Bolton Parish Church CE Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Bolton Parish Church 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 Bolton Parish Church 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 Angela Worthington
The school’s Christian
values are at its heart
Bolton Parish is a voluntary aided primary school based in
Bolton. It serves a diverse community of children from
a range of faiths and cultures, with 22 different first
languages spoken and nearly 50 per cent of children speaking
English as an additional language. Headteacher Angela
Worthington joined the school in 2017 and has placed a great
emphasis on tolerance, respect and community cohesion. She
explains that creating a compassionate culture and increasing
parental engagement has been her aim since joining the school.
I feel very privileged to be headteacher of such a welcoming school where every
child’s unique gifts and talents are acknowledged and celebrated. My priority is
to progress on our journey to becoming an “outstanding” school, while ensuring
we are able to meet the needs of all our pupils to achieve their academic, creative,
personal, physical, moral and spiritual potential. Research shows that children don’t
learn unless they feel safe and happy, so we have developed a set of values that
continue to underpin the work we do. They help deepen a child’s positive values and
allow them to consider the implications of their choices in relation to the widerworld.
Communication and engagement
As both a parent and teacher I know how vital working in partnerships with parents
really is, in order for children to find school a positive and rewarding experience.
Achievement and enjoyment both play a role in a child’s progress and for this reason
partnership work with parents continues to be a focus in our school development
plan. We offer a range of opportunities that enable parents to engage in their
»Founded in 1884
»Based in Bolton
»Type of school: Voluntary
aided Church of England
»No. of pupils: 240
»No. of staff: 33
Bolton Parish Church
CE Primary School
Highlighting best practice
children’s learning. These will include
update mornings, parent workshops
and termly parentmeetings.
Keeping parents, staff and
stakeholders informed is very
important to us, and effective, honest
communication can bind these groups
together. Good communication builds
teams, develops trust and increases
loyalty and is even more important
in a diverse community like ours.
With a mix of races, nationalities,
genders or faiths, it’s easy for people
to accidentally offend each other. We
communicate through our website,
Facebook, text messages, newsletters,
the outdoor information board, parent
update mornings, parent workshops
and governor days on site.
Varied and diverse curriculum
Each individual pupil has a right
to achieve the highest standards
possible within a safe environment.
You therefore need a challenging
personalised curriculum well
beyond any statutory objectives,
continuous monitoring of standards
and assessment and consistent
communication. Our dedicated staff
inspire and motivate pupils, ensuring
teaching and learning in the classroom
is adapted to excite and develop
curiosity. Progress is evident in pupils’
books and can be measured through
comparative assessment before and
after learning.
We have invested heavily in books for
the classroom and the library. This
was followed up with intensive staff
development at all levels to improve
the teaching of reading across the
school. Events with visiting authors
attracted parents into the school
and hundreds of books are sold at
regular book fairs. Book swaps were
initiated to ensure all pupils were able
to access a wide range of books at no
cost. In addition, we introduced the
Accelerated Reader criteria, which has
motivated children and enabled staff
to manage and monitor children’s
independent reading practice while
ensuring the child has material that
provides both challenge and success.
Schools are also embracing the
importance of outdoor learning, as the
pressure on children to achieve higher
results in more comprehensive subjects
grows year on year. With so much to
cover and the pressure to achieve, the
classroom can be an intense place, so
residential trips are vital to providing
balance. Ofsted agree that learning
outside the classroom contributes
significantly to raising standards
and improving personal, social and
emotional development. In addition,
there are a number of research
papers that highlight the benefits of
residential trips.
One of the most comprehensive
was conducted by the Learning
Away Project and was carried out
by independent evaluators York
Consulting. It worked with 60
primary, secondary and special
schools to evaluate whether
residential experiences could have
a documentable positive effect on
learning, achievement and wellbeing.
It found that residential learning
experiences provide opportunities,
Being a good role model
is promoted at all levels
across school
We have
heavily in
books for the
classroom and
the library
According to the report,
high-quality residential
learning experiences
have been shown to
have an effect on the
following areas: building
self-esteem, improving
engagement with
learning, developing
skills and understanding,
supporting achievement,
fostering deeper
relationships between
students and teachers
and improving resilience,
self-confidence and
benefits and impacts that cannot
be achieved in any other context
or setting and that the impact is
greater when residential trips are fully
integrated into a school’s curriculum.
Moderating and monitoring
We recruited a learning mentor to
strengthen the pastoral team, and
this has enabled the school to target
pupils with appropriate funding. This
has significantly raised the standards of
attendance, punctuality and behaviour,
and has in turn improved educational
attainments of the school’s most
vulnerable pupils.
A historical lack of consistency in
monitoring procedures was addressed
through the introduction of a structured
moderation and monitoring schedule
that enabled appropriate support for all,
along with clear accountability. Central
to monitoring is the focus on half-termly
pupil progress meetings that include
work scrutiny, looking at progress,
agreeing the achievement to date of
each pupil and target setting. This is
a collaborative process that includes
the class teacher, headteacher, deputy
teachers and the class link governor
and allows for appropriate targeted
support to be agreed and actioned
with immediate effect when needed.
A clear focus on ensuring consistent
evidence in pupils’ workbooks has
also played an important role in our
development. These books showcase
pupil progress, but also curriculum
development and the pride children
take in their work. Developing
consistency in pupils’ books was
achieved through the introduction of
whole-staff work scrutiny sessions and
moderation sessions throughout the
year. During these sessions all teaching
staff scrutinise work from nursery to
year 6, making observations on agreed
areas. The relevant subject leader then
collates information and strengths, and
points for development are identified.
Staff development
With over 60 per cent new teachers
in September 2017, investment in
staff development was essential.
This focused on staff across school,
including leaders at all levels who
are well positioned to hold their
areas of the school to account and
make decisions that impact on pupil
outcomes. This ongoing process has
been supported by a whole-school
CPD programme that ensures that
suitable courses based on the needs of
individuals are identified at all levels.
This is supported by high-impact
sessions delivered by leaders that
are based on the outcomes of their
monitoring and evaluation linked to
the school development plan. This is
supplemented by the access of staff
to external trainers visiting the school
and senior leaders working with
middle leaders utilising coaching and
mentoring strategies. The process has
developed pedagogical understanding,
given ownership to leaders across the
school and increased confidence. Staff
are now willing to engage, challenge
and discuss ideas with each other
confidently, which ultimately improves
school experiences for every child.
A clear focus
on ensuring
evidence in
has also
played an
important role
in our
The ability to work in a
team is an essential life

This article was sponsored by Bolton Parish Church 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 Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development