About Gillespie
Use the navigation panel on the right to look for information about Gillespie or see our prospectus information below.

Read on below for information regarding:

  • Growing together, our school values and ethos
  • Our School
  • Beginning School
  • Coming to School
  • The Breakfast Club
  • Lunches (School lunch, Packed lunch, Other food in School)
  • Collecting your child
  • Behaviour
  • Foundation Stage Curriculum
  • National Curriculum Years 1-6
  • Assessment
  • Homework
  • Children with Special Educational Needs
  • Parent/Teacher Association- Friends of Gillespie
  • The Governing Body
  • Complaints Procedure
  • Children who Excel
  • Sex & Relationships Education
  • Beyond the National Curriculum
  • Medicines & Health
  • Healthy Schools Status
  • Working with You
  • Collective Worship


Growing together
Our school values and ethos:
At Gillespie School we believe that everyone in our community can grow to be a highly motivated lifelong learner. We provide a safe and vibrant environment where children and adults thrive on challenging and creative learning experiences. We will equip everyone with the skills to achieve their full potential in a climate of mutual respect and personal responsibility.
“Growing together” at Gillespie means that we:
  • Treat everyone fairly and with respect
  • Believe everyone is special and has something to contribute
  • Work hard to achieve success and demonstrate excellence
  • Support each other to succeed and have fun
  • Celebrate our achievements
  • Recognise we are all life-long learners
  • Provide a broad, rich and relevant curriculum
  • Ensure the school is a safe and secure place to work and learn
  • Promote a healthy life style
  • Foster partnership with the wider community
Our school
Gillespie is a community Primary School with a Nursery class of up to 29 children and a main school of up to 241. That makes us a relatively small school, with just one class in each year.
The school is in a Victorian building with two main playgrounds which include imaginative play structures, a trim trail and gardens where children grow flowers, fruit and vegetables. Gillespie’s classrooms, spread over three floors, are large and airy. There is a library and a large computer suite. We have a resources room which is also used for working with children with special educational needs and recently transformed a room in to Lab 13.
Beginning school
In the term before your child starts school, you will be invited to meet your child's teacher at an Open Morning during the school day. You will also be invited with your child to visit the class. The visit need not be a long one, half an hour is often enough for a four-year-old. In addition the Foundation Team holds a formal introductory meeting for parents after school. The Foundation team will also carry out a home visit to see your child at their home environment.
Once your child starts in either the Nursery or the Reception class, you are very welcome to stay with them in the classroom for a while.
The Breakfast Club
All Gillespie children are welcome at the Breakfast Club. We provide breakfast, including cereals and hot food, from 8:00 every morning for a small charge. Children then enjoy supervised play until school starts.
Lunch Time
Lunch is cooked at the school in our refurbished kitchens and there is a three-week menu cycle. A copy of the menu is near the parent's notice board in the entrance foyer or click here to go to the CaterLink website. There is always a vegetarian option and we provide halal and non-halal meat for pupils.
School Lunches
Meals are free of charge for all pupils- as set out by Islington Council's Free School Meal Scheme. All parents are asked to complete a registration form- this will be given to you by our School Administrator.
Packed lunches
Children can bring packed lunches if they wish. Please try to include a variety of foods that are nutritious and that you are sure that your child will eat. Please give the Administrative Officer a week's notice if your child is switching from having school lunches to packed lunches. We remind you packed lunches must NOT contain nuts!
Other food in school
Children are allowed to bring fruit for morning playtime. However, sweets, biscuits, crisps, chewing and bubble gum are not permitted. We run a fruit stall at break times and the children can buy fruit to eat.
Collecting your child at the end of the day
If your child is in the Nursery or Reception class you or another responsible adult should wait in the Foundation Stage playground where a teacher will hand over your child. Older children should be collected from the main playground. This not only ensures your child is safely handed over to you but also gives you regular contact with the class teacher. There is a shelter under which parents can wait.
Please be on time to deliver and collect your child and if you know you are going to be late, please tell us.
If you arrange for a friend or someone else we don’t know to collect your child please inform the class teacher beforehand. We need to make sure your child is safe.
Children learn best when they are happy and feel safe. At Gillespie we aim to keep the atmosphere friendly but also controlled and we have clear rules, devised with the children, which establish acceptable boundaries for behaviour. Good behaviour is actively encouraged, and children are praised whenever possible. Unsatisfactory behaviour is dealt with through our highly effective Traffic Lights procedure:
• Red for a warning
• Amber for a time out period of reflection
• Green for exit to another class, or if the behaviour persists, to the Head Teacher.
Bullying will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Children are actively encouraged to discuss the subject and disclose any incidents or concerns.

Gillespie School Building
Teaching and Learning
We have high expectations of all our children at Gillespie, whatever their abilities. We are no less demanding of our staff who work hard to achieve the best possible results for the children.
Foundation Stage Curriculum (Nursery and Reception)
As recommended for all state schools, Gillespie follows the Foundation Stage curriculum set out by the government.
For children in the Nursery and Reception classes, this means a curriculum that is organised into six areas of learning: personal, social and emotional development; communication, language and literacy; mathematical development; knowledge and understanding of the world; physical development; and creative development.
Some learning is led and structured by adults and some is initiated by children through play and exploration.
National Curriculum for Years 1 – 6
As required for all state schools, Gillespie follows the New National Curriculum set out by government orders to commence in September 2014. We will carefully and gradually be implementing the new curriculum across this year and will keep parents informed of changes. Children in Years 2 and 6 will continue to study the requirements of the previous national curriculum until the end of July 2015 as the arrangements for assessment and testing remain the same for those year groups until September 2015.
The curriculum is divided into two Key Stages- Key Stage 1 for Years 1 & 2 (Infant children) and Key Stage 2 for Years 3-6 (Junior children). Throughout, there are three “core” subjects: English, Maths and Science. Children are also taught what are known as the “foundation” subjects: Art and Design, Computing, Design and Technology, Languages, Geography, History, Music and Physical Education. In addition it is the school statutory duty to teach Religious Education using the agreed syllabus designed by the Local Education Authority. Though not statutory, the school considers it is important to continue teaching Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) which includes Sex and Relationship Education (SRE).
We use a cross curricular approach across each term to enable children to make natural links between subject areas and deepen their learning. Each class studies an overal topic theme in each term- which can be found under the 'Learning' section of this website. We also involve children in deciding and planning aspects of their learning.
Children study English for at least 1 hour each day and Maths for at least 1 hour each day. The time spent on other subjects will vary depending on which year they are in. For all subjects, children are taught as a class with work adapted for groups or individuals of different abilities where appropriate.
All lessons are carefully planned in advance, with the Headteacher overseeing the plans on a weekly basis. Subject Coordinators (senior teachers in the school) also monitor the plans to make sure the curriculum is being covered and progress is being made.
As part of the Government's introduction to the New National Curriculum they have decided to remove the current system of measuring progress, attainment and achievement using National Curriculum levels. National Curriculum levels will continue to be used to assess end of Year 2 and end of Year 6 pupils in their national tests and assessment in May 2015. Schools have been advised to develop their own systems for assessment. We will be doing this very carefully and are collaborating with a large number of Islington Schools and Islington Education Authority to begin to develop and pilot an assessment system that will help us to carefully measure learning outcomes for all of our children. We will be able to moderate our judgements by working with colleagues across schools.
Children will continue to be formally assessed each term against their year groups learning outcomes in English and Maths, and their progress carefully tracked. After the assessment, the class teacher discusses each child at pupil progress meetings with the Head and Deputy Head. Targets are set which are then discussed with parents or carers.
Children will continue to take a compulsory phonics/reading assessment at the end of Year 1 and SATs tests at the end of Year 2 and the end of Year 6.
Every child gets a full report written by their class teacher at the end of each summer term.
All our teachers are also regularly assessed by the Subject Coordinators, the Senior Leadership Team and the Head Teacher.
At Gillespie we use homework to reinforce and develop a child’s learning, encourage independent research and to help get parents or carers involved in their child’s education. We try to make it enjoyable and relevant and ask that you give your child the space, time and encouragement they need to complete their work.
In Years 1 and 2, when homework will mostly take the form of reading, your help is vital. As they get older, children will be asked to learn their times tables and other tasks. For some of the more able children, their homework may include topics for them to research independently at home or in the library.
At school we set online homework using Fronter and MyMaths. All children will have a personal login to access resources and complete tasks set by their teacher. Direct links to both websites can be found under the 'Learning' tab of this website.
Children with Special Educational Needs
Some children need extra support at some point during their school life. They may have greater difficulty in learning than other children their age, or an emotional or behavioural problem which affects their progress.
At Gillespie we have an SEN Coordinator who works with children, teachers and parents to provide the extra support necessary. We attempt to identify children with special needs as early as possible through monitoring and observation. Once identified, an Individual Education Plan is drawn up for each child. These are reviewed three times a year with parents or carers. Children will also be consulted whenever possible.
Our SEN leader works with the class teachers, specialist support teachers and teaching assistants to help meet the needs of pupils in the school.
Children who excel
Gillespie also works hard to support pupils with a different kind of special need: those who excel in a particular subject or subjects. To ensure pupils have their personal needs met, teachers will adapt daily work to a child’s abilities as much as possible. But we also make additional arrangements to stretch and challenge the most able of our pupils by making full use of resources within the school and those offered by authorities and agencies outside. For example we have a number of partnerships with local secondary schools and primary schools to provide opportunities to stretch our most able mathmaticians and are part of a thriving Music Hub to provide opportunities to enhance pupils' music skills.
Sex and Relationship Education (SRE)
This is part of the Personal, Social and Health Education framework and is taught by your child’s class teacher in mixed and single sex groups. Relationships and personal and social skills will be discussed throughout a child’s time in school, often during “Circle Time,” the regular structured discussion and play times led by the class teacher. 
From Year 5, specific sex education topics are taught. These provide children with accurate knowledge and understanding about sexuality and relationships. The language and topics taught are carefully designed to be appropriate to the Year’s age and maturity.
Parents have a right to withdraw their children from sex education but we would strongly advise you to discuss this with the school before making such a decision.
Beyond the National Curriculum
Music has always been important at Gillespie and assemblies often include a musical contribution by pupils.
We are very proud that Gillespie was one of the first schools in Islington chosen to introduce Music First. This is a music initiative in which every child in Year 4, 5 and 6 is loaned a string instrument and given free tuition. The children learn to play together, performing in regular assemblies and concerts with our partner schools in Islington including Highbury Grove Secondary School. Our children have also had the opportunity to perform in concerts at The Royal Albert Hall, The Barbican and regular performances at The Union Chapel in Islington. For more information about Music First please see the 'Partnerships' section of this website.
Pupils are also able to join After School Music Hub at Highbury Grove to further develop their skills and musical experiences.
Children in Years 4 have swimming lessons once a week as part of their regular class timetable. They are taken by coach to Highbury Fields Pool where they are taught to swim by a qualified swimming instructor and encouraged to enter for certificates. A teacher is present during the swimming lessons.
Everyone takes part unless there is a medical reason for not doing so in which case please write to the class teacher. Your child will need a swimsuit, swim cap and towel, all with their names attached, and a means of tying back long hair where necessary.
Outings and Trips
All classes make several trips a year to museums, art galleries, theatres and parks. Some are local, others involve a short journey on public transport. We also are developing bi-annual and annual trips for particular classes to visit partner schools in Hambridge and to visit the annual science festival at Cheltenham.
Every year we organise a residential trip to Cardfields Environmental Centre in Essex- for the older children, usually with an environmental focus and emphasis on outdoor activity.
Pupil involvement in school life
School Council
Children have an official voice in the school through the School Council. Each class has an elected representative who takes issues arising from class discussion to the School Council meetings. The children organise and run the meetings but an adult is in attendance to support them and to communicate issues to staff.
The School Council allows Gillespie children to learn about citizenship and democracy, while also having a real impact on decision making in the school. For example, discussions on the quality of lunches were an important factor in the decision to invest in a new kitchen so that fresh food could be cooked on the premises. The School Council also contributed to the development of a range of high quality playground activities and resources.
Playground Buddies
We have a team of committed children who support other children to engage with eachother at play times and to develop social awareness about the needs of others. Children are supported by an adult and complete a training course involving skills in listening & communication, problem solving, supporting others, working in a team and confidentiality. Playground buddies select children they have observed making a positive contribution to school life to be awarded certificates in weekly assemblies.  
Lab_13 Management Committee
A team of keen pupil scientists, supported by our Resident Scientist in managing our Lab_13 science and technology lab. The pupils take leadership responsibility for involving children across the school in additional science investigations and activities. The children contribute to the Lab_13 Blog and Twitter feed (XXX) and support the school in making links to the Lab_13 network of schools.
The Green Team
A team of pupils committed to promoting green and sustainable awareness issues including activities to improve recycling at school and in supporting the school to reduce its carbon footprint. The team has also taken a lead in developing our school gardens. In recent years we have won a number of Islington in Bloom prizes and awards.
Fronter Reps
A team of pupils trained to support children and staff to use our managed learning environment Fronter effectively.
Pupil Monitors
Pupil monitors take responsibility for supporting pupils to make the right decisions in day to day aspects of school life.    
Medicines and Health
Gillespie School has access to Islington Health Services and has a dedicated nurse who includes Gillespie School as part of their responsbilities. If your child has a medical condition we urge you to give us full details as early as possible so that we can take any appropriate action. If she or he needs to take medication while at school, written authorisation must be given by the parent or carer and a pupil support plan completed. This gives all the details necessary for a member of staff to supervise self-medication by the pupil.
Similar documents will have to be completed if you wish a member of staff to administer medication directly to the child. If training is needed, we will endeavour to obtain it for key staff so that there is always a trained member available when the child is in school.
Our detailed School Medicines Policy is available under the 'About us; Policies' section
Healthy School Status
This is part of the government’s effort to improve the general health of all school children - from the food they eat to the opportunities they have for sports and active play. Gillespie gained Healthy School Status in 2007 and again in 2013. We currently have enhanced Healthy Schools Status and a Healthy School London Bronze Award running until July 2015. With support from parent fundraisers, Gillespie has developed our own, exciting urban growing spaces and have been able to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs to support the education of our children and involve our parents. We have won Islington in Bloom awards in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and in 2014 achieved a Bronze Award in the London in Bloom Capital Campaign.
Working with You
Gillespie keeps in touch with parents and carers in a variety of ways. We send you our school newsletter every fortnight. We hold regular parents’ evenings where you can discuss your child’s progress with their teacher. We also conduct surveys of opinion amongst the parents to see what you are thinking about various issues and hold 'Parent Voice Events' where parents are invited in to the school to meet with Governors and the Head to discuss issues around a theme chosen by them. A report and action plan is then drawn up to support the school in responding to parent feedback.
When your child joins Gillespie, we ask you and your child to join us in signing a Home–School Agreement. This is the basis of the partnership between you, your child and the school. It states clearly the part we would like you to play in your child’s education, and what you can expect from the school.
At the beginning of the year, class teachers invite parents for an informal gathering to introduce themselves and discuss the year ahead. They also send a letter home at the start of each term with information about what your child will be learning.
Our Governing Body also issues a regular newsletter and posts it on the school website. Beyond these formal arrangements, the Head Teacher and staff are always available to discuss any concerns you may have.
We are increasing the range of information we put on our website for parents including newsletters, school policies, school curriculum and class information etc.
We welcome your involvement in many of the school’s activities, whether on a regular or occasional basis. This might include listening to children read, helping out in art classes, joining in the experiments during Science Week, or accompanying classes on educational visits.
We value the involvement of parents and carers and offer a range of topical Coffee Mornings on a range of issues (from attendance to getting back in to work workshops). All are welcome! These are often organised by our Bi-Lingual Community Support Officer Team.
We hold a range of events to engage parents in understanding how pupils learn at school. These include 'Bring a Parent to School', an opportunity for parents to visit a class for part of the day and learn with their own children. The school hosts regular Family Learning classes which focus on enabling parents to engage with how the school teaches areas of the curriculum to their pupils, for example 'Helping your child with maths'.
Collective Worship
Assemblies are held regularly to allow all members of the school community to come together to enjoy music, stories and poetry. There is an emphasis on moral and spiritual themes. Each class leads one assembly each half-term. You are welcome to come and watch!
We also aim to reflect the multi-cultural nature of the school by learning about major festivals and events in world religions. At the same time, many children may not have any religious beliefs and their views are respected equally to those having religious beliefs.
Our Parents’ Association: Friends of Gillespie
You don’t need to join - all parents or carers are members just by having a child at our school (staff members are automatically members too). FoG is a charitable association which holds meetings during the first week of every month, either just after school or later in the evenings. Its main role is in fundraising and organising social events such as the International Food Evening and the Summer Fair. Amongst many notable successes, FoG raised the money for our new bike and scooter racks.
The School Governors
The Head Teacher is responsible for the day-to-day running of the school, but it is the duty of the Governing Body to appoint the Head, oversee his or her work, and monitor the way the school is developing. The Governors include people from the local community, local authority appointees, four parent governors and two members of staff as well as the Head Teacher.
The Governing Body meets once a term, and all parents are welcome to attend the full meeting as observers. You can also come along to the committees that meet throughout the term where we discuss finances, building projects, teaching and learning, and fundraising.
A list of the Governors and of the Chairs of committees is available in the school office or at the school website. You can also contact them directly via email at [email protected]
There is an official procedure for dealing with serious complaints about schools.
Any complaint should be addressed first of all to the Head Teacher and/or the Chair of the Governors.
Everything will be done to try to resolve the matter at school level. However, if a parent is not satisfied, the Head Teacher will tell you how to pursue the matter further.