A News story by Radhika Sharma 26 January 2021

The pupils and staff at Perry Court E-ACT Academy in Bristol have much to be proud of having recently seen their academy named as one of The Sunday Times Best Primary Schools in 2020, as well as winning the Outstanding Progress Award at the Education Business Awards.

Ranked number 239 out of 250 in the top primary schools in the country by The Sunday Times (placing it in the top 1.4% of primary schools in England*), we spoke to Headteacher Nicky Reynolds about some other exciting developments at the academy.

A brand new building

Perry Court is currently undergoing some exciting building work, which will increase the size of the academy from two to three forms per year, with the potential to have up to 90 pupils in each year group compared to 60 now. The new building will also house a multi-use games area for sports, a central hall with floor to ceiling glass windows and a playing field sufficient to accommodate a youth football pitch. The new building is also being designed on one level, meaning that all classrooms have direct access to outside play space.

The introduction of restorative practice

Headteacher Nicky introduced restorative practice at the academy in September 2020, with the aim of empowering pupils to take responsibility and manage their own behaviour without external motivators. The practice allows pupils to feel they have a voice and they are made to feel comfortable having a conversation with their teachers, teaching them lifelong skills for emotional regulation. Year 6 pupils commented:

“We feel happier with this new way of doing things.”
“We have a voice, feel important and are listened to.”
“It’s nice to be able to speak about how we feel.”

The Thrive approach

To aid restorative practice, Perry Court utilises the Thrive approach for early identification of emotional developmental needs in children. Pupils are engaged through fun activities that allow them to become more confident and deal with challenging situations. Perry Court has a specialist Thrive Practitioner and two Thrive rooms, showcasing the demand and success of the new practice.

Headteacher, Nicky Reynolds

Many of the new developments at Perry Court have come as a result of Nicky joining as headteacher in April 2020. Nicky has worked across a number of E-ACT academies over the last 15 years, having started as a volunteer with Greenfield E-ACT Academy. She has also worked as a teacher at Ilminster Avenue, Hareclive, St Ursula’s and Perry Court academies.

Although she’s now a headteacher, Nicky actually started her career in Belfast as a secretary for a legal practice and did some volunteering whilst studying at the University of Ulster. Nicky completed her PGCE at Bath Spa University and moved to England shortly afterwards, where she pursued her teaching career.

We look forward to hearing of more Perry Court success stories in the future!

*Figure based on there being 16,769 primary schools in England: https://www.besa.org.uk/key-uk-education-statistics/