Sarah Wordlaw

Headteacher, Streatham Wells Primary School

Growing hearts & minds in SW2

Driving through bustling Tulse Hill, immersed in the sounds and smells of South London, you would perhaps not believe the lush and green gardens of Streatham Wells, until you cast your eyes on them. A village school in the city. A beautiful one-form sitting proud and snug amidst the oaks protecting it.

At Streatham Wells we believe in growing hearts and minds. We take an approach to education which encompasses both high academic standards, but also teaching and celebrating the whole child, holistically and spiritually. A curriculum which represents both our diverse community at Streatham Wells but also the global community, putting inclusion at the centre of everything we do. Growing minds through exposing children to “big questions” and allowing platforms for critical thinking about the world around them. Growing hearts through an actively anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-sexist and anti-ableist curriculum. As a team, we are excited about this ongoing journey of providing a diverse curriculum. Because that’s exactly what it is - a journey. One of which there is no destination. We continually evolve and become more aware, more understanding and more respectful.

Our subjects are grouped with linked subjects, and within these groups we have staff members (both support staff and teachers) a part of developing and reviewing taught content.

For example, something that we are currently working on for History, is ensuring that our curriculum teaches Black history from the perspective of both celebration and struggle, so that children’s exposure to Black history is not just focused on negative experiences as there is a world of strength and joy to learn about! We are also further developing our PSHE curriculum so that it includes relevant learning and experiences to the children at Streatham Wells, so they are equipped to face the unpredictable world around them. Who thought this time last year, we’d be talking about Andrew Tate, misogyny and trafficking in Year 4?!

Becoming part of the Charter family is a huge part of us growing hearts and minds. Our vision is not only for our children, but also for our staff team. The ongoing development of staff – teaching, support and leadership – is a key priority for us at Streatham Wells. Undeniably, the pandemic has altered the education landscape and has ultimately thrown us educators into unchartered territory, so in this ever-changing world, professional learning and collaboration can serve as a powerful vehicle for school improvement. We are committed to being lifelong learners, and know it is paramount to ensure we are best equipped with a tool kit to serve children; emotionally, socially, and academically for the 21st century world that awaits them. Quite simply the more we collaborate and develop, the more pupils will succeed.

We have a lot to give to colleagues across the trust and we are also keen to learn and develop too! It would also be amazing to link up with our secondary colleagues and work on developing relationships to ease the enormous transition between Year 6 and Year 7.

As a new Headteacher I feel both privileged and proud to work at such a wonderful school. I’ve felt embraced by the community, both from the school but also within the Trust, which has been so great. The inclusive curriculum was one of the main elements that initially drew me to the school, as curriculum development is very close to my heart. In April, my book “Time To Shake Up The Primary Curriculum”, published by Bloomsbury, will be released. It all started with an article I wrote about developing a more diverse curriculum, after doing so myself in my previous position. Someone read it and approached me on Twitter, asking if I had thought about writing a book about it. I hadn’t. But it sounded like a great challenge. So, I put my proposal into Bloomsbury, it was accepted, and here I am 55,000 words later about to be published. The hope is that the book will enable and empower teachers and school leaders to remap the National Curriculum to include diverse, global topics to broaden children’s understanding of their own community and wider society.

Streatham Wells are very much looking forward to working together with the Trust and its family of schools, to create unique and meaningful learning experiences for children, to support the next generation to be more enlightened than us and be able to navigate the world effectively.

Want to work with us?