Blatchington Mill School & Sixth Form College

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Blatchington Mill School & Sixth Form College'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 Blatchington Mill School & Sixth Form College 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

Head teacher Ashley Harrold
with student Billy Leggatt, whose
essay on the French Revolution
has featured in
The school has a reputation for excellence
in performing arts and boasts an on-site
professional theatre
Blatchington Mill School is a popular community
comprehensive based in Hove, East Sussex. The school
has taken bold strategic decisions over the past year in
order to secure its continued success and to ensure they can
provide the best possible education to their students. Head
teacher Ashley Harrold is clear that Blatchington Mill is a
special place because the staff understand that education is a
transformative force for good and this is clear in the work they
do every day.
We have educated students from age 11 to 19 for many years, with a small school
sixth form, BlatchSix, on site. In 2017, the school decided to end the sixth form
provision, and expand to accommodate more students in year 7. The school is
oversubscribed and very popular in the local community, with parental preferences
outnumbering available places by three to one. Reshaping the school and changing
the age range will allow the school to look to the future as a centre of excellence
for secondary education.
Strategic transformation
Over the past year, we have been a lead member in establishing a new teaching
school alliance in Brighton & Hove, named Pavilion & Downs. The Pavilion & Downs
Teaching School Alliance is a partnership of schools working across Sussex to
improve outcomes for all children. The alliance members challenge each other, and
other schools, to be the best they can be for young people, focused on developing
each young person so they can thrive and flourish.
»Head teacher: Mr Ashley Harrold
»Founded in 1979
»Based in Hove, East Sussex
»Type of school: 11-19
community comprehensive
secondary school
»No. of students: 1,651
»Number of staff: 132 teaching
staff, 150 support staff
»Ofsted: “Good”
Blatchington Mill School
& Sixth Form College
Highlighting best practice
In addition, we have taken on the
role of Strategic School Improvement
Delivery Hub (SSID) for a section of
the southeast region, and have co-
ordinated bids to the Strategic School
Improvement Fund across the region
– a crucial role in ensuring continued
school improvement work can be
targeted effectively.
Ethos, values and vision
Learning changes what we are and
what we can become. It changes how
we view others, and it changes how
we interact with the world. It reveals
our potential, and helps us discover
our passions. School is a place to find
yourself – to learn at the very limits
of your potential, and in doing so
discover who you really are.
Blatchington Mill School’s community
is incredibly special. We are a truly
inclusive school and our students, staff
and families are fully representative
of the city in which we live and work.
This diversity makes us appreciate
difference and celebrate individual
strengths. Our students refer to the
“Blatch family” and it is a concept that
we all very much believe in.
A positive and restorative
approach to behaviour
In order to learn well, all young
people must feel safe and secure. We
have unapologetically high standards
for behaviour and conduct, and no
tolerance for bullying or discrimination.
While provision overall at the school
is graded as “good” by Ofsted, the
grade for behaviour and safety is
“outstanding”. Key to this success has
been a focus on a restorative approach
to behaviour management that rewards
students for displaying the work
ethic that will make them successful
lifelong learners, and for showing
care, consideration and kindness to
others – virtues that are given the same
importance as academic achievement.
The school behaviour system, known in
school as “brilliant Blatch behaviour”,
uses gamification – the use of game-
design elements and game principles
in non-game contexts – and nudge
theory – a concept in behavioural
science, political theory and
economics which emphasises positive
reinforcement and indirect suggestions
– as ways to influence the behaviour
and decision-making of groups or
individuals, to encourage habits of
excellence in work ethic and conduct.
Students earn “passport” points for
positive effort and endeavour, and
then redeem these for perks and
privileges in school. Students can
access their “passport point” analysis
from school or home, and can see
which actions have been positively
rewarded, and which have led to a loss
of points.
In addition, the school has a daily
“restore and repair” supported
conversation to ensure low-level
The school specialises in
science and STEM work
and has recently opened
new on-site facilities
changes what
we are and
what we can
become. It
changes how
we view
others and it
changes how
we interact
with the world
disruption does not impact upon
learning. Students have a structured
conversation with class teachers if
their conduct has impacted upon
their learning, or that of others. They
apologise and are given a fresh start
for the next school day. This system
puts the emphasis on understanding
why positive behaviour is important,
and strengthens relationships between
staff and students. While the school
does have a range of more serious
sanctions, the use of this process has
led to a reduction in the use of those
sanctions over the past three years,
reducing rates of exclusion to below
national averages.
Research-informed teaching
Teachers at Blatchington Mill seek to
innovate in the classroom, and subject
areas have significant autonomy
in developing policy and practice
that meet the needs of all students.
Over the past two years there has
been increased focus on becoming
“research-informed” – using resources
such as those provided by the
Education Endowment Foundation
(EEF) to evaluate our approaches
and look for evidence of “best bets”
in our classroom craft and wider
strategic approaches. Reviews of the
EEF toolkit have led to changes to our
approach to setting and streaming,
marking, feedback, assessment,
use of technology and mastery
Blatchington Mill is a pilot school for
an emotional health and wellbeing
project within the Brighton & Hove
local authority. The project has seen
professionals from outside agencies,
including health services such as
CAMHS, alongside professionals such
as educational psychologists, work
within school and alongside school
staff – to find ways to better support
student mental health and wellbeing.
Staff wellbeing is equally important,
and the school has put in place
a programme of professional
development and support around
staff wellbeing and uses directed
time within the calendar to focus on
supporting staff welfare and wellbeing
and promoting positive and healthy
approaches to work-life balance.
School is a
place to find
yourself – to
learn at the
very limits of
your potential,
and, in doing
so, discover
who you really
Blatchington Mill has
won the School of
Sanctuary award twice
– recognising excellence
in settling migrants into
our community

This article was sponsored by Blatchington Mill School & Sixth Form College. 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 Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister