Burnham-on-Crouch Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Burnham-on-Crouch 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 Burnham-on-Crouch 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


Kelly Stock, head teacher
Panathlon boccia 2017
In November 2014, Kelly Stock led the Ofsted inspection of
Burnham-on-Crouch school. Her team rated it “good”. When
the head teacher left to go to another job, she was invited
to apply. An interim head was appointed until she could start
in September 2015. By the time she had started, however,
significant problems had emerged.
Our journey to excellence has been challenging and staff have worked exceptionally
hard from the beginning to raise standards. In short, six out of the 14 teachers
(plus two support staff) went on maternity leave. We also had a couple of time-
consuming legal battles involving staff disputes. Over half of teachers are new to the
school and we have been determined to appoint only outstanding staff; a challenge
given our geographical location in deep rural Essex.
Striving for excellence
Going from “good” to “outstanding” is not about achieving perfection but helping
children to become the best of who they already are. Martin Luther King spoke of
the value of intelligence plus character; we teach English, maths and humanity. We
believe in the holistic development of the child, teaching kindness, honesty and
resilience. This year the children wrote a school promise to aspire to the highest
possible standards of which they are capable.
Key decisions
Turning behaviour around was the easier first fix. I come from a secondary background
and adopt a “no-nonsense, no excuses” approach – a controversial stand. Behaviour and
attitudes to learning are now exemplary and the 325 pupils I inherited has expanded
»Head teacher: Kelly Stock
»Founded in 1897
»Based in Burnham-on-Crouch,
»Type of school: Community
primary school
»No. of pupils: 420
»94 per cent white British
»Member of National
Association for Able Children
in Education (NACE), Enhanced
Healthy School Status
Primary School
We teach
English, maths
and humanity
Highlighting best practice
to 420 – with a majority of parents citing
our behaviour as a reason for choosing
the school.
Improving teaching and
raising standards
A focus on teaching and high
quality training has led to a strong
emphasis on learning behaviours
such as independence of thought
and embracing challenge. Staff
know the precise needs of each pupil
exceptionally well. Expectations are
now high for all groups of pupils.
One of the key comments I get from
feedback is that I teach and lead by
example. As a previous advanced
skills teacher I was expected to teach
consistently outstanding lessons and
so I try to give as much advice and
practical examples as possible when
observing teachers. Observation is used
as a coaching tool to improve practice
and to develop teachers’ craft, not as
a performance management hoop to
jump through.
In 2017 there was significant
improvement in pupils’ achievement
overall; we are comfortably
outperforming national standards in
reading, writing and maths throughout
the school while our most able
pupils are also well ahead of national
One of the areas for improvement
at the most recent inspection was to
raise attainment in mathematics in Key
Stage 2. I am studying for a doctorate
at Cambridge and I am researching
lesson study as joint professional
development for outstanding early
career teachers in maths. Our focus
on mastery has developed children’s
reasoning significantly across the
school; progress at the end of Key
Stage 2 is now in the top 8 per cent
of schools nationally. We are also
uncompromising in our ambition for
our disadvantaged pupils and are
determined to make a difference to
their life chances.
Enriching the curriculum
Through our wider curriculum we
aim to inspire a lifelong love and
interest in sport, languages and the
arts. We have completely redesigned
our curriculum to challenge children
academically, socially and culturally
and children benefit from outstanding
specialist teaching. External reviews
and the local secondary school
recognise the opportunities we now
Books furnish minds and
fiction helps children
lead bigger lives
We believe in
the holistic
of the child
honesty and
offer including the range of extra-
curricular clubs and events such as
the Panathlon boccia which gives
children with physical disabilities the
opportunity to compete in specialist
sports. Children are now far more
interested in social action, charity work
and supporting the local community.
Key Stage 2 children took part in the
Young Writers Competition in 2017
and one of our year 6 pupil’s poem
won out of 202 contributors (24 of
them being from our school). This year
our year 2 and 4 pupils won national
competitions with Just Imagine
Reading Gladiators in the firstterm.
Pastoral care and wellbeing
Pastoral care was always a strength of
the school but we now also focus on
emotional wellbeing. For pupils there is
an instant early intervention approach.
This is excellently co-ordinated by
the school’s now full-time child and
family support worker. This enables the
pupils to retain their readiness, ability
and passion to learn and they are
supported to face internal and external
life pressures.
Challenges faced and
Challenging the belief that “good is
good enough” has been hard. At first
a number of parents were suspicious
of an Ofsted inspector and reluctant
to support changes. A major challenge
has been the school’s decision to
reward attendance and punctuality.
Governors had to be brave to take
decisions to improve the school; the
school has had significant building
work both to ensure safeguarding is
outstanding and also to build walls
between the open-plan classrooms
enabling a far better learning
Financial challenges imposed
redundancies in the summer of 2017;
maintaining a healthy work-life
balance for remaining staff has
been challenging. Internal emails
had become the dominant form of
internal communication – they are
now discouraged while parents are
no longer able to access classrooms
at will. This means teachers have the
time and space to prepare at the start
and end of the day. Art days enable
teachers to have time out of class and
up to three flexi-days are available
to staff who make an outstanding
contribution, allowing them to
take days off during term-time.
Additionally, staff are asked for their
feedback every term so that changes
are made to make their lives easier.
My favourite comment so far is “the
head makes it clear our welfare and
happiness is paramount”.
My background in consultancy and
inspection has meant we no longer
work in isolation but have developed
links with outstanding schools further
afield in Essex and London. This
enables staff to learn from others’
outstanding provision. By looking
outwards and upwards, children and
staff expect more and as a result
achieve higher.
The head
makes it clear
our welfare
and happiness
is paramount
Panathlon challenge


This article was sponsored by Burnham-on-Crouch 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 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