Bishop Cornish CE Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Bishop Cornish CE Primary School's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Bishop Cornish CE Primary School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Headteacher Sue Green
All our children love to
sing and this enhances
everyones spiritual
Based in Saltash, Cornwall, Bishop Cornish Primary offers
a Christian-based education for children aged between
four and 11 years old. The school’s motto is “Esteem and
Educate Every Child”, which is the embodiment of the holistic
approach it takes in order to create a dynamic school family.
Headteacher Sue Green tells
The Parliamentary Review
about how the team has managed to build a community with a
strong culture and sense of pride.
We believe there is something intrinsically unique and extraordinarily special about
our school, which is felt by all who cross the threshold. Pupils are immersed in
a loving and caring Christian environment, where our stimulating surroundings,
whether within the building or in the school’s extensive grounds, demonstrate that
the children are at the heart of everything we do.
This is something reflected in our recent reports. In 2017, SIAMS explained,
“Leadership is visionary and passionate about the work of a church school and
Christian distinctiveness stands out in all they do.” A year earlier, Ofsted stated
“Together, school staff and governors have ensured that Bishop Cornish School
is a rich learning environment. Pupils are immersed in stimulating surroundings
which help them to think, provide resources for their learning and develop their
creativity. All staff strongly agree that they are proud to work at the school and feel
that leaders trust teachers to take risks and to innovate in ways that help pupils
»Headteacher: Sue Green
»Deputy Headteacher: Ryan Hill
»Founded in 1977
»Based in Saltash, Cornwall
»No. of pupils: 210
»On-site private pre-school run
by a charitable educational
trust and trustees are
appointed by the governors
Bishop Cornish CE
Primary School
Highlighting best practice
Ofsted have recognised our rich
learning environment, shown through
our own shopping mall where Key
Stage 2 children can use role play to
develop specific and real-life maths
skills by using genuine tills and grocery
scales. This can include booking a
holiday, buying a house or groceries,
ordering a cappuccino or even
bartering for lower percentage estate
agent fees. Staff have the flexibility
and most importantly are trusted to
be totally creative and think outside
the box, to not only make children’s
learning fun and enriched but to
develop enquiring minds and to have
stimulating and exciting learning
experiences. Teachers’ experiences are
the same. Our teachers are incredibly
proud of the part they play in every
aspect of our school life. They are
inspired and excited about teaching
and learning, which in turn is infectious
and motivates the children.
Using our outside learning
environment, which includes two
wooded areas, a substantial fire pit,
our yurt – which is an extension of
the classroom and a home with its log
burner, kettle, log basket and resident
bugs – outdoor hammocks, dens and
tunnels, children have a phenomenal
outdoor experience. It doesn’t feel like
you’re in school but on an expedition
with an explorer and survival guru. You
can be an entomologist, a botanist,
a bushman and a forager as well as
an outdoor mathematician, a forest
story-teller, a poet, a historian – the list
is endless.
For example, a recent year 6 history
experience included wood gathering,
to whittle the historical figures of
Tudor England and costume making
from man-made and natural materials
and a re-enactment of how their lives
were entwined together. This inspiring
approach to the curriculum permeates
through everything we do, and the
children are able to live what they are
learning. Because it is stimulating and
motivating, it captures the imagination
of all children irrespective of ability.
We are lucky enough to have had
the resources and support to be
able to develop a school farm. We
love our free-range alpaca Isaac,
chickens, doves and ducks, our five
Anglo-Nubian goats and our many
gorgeous guinea pigs, all cared for by
the children, staff and parents. The
children collect and cook our delicious
free-range eggs as well as learning
essential animal husbandry skills such
shearing an alpaca, clipping goats’
hooves and assisting in vets’ visits. It is
a delight to look out of the windows
towards the Royal Albert Bridge and
see alpacas and goats being raced
across the fields on leads and chickens
on shoulders, listening to stories
around the camp fire. While this is
lots of fun and very educational, it is
also essential to support our extensive
work as a Thrive Approach school,
developing emotional well-being
and strategies that aid the repair of
interruptions in brain development
during childhood.
Our animals are integral
to school life
Staff have the
flexibility and
are trusted to
be totally
creative and
think outside
the box
Being a church school
Our Christian values are at the heart
of all we do. One of the ways we
explore these is during our Collective
Worship and in particular through
music. The importance of setting
aside a time every day for spiritual
reflection and growth is highly
valued and has a visible impact on
relationships, behaviour and attitudes.
Our music is contemporary and has a
sense of maturity that makes worship
relevant and real for all, capturing and
enhancing the essence of our school.
In their most recent inspection
SIAMS commented: “Christian
values, worship, religious education,
spirituality and creatively are
intrinsically woven together so children
have exciting daily experiences which
enrich their lives and understanding
so they want to live these out in this
caring Christian community.” Despite
these good reports we are not going to
sit back, and we will instead continue
to look for new areas in which we
The strong ethos and foundation of
the school was established 40 years
ago. Since that time there have only
been three headteachers, and an
incredibly talented and supportive
governing body has been the constant
throughout. This strength has been
essential as the educational climate
of academisation has progressed in
Cornwall. Bishop Cornish is one of
only a handful of voluntary aided
Church of England schools remaining
in Cornwall and we have resisted the
pressure to join a multi-academy trust
as long as there is no benefit for the
children we care for. We value the
relationship we have with the local
authority, while always looking for
ways to work collaboratively with other
schools, sharing best practice, wisdom
Our aspirations for the future now
include developing a proposal for a
new ecumenical Church school here
in Saltash. This is to meet a growing
need for additional school places
with a desire to ensure that diversity
for parental choice is maintained
and a balance of Church school
places restored. The governing body
are working closely with the local
churches, as joint proposers, to see a
school established that is firmly rooted
in the community. The governing
body have particular expertise, having
established a private pre-school
on the school site. The governors
worked tirelessly to raise all the capital
required to build this facility and to
see this outstanding provision come to
fruition. They established a charitable
educational trust, which manages the
provision on their behalf. Housed in
an award-winning eco-building, the
pre-school serves 45 children and
their families. We are very proud of
all we have achieved and are excited
about the future for our children
importance of
setting aside a
time every day
for spiritual
reflection and
growth is
highly valued
and has a
visible impact
behaviour and
Our stunning grounds
and views from the
school are a constant
source of inspiration

This article was sponsored by Bishop Cornish CE Primary School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Professor The Lord Blunkett.

The Rt Hon Professor The Lord Blunkett's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Professor The Lord Blunkett

A new Prime Minister, a new Education Secretary and, as we're all painfully aware, a deeply uncertain future. It is in this context that the education service continues to deliver for individuals, communities and of course for our nation. 
There is no doubt whatsoever that the education service as a whole, schools, post 16/Further Education, and yes, lifelong learning, needs the most enormous injection of cash. Independent analysis shows that there has been at least an 8% average reduction in the amount of spend per pupil in our schools. Those damaged most by this have been pupils with special educational needs, whose voices are sadly rarely heard. The necessity of urgent action was underlined in July by the report of the all-party House of Commons Select Committee on Education. They could not have been clearer about the need for substantial funding and a long-term 10-year commitment. 
At the same time, there are a number of reviews taking place. One of them, in relation to post-16 qualifications, is in danger of a classic mistake by politicians and officials who have little or no understanding of the complex territory they're dealing with. Namely, the ridiculous proposition that BTEC National Diplomas might be set aside because 'T Levels are the gold standard'! 
I'm in favour of T Levels, but in the right context and for the right outcome. They are intended to be extremely focused specialist qualifications in defined areas of employment. When and if they eventually take off – there is predicted to be just a thousand students in 2021-22 taking up the qualification – they will not replace the BTEC, which has been the workhorse providing a general and high-quality education for decades. The BTEC has equipped young people for a variety of opportunities in a very changing employment market where the development of artificial intelligence, robotics, and changed working practices makes confining the choice of vocational pathways to one narrow focus, frankly ridiculous. 
Meanwhile, her Majesty's Opposition continue to throw out titbits which do not give, as yet, a very clear idea of what, if elected, Labour would do in office. What is needed is positive proposals. Abolishing this, that or the other – assessments/tests for those leaving primary school, for instance – is not the same thing as a very forward-looking agenda for radical improvement in standards and equity between those who can and cannot afford additional help for their children.  
There are a handful of Labour Party members, supported by some people who ought to know better, who have decided that a full-frontal assault on private education would be a good idea. For those worried about this, stop worrying. A party that put this in its manifesto wouldn't get elected, and if by some fluke it did, it would be challenged in the courts to the point where all the contradictions would be exposed for everyone to see. 
Just contemplate one simple fact. 20% of secondary schoolchildren in the borough of Hackney attend private schools! Yes, Hackney. This is because a large number of parents, some of whom scrape the money together, are sending their children to private education in London which happens to be the area of England with the best academic outcomes from state education. What's more, very large numbers (again, particularly in London) pay for private tutors. At the last estimate 40% of parents in London had at some point over the last year paid for a tutor for their child!  
Perhaps therefore an opposition party, hoping to provide unity rather than division, opportunity for all rather than a futile class battle against educational privilege, would seek ways of ensuring that those who can't afford tutors have the kind of support outside school that would put them on equal terms. 
One thing is very certain, no government would be able to stop parents buying additional tutoring for their children.
So, a practical agenda for equalising opportunity, for investing where it's needed most, for transforming the pipeline from school through college, apprenticeships, or university, is a goal worth fighting for. A positive way of linking business and education through political decision-making, with the delivery by excellent professionals in the education service, to the children of today and the economy of tomorrow. Surely that is a much more progressive and less negative way forward for both government and opposition. 
The Rt Hon Professor The Lord Blunkett