for people that are new. If we’re constantly responding to what’s wrong, we’ll never move forward. Instead we’ll be stuck, endlessly chasing our tails. Go into things with the expectation that certain concepts, strategies and approaches will be more challenging, and plan this in. Don’t wait for things to go wrong and then try to recover.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

Teaching Yr 6 - Aspire to Greatness with Sharlene Brown on Passion for Learning

Let me clear up this edu-mess for you. It’s not Sats. It’s not workload. The elephant in the room is high-stakes accountability. And I’m calling bullshit. Our education system actively promotes holding schools, leaders and teachers at gunpoint for a very narrow set of test outcomes. This has long been proven to be one of the worst ways to bring about sustainable change. It is time to change this educational paradigm before we have no one left in the classroom except the children.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

Their marking, planning and professional work, combined with inflexible accountabilities to pupil performance data. The education headlines read, ‘Teachers unhappy about excessive workload,’ but they obscure the fact that these workload demands and problems with wellbeing are merely symptoms of much deeper problems that stem from overwhelming lack of trust, support, development and professional agency.

Those are the real killers.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

Jeremy insists that the environment in which the teacher is placed is essential in order to nurture them, to allow them to grow and become their “very best selves”. After all, a seed grows as a result of the conditions around it. If those conditions aren’t right then, ultimately, the children suffer.


Author: Jerome Smail, Teach Primary

You won’t find many teachers who’d argue that all testing should be abolished, or that there should be no accountability at all. Just like chocolate cake in the life of this headteacher, most things in education have their place, including those we may not like as much. There are things we can control, such as monitoring arrangements, quality assurance measures, culture and CPD. Others, less so – Ofsted, national testing, funding. Those things within our control must be delicately managed and led, while accounting for the nuances of our people, context, community, culture and capacity.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

What does Three Bridges do, exactly, to set itself apart as the happiest school? “One of our big ideas this year is about leaning in,” Jeremy emphasizes, “about how we need to lean in to relationships, families, children, each other.”


Author: Mike McGalliard

Leading with warmth allows us to connect immediately with our staff, letting them know that they’re heard, understood and valued. At Three Bridges, we call this ‘Leaning In’. We know from largescale studies that good relationships keep us happier and healthier. They improve our life expectancy, brain function, general health and wellbeing. The prioritising of connections, relationships, and warmth is key to leading successful schools.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

Simply 'doing less' is not what any of us got in to teaching for.  It's also masking the real narrative that we're all feeling: low trust, high threat.  Whether it's marking or planning to provide evidence, excessive admin to prove progress, regular scrutiny to monitor compliance - if we want our work-life balance to be in harmony, we have to feel trusted, supported, developed, aligned, inspired and valued.  


Author: Jeremy Hannay

In these schools, development isn’t centred on professional inspections, but rather professional collaboration. These schools won’t perform regular observations and monitoring, or fire out overly prescriptive performance policies. Instead, they’ll discuss and design pedagogy, engage in action research and regularly perform learning and lesson study.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

Supporting and developing staff, and making sure they aren't spending lots of time on unnecessary work, are key features of Hannay's leadership style.  He doesn't struggle to hold on to staff.  "There's no recruitment and retention crisis here at Three Bridges," he says. "People enjoy coming here.  They feel ownership, and its a piece of who they are, not just where they work."


Author: Sally Gillen

Jeremy Hannay, the headmaster at Three Bridges, believes passionately in the project. He travelled to Singapore three years ago, visited six schools, and came back to the UK converted. “We were creating kids who could pass tests but we weren’t giving children a life-long love of mathematics, which in my professional philosophy is just not good enough,” he said.


Author: Financial Times

There are a number of areas that are fairly simple to manage:

 Marking (aka written feedback): create a feedback policy [read the Three Bridges policy] where teachers are in control of when it is most appropriate and provide teachers with alternatives to written feedback, so that feedback is high but time spent writing in pupil books is almost zero.

  • Planning: provide thinking frames for teachers (especially new ones) to wrap their heads around lessons elements or structures. Get rid of mandatory proformas and scrutinies. Planning should be helpful for the teacher, not me [heads].
  • Data entry: create systems where teachers enter data once and all of the analysis, reporting, etc is done for them.

Dr Moskowitz discovered something in the food industry that is also true of our primary schools: there is no one way to do everything, but a variety of excellent ways to do anything. 

There is no perfect or imperfect pedagogy or curriculum. There are only different kinds of approaches that suit different kinds of children, subjects, cultures, communities, ages, developmental levels, skills and knowledges that exist in classrooms every day. 


Author: Jeremy Hannay

Dustin understood an inconvenient truth about success – nothing which raises results today, but destroys the potential of its people tomorrow, is relevant. The only success in the shortterm that matters is that which is predicated upon sustainability and long-term impact. As school leaders, we can learn a lot from Dustin Reid.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

The days of trolling the internet for worksheets or lesson sequences should be long gone. Leaders, in partnership with teams of teachers, need to take ownership for the programmes that lay the foundations of content. Let the maths experts design the maths. Let the teachers, leaders and pupils design the learning.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

Less marking, more feedback. Fewer proformas, more thinking. Limit scrutiny, unleash autonomy. Reduce individual accountability, increase collective responsibility. Fewer followers, more leaders. Less teaching, more learning.

It is our underlying beliefs as school leaders that create the conditions for lesson study to succeed.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

Case studies of exceptional schools indicate that school leaders primarily influence learning by galvanising effort around ambitious goals, and by establishing conditions that support teachers and help pupils succeed. At our school, Three Bridges Primary, we’ve focussed our energies on developing a culture built upon collaborative processes, intellectual stimulation, individualised support and leading by example.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

More often than not, I hear the same things across the country – that teaching is improved through observation (with a sharp focus on teachers and teaching) and that extensive subject knowledge is crucial to being a good primary teacher.

Yet collaboration between teachers often comes secondary to compliance, with quantitative data dictating the effectiveness of teaching. These approaches on their own provide, at best, surface success. More often than not, they subtly yet quickly destroy schools and disengage our professional teachers.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

Somehow, stemming from a bad combination of old Ofsted policy and poorly interpreted research, schools have been driven to adopt widely unsubstantiated (and sometimes outright wrong) ideas:

  1. That written feedback is the most valuable type
  2. That the best written feedback is a conversation between pupil and teacher
  3. That feedback must be evidenced in a book to ‘count’


Author: Jeremy Hannay

So we began searching the globe for that special someone with best practice in enquiry-based learning (and a non smoker who must love kids). We wanted to improve by learning from the best in the world, and we knew exactly what we were looking for and what we had to offer.


Author: Jeremy Hannay/David O'Connell

Suggesting that children in reception should sit at desks to write, or on the carpet for whole-class instruction, is met with frustration and cynicism. These people believe that teacher-directed learning and child-initiated learning are mutually exclusive.


Author: Jeremy Hannay

Emma Valério, maths co-ordinator at Three Bridges, has a ready reply to parents who fear high-flyers will be held back. “We used to set across year groups, so Year Three pupils would be learning with Year Four. I had children who’d been accelerated, but their number sense was poor. Now our focus is enrichment, not acceleration. We give them extra tasks to enrich their skills. True mathematicians aren’t the ones given the next level of maths; they develop their own.”


Author: Susie Mesure, The Independent

A happy staff makes a happy school and it helps to have the right Twitter handle. Step forward Jeremy Hannay, deputy headteacher @happiestschoolonearth aka the Three Bridges primary school in Southall, west London. He arrived in the UK from Ontario, Canada, and couldn’t believe what he found.


Author: Liz Lightfoot, The Guardian