The Thomas Telford School Template for Primary Schools

(adapted for Redhill Primary Academy September 2018)

Thomas Telford School has been at the forefront of educational developments nationally, by pioneering radical ways of organising and delivering education since its opening in 1991.  A set of key characteristics have been continually developed and refined to create a highly effective template for organisation and a value system that underpins a very student-centred ethos. This template produces outstanding standards and young people who are succeeding at all levels in industry and commerce in local, national and international arenas.

Key Characteristics in the Family of Schools

Academies that have adopted the template, where necessary have customised some characteristics to accommodate the unique features of the community of learners they serve. Redhill Primary Academy have equally replicated many of these characteristics but not all due to the compatibility with younger children.  

The primary characteristics are:


  • All ability intake provides a stable base for planning and resource preparation
  • Redhill ‘Big’ Friends, Playground Buddies, House Teams, along with many other systems, develop opportunities for pupils to take an active role in school life and provide a structure of peer support.
  • The provision of a Breakfast Club, on-site lunch provision and an After School Club which provides afternoon tea; supports pupils with their learning and homework; helps avoids problems in the community; ensures punctuality; and children who are ready and prepared for learning. 
  • Rolling programme for KS1 and KS2 Lunch and Break reduces pressure on management and accommodation.


  • Flat management structure places top practitioners in the classroom and alongside subject staff.
  • Integrated pastoral management ensures a holistic approach.


  • Total concentration on what is best for the children.
  • An achievement culture that recognises and celebrates what young people can do using all means possible, for example achievement evenings, achievement assemblies, commendations, house points, star readers and writers etc.
  • Simple rule that teachers should be able to teach and children should be able to learn.
  • Parental partnership and active involvement.


  • Personalised curriculum which allows for independent learning.
  • Focus on extra-curricular activities in sports, science  and performing arts.
  • Enriched curriculum, providing exciting and stimulating contexts for teaching and learning.
  • Regular reporting to parents.
  • Intervention and booster programmes delivered within and outside of the school day.
  • Curriculum design which promotes both independence and teamwork, encouraging children to take ownership of their own learning, making choices in the way they present their work, how they research and who they work with. 
  • Lesson planning which builds on children’s prior knowledge, and through questioning, enquiring and investigating, support the children to find answers and solve problems. 
  • Effective Learner Programme which develops life-long learning skills for children: Reflection, Perseverance, Collaboration and Independence.  
  • Detailed attention is given to Progress Levels with enhanced personalised programmes provided, to ensure performance irrespective of ability is maximised.
  • Every student to receive a “TTS passport” to ensure they:
    • Have a residential experience;
    • Participate in a democratic election procedure by the end of Year 6;
    • Succeed in an enrichment activity;
    • Visit a place of worship;
    • Experience a cultural event;
    • Participate in charity work;
    • Participate in Business Enterprise Projects;
    • Have a discussion with the Head;
    • Have an opportunity to be part of one of the many student voice committees.

Incentives, Terms and Conditions

  • Performance Related Pay to recognise exceptional outcomes in examinations.
  • Payment for covering sessions to maintain standards and security for students.
  • Over and above payments to recognise significant commitment to the students outside of normal hours or job role.
  • Freedom secured from CTC/Academy contracts for employees.
  • Half day per week for planning, preparation and marking.
  • Plan for succession management at all levels to enhance and create professional development opportunities and career progression.

The secondary characteristics are:

Business Approach

  • Governance through sponsors provides business management focus.
  • Considering a Self-financing catering service 


  • Curriculum-based facilities.
  • Leading edge ICT provision.
  • Interactive website 


  • Staff smartly dressed to set the tone for students.
  • School uniform that fosters pride and eradicates social inadequacy.

Outward Facing

  • Commitment to educational advancement by sharing the results of research and development with the wider education community.
  • Specific outreach projects achieving tangible gains for local schools.
  • Working with but independent from Local Authority.
  • Mutual support gained from the Thomas Telford family of schools.
  • Teacher training programmes that provide a supply of well-trained teachers to the family of schools and the West Midlands.


  • Considering the direct employment of staff i.e. catering, cleaning, grounds, security 
  • Finance Director with a brief for transport, site, catering and cleaning.
  • Staff with a pastoral role to provide dedicated service for students and reduce time-consuming pastoral demands on senior leaders.