Gillespie Primary School
Gillespie Road, Highbury, London, N5 1LH
T: 020 7226 6840 F: 020 7354 8537
Gillespie Primary School | Partnerships
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Gillespie is a vibrant school in part because of the value our many partnerships bring to the school community.

Our partnerships include:


Full details can be found at:

Gillespie is part of a collaboration of 18 Islington schools (15 Primary, 3 Secondary) aiming for excellent outcomes for children in our community Co-lead by Mark our Headteacher.  We aim for :

  • Excellence in teaching and learning
  • Developing inspiring leaders
  • Collaboration between children
  • Innovative business management achieving best valueFutureZone is an education improvement partnership

We support and inspire each other in a number of ways:

  • Collaborating at a leadership level including the heads group, the leadership group of deputy heads and assistant heads, middle leaders group in conjunction with the Institute of Education and year group teacher cluster groups
  • Creating opportunities for children to work together across schools through exciting – termly projects:
    • Poetry competition
    • Kenwood House painting and writing project
    • Multimedia film project
    • The FutureZone football league
  • FutureZone Science Network and learning hubs. Our own Resident Scientist Carole Kenrick leads this group. As well as developing pedagogy and practice of science leaders the group leads science hubs amongst our schools where pupils attend science clubs together. Gillespie school hosts one of the hubs in our science Lab.

Islington Primary Music Centre

Gillespie school is part of an ambitious music education programme, working with other Islington primary schools and an Islington secondary school, to provide pupils with opportunities through music to work with children across Islington and to perform with orchestras in annual concerts at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican, and the Union Chapel. We believe that learning to play an instrument and play music with others brings many non-musical benefits.

At Gillespie school all pupils learn a stringed instrument in their last three years at the school.  We have our own school music teacher who works with every class from nursery to year 6 and a strings music teacher who works in conjunction with our music teacher for one day per week to support instrument teaching to year 4, 5 and 6 pupils. The programme aims to provide musical opportunities particularly to those who otherwise might struggle to access these benefits.  In addition, pupils who show enthusiasm and aptitude for their instrument including targeted children receiving pupil premium funding, have an opportunity to attend a weekly music hub at Highbury Grove Secondary School called The Islington Primary Music Centre,  where they tap into fantastic resources and a range of skilled teachers. Many of our children go on to local schools such as Highbury Grove and Highbury Fields.  They continue to play their instruments and have continuing musical opportunities through Music In Secondary Schools Trust (MISST)  in conjunction with their secondary schools.

Expected outcomes for students who have been attending the primary music centre are:

Note reading

Able to read notes on the stave and common rhythms

Able to follow and read orchestral music

Group learning Evident ensemble skills
Singing Can confidently hold a part in a two-part piece
Creativity Can understand how to play with expression
Social development Is responsible for their learning and that of others, is able to lead, knows how to be a team player and is a confident role model


Science For Life Project

Over the last five years, Gillespie school has developed a science and technology lab at the school called Lab_13 inspired by the Lab_13 network in the Midlands and we have employed a resident scientist who has worked creatively with pupils across our school investigating their own scientific questions.  She has also set up a Lab_13 management committee of pupils who have worked with her on innovative research projects and on organising school events such as our Science Spectacular, Science Week and STEM Clubs.  This work has had a big impact on children’s interest in science related subjects and on their achievement in science. The work has inspired us to seek to collaborate with other schools to share excellent practice and to develop a shared vision of building science capital in children and young people.  To this end we have partnered with sponsors to develop a new science initiative in Islington led by Gillespie school’s resident scientist and supported by Gillespie’s head.  We have named it Science For Life Project because our vision is to support and inspire children from primary through secondary to tertiary education in science related education which is additional to the core curriculum taught in schools.  In the long-term we hope to track the progress of pupils who have participated in this project and to find out what proportion of them choose to study science related subjects beyond secondary school and seek STEM related careers.

How does Science for Life work? A new development project which started  in September 2017 involving 14 primary and secondary schools across the borough of Islington, Ashmount, Ambler, Canonbury, Duncombe, Gillespie,Hanover, Hugh Myddleton, Montem, Newington Green, Pakeman, Thornhill and Yerbury Primary Schools and Arts and Media School Islington and Highbury Fields Secondary Schools.  

Science for Life is led by Carole Kenrick scientist in residence at Gillespie Primary School, with support from the Institute of Physics and with funding from the Dame Alice Owen Foundation and Islington council.

The project benefits science leaders and teachers across schools through developing professional learning communities and by developing subject knowledge and pedagogy with practical applications to teaching and learning.   Pupils benefit from participating in a range of activities including STEM clubs, original scientific research projects and by developing leadership skills to enable them to promote and enjoy science in their schools.  To find out more about the project please go to this website:


Associated School status with Sadlers Well Dance Theatre

From September 2017 we began a very exciting partnership with Sadlers Wells Dance Theatre.  The partnership will facilitate a number of residencies at our school over the coming years, whereby Gillespie pupils will work with Sadlers Wells dancers and education professionals on a range of dance projects linked to other curriculum areas.  In November 2017 an exciting residency with our year 5 class resulted in a wonderful performance linked to their science project on the earth and space. Pupils performed a stunning piece on forces, the effects of magnetism and the movements of the planets in space at the Sadlers Wells theatre.  We look forward to residencies with our youngest pupils in the foundation stage and with pupils in the infants, in the coming year.  Our associate status will also enable the school to participate in a number of activities with the Sadlers Wells programme and opportunities to see performances at the theatre.  We hope that this new partnership will inspire our teachers with their dance teaching.

Inazgar School, Niger

Global link with a school in Niger. Our children have shared work and sent films of themselves communicating in French- the second language children in both schools are learning. Mark the Headteacher visited the school in the South of the Sahara in October 2010 and was made most welcome by the fantastic children and community. Ugali, a teacher and administrator came to visit us in 2013. We regularly exchange gifts and books and in Spring 2016 we sent a book that the children had written and produced in French with the support of our French teacher. We cannot communicate with Inazgar School except by visiting and so our relationship is rather special and relies upon people from an organisation called Anti-Slavery International visiting the school with our gifts and messages.

Niger School rebuilt thanks to Gillespie fundraising!

Early in 2012 Inazgar School was destroyed in a flash flood. I am very proud and moved to inform families that your amazing and rapid fundraising which enabled us to spend £3,000 to rebuild Inazgar School has now resulted in the school being rebuilt, a new solar panel bought and installed to provide lighting, text books, and accomodation for Adam, the Headteacher of Inazgar School, his wife and their new baby.

In order to be able to teach the two classes each day Adam and his wife have to live close to the school, as it is in a remote desert region in the north of Niger and they have no means of transportation. When I visited in 2010 they lived in a simple structure made from wood and plastic rice sacks which hardly provided shelter from the elements or any privacy. They are most grateful that a modest but strong hut has now been built for them. Adam’s first job each day is to take a donkey and water containers to a water source over a mile away from the school and bring back water to sustain the children and provide for cooking the pupils’ lunch. You have saved this school which is still attended by up to 50 pupils. By attending the school each child gets a cooked meal, sometimes the only square meal they get in a day.

See attachments on the right for a letter written by Adam le Directeur d’Inazgar and for the translated version

 Volunteer Readers

Reading volunteers come in to school to read one to one with specially chosen children who develop a positive relationship with their partner by playing reading games and through developing their confidence as readers. All our volunteers are well trained and are very much valued by children and staff at Gillespie. Many of our volunteers are parents/ grandparents or family members, we very much appreciate their crucial contribution to our school.


Arsenal in the Community

We have had a long and positive partnership with Arsenal in the Community. Arsenal football coaches train our children and our pupils attend a weekly inter-school competition including inclusion football at the Arsenal Hub. Gunnersaurus, Arsenal’s famous cuddly mascot, attends our Summer Fair every year.