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School Improvement Service London Borough of Barnet


Barnet is well known for the excellent quality of its schools and the diversity of its educational offer. These are at the heart of Barnet’s continuing success as a desirable place where people want to live, work and study. We are extremely proud of our excellent educational outcomes and how we ensure children and young people are equipped to meet the needs of employers.   

Barnet has 130 schools serving 60,574 pupils (January 2021) 

Number of pupils at phase or type of establishment

All-through: 4,725

Special and Alternative Provision: 725

Nursery: 430

Primary: 30,826

Secondary: 23,868

Total Number of pupils: 60,574


There are 26 secondary schools (including one Sixth Form Academy), 90 primary schools, three all through schools, four nursery schools, six special schools and two pupil referral units.  There is also one General Further Education College.

In recent years children’s achievements in Barnet’s schools have been among the best in the country and a high proportion of Barnet’s young people progress on to higher education.  Over 96% of Barnet pupils are at schools which were graded good or better at their last Ofsted inspection. 

Over 97% of Barnet pupils are at schools which were graded good or better at their last Ofsted inspection. This is due primarily to:

  • the overall quality of schools

  • the support and partnership working that exists between schools and

  • the close partnership between schools and the Local Authority and the effective support, monitoring and challenge given

If you are a school, a Multi Academy Trust or a federation of schools looking for additional support with school improvement please contact us.

Barnet is a Family Friendly Borough. Our approach to achieving this is to focus on developing families’ resilience, which evidence tells us is pivotal to delivering the best outcomes for children and young people.  The role that schools play in the day to day life of children and their families provides a unique opportunity to promote and embed resilience. Resilience based practice sits at the heart of improving outcomes for children and young people; an approach that is based on looking for strengths and opportunities to build on, rather than for issues or problems to treat. 

At the same time our education vision recognises the barriers facing many disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people and includes a clear commitment to accelerating their progress and closing the gap between them and their peers.

Ambition and Aims

Our strategic vision for education in Barnet is:

Resilient schools – resilient communities: We want Barnet to be the most successful place for high quality education where excellent school standards result in all children achieving their best, being safe and happy and able to progress to become successful adults.

In order to achieve this, our mission is to ensure:

  • Every child attends a good or outstanding school, as judged by Ofsted

  • The attainment and progress of children in Barnet schools is within the top 10% nationally

  • There is accelerating progress of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils in order to diminish the difference between them and their peers.

  • Every child receives a high-quality education through clear curriculum intent and effective implementation

To do this we need:

  • Enough school places

  • All schools to be good or outstanding

  • High levels of attainment and progress in all phases

  • A relentless focus on meeting the needs of vulnerable pupils, including those with SEND, children looked after, children in need and children eligible for free school meals.

  • Good relationships with schools enabling rigorous monitoring, challenge and support for all schools including the face-to-face and remote learning that they undertake with their pupils

  • Effective partnership with council services and with external agencies and organisations.

The Barnet Schools and Settings Improvement Strategy (2020–2023) sets the framework for the overall direction of travel for all education and learning services in the London Borough of Barnet. The Strategy outlines 5 overall strategic goals:

  • Strategic goal 1 - Access

    • To ensure there are sufficient high-quality school places to meet the needs of Barnet residents, including local specialist provision when required for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and that school organisation and governance arrangements are financially sustainable.

  • Strategic goal 2 - Inclusion

    • To ensure the provision of high quality local placements and support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged from 3 to 25.

  • Strategic goal 3 – Achievement - School Improvement

    • To ensure that every school is good or outstanding.

  • Strategic goal 4 – Achievement - Educational outcomes

    • To improve the educational progress and outcomes for all children and young people across all phases and types of institution from early years to post-16, including progress into Higher Education, Apprenticeships or employment.

  • Strategic goal 5 – Achievement and Inclusion – Diminishing the differences and building resilience

    • To diminish the differences in attainment and progress between the most disadvantaged and vulnerable pupils and their peers by accelerating their progress and building resilience.


In order to achieve these, a number of key drivers need to be taken into account. The full list is within the Education Strategy but those relevant to School Improvement are:


  • Maintaining a core Learning Network Inspector service to monitor and challenge, and, where necessary, intervene in, maintained schools, whilst keeping in touch with Academies. If necessary, LNI support services will be offered as a traded service to schools.

  • Maintaining an Early Years Standards Team to monitor, challenge and support Private, Voluntary and Independent Nurseries (PVIs) and childminders

  • The continuing development of quality traded services in order to support school improvement.

  • Building on the work of local partnerships and Teaching Schools.

  • Working with schools on strategies for recruiting and retaining the best teachers and headteachers. This includes supporting governing bodies with the recruitment of new headteachers/principals and supporting headteachers with the recruitment of deputy headteachers/vice principals.

  • Focus on highly effective leadership and governance

  • Active promotion of good behaviour, pupil well-being and effective safeguarding practices

  • A strong focus on attendance

  • Collaboration between our Early Years Standards Team, schools and settings to ensure high quality Early Years provision in all of our settings and effective transition.

  • Continued intervention to support young people at risk of being Not in Employment, Education or Training and work with providers to ensure suitable progression pathways including high quality technical and vocational provision.

Context: Number of Good and Outstanding Schools

At the end of December 2021 the number of good and outstanding schools at each phase was:

Nursery - All 4 of the Nursery Schools are rated Good or Outstanding
Primary - 86 of the 89 schools who have had an Ofsted Inspection are rated Good or Outstanding
Secondary/All Through – All 25 schools who have had an Ofsted Inspection are rated Good or Outstanding
Special – All 5 of the Special Schools who have had an Ofsted Inspection are rated Good or Outstanding
PRUs – Both Pupil Referral Units are rated Good or Outstanding
Context: Achievement in Barnet Schools over last five years

By the time the pupils reach the end of Key Stage 2 their achievement is in the top 10% of the country and by the time they get to the end of Key Stage 4 and 5 achievement is in the top 5% nationally.

Key Strengths

  • Low percentage of Persistent Absence

  • Year 1 Phonics – achievement in top 10% nationally

  • End of KS1 attainment in Reading, Writing and Maths in top 10% nationally

  • End of KS2 attainment in Reading, GPS and Maths and RWM combined – in top 10% nationally

  • Progress between KS1 and KS2 in all subjects – significantly better than national

  • End of KS4 GCSE achievement – in top 2% nationally

  • End of KS5 A Level achievement – in top 5% nationally


Other particular strengths

  • Percentage of Good and Outstanding schools above National, Inner London and Outer London

  • Over 96% of pupils attending a Good or Outstanding school

  • Positive and productive relationship with schools, enhanced even further during the Covid-19 period

  • Know our schools and settings well. Accurate identification of vulnerable schools and settings.

  • Strong track record of supporting Schools and Settings Causing Concern to make the necessary improvements

  • High expectations and aspirations for schools and settings in Barnet

  • Thriving and popular school improvement traded service (BPSI)

  • Successful ECT Induction programme

  • Continued delivery of a governor training programme and associate clerking service

  • Knowledge, skills and successful experience of School Improvement Team – credibility and track record of success

  • Links, contacts and involvement with key organisations e.g. Ofsted, Teaching Schools, DfE, Diocesan Boards, Academy Trusts

  • Strong communication and teamwork between members of the team

  • Robust procedures for monitoring, challenging and supporting schools (see School Improvement Strategy Part B – Monitoring, Challenge and Support including Schools Causing Concern Policy)

  • Processes and structures are dynamic in order to meet the diverse needs of schools

If you are a school, a Multi Academy Trust or a federation of schools looking for additional support with school improvement please contact us.

Recent Ofsted Inspection Reports

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, October 2021

Mill Hill County High School, September 2021

Bell Lane Primary School, October 2021

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