Chapelford Village Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Chapelford Village 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 Chapelford Village 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, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

Highlighting best practice
Mrs Joanne Hewson, head
teacher since September 2007
Student leaders from across MAT
schools celebrating a new beginning
Chapelford Village Primary School opened in February
2013 after relocating to a new school building. In
September 2013, the number of pupils on roll was
404; it has since grown to 525 in a relatively short period of
time. By September 2018, they anticipate this number will
have increased to 555. The school has treasured being able to
educate more local children, but this rapid growth has provided
certain challenges, as well as opportunities, for the school. All in
all, this has meant that rapid transformations have occurred at
the school.
After only four weeks in our new school building, the Ofsted team arrived and
judged the school to be “good”, an improvement over the former “satisfactory”
rating. We saw this outcome as the building blocks for further changes, and a
chance to continue making improvements. We did not, however, know that there
were further, external challenges to be faced; for instance, over five years, form
of entry would increase from two to three. In order to support this increase, we
would have to increase staff and engage in additional building work to meet the
We saw the impending growth of the school as an opportunity for further
transformation. We wanted to enhance the culture and expectation in a push
to become an exceptional school. The leadership team and governors realised
that this would require a coalition of transformation that would involve teachers,
support staff, pupils, parents, external support and partner primary and
»Head teacher:
Mrs Joanne Hewson
»Deputy head teacher:
MrsLaura Tottie
»Founded in 2013
»Based in Warrington, Cheshire
»Type of school: Academy
conversion as of January 1,
2018 – Omega Multi-Academy
»No. of pupils: 525
»No. of teaching staff: 24
»No. of support staff: 20
»Pupil premium: 12 per cent
»SEND: 19 per cent
»Last Ofsted: “Good”, March
Chapelford Village
Primary School
Shared vision and goals
The school realised that to achieve
consistency, alignment and a shared
vision for becoming exceptional in the
future, teachers were the main agents
for improvement. Pupils’ learning had
to be the main focus for changes lying
ahead. This was going to be a journey
that involved all staff and required
their full participation in driving a
unique change programme that would
meet the individual challenges of the
The school is achieving this through
several means. Central to it, moreover,
is understanding that change takes
time, and that the journey will be
complex and not without risks. Beyond
that, we employ purposeful and
rigorous appraisal processes for all
supportive pupil-facing staff in tandem
with a continual whole-school teaching
and policy review which involves
all staff at all levels. This ensures
that improvements are consistent,
maintained, and that evaluation is
Additionally, we ensure that in-house
professional partnerships meet the
priorities of the school and staff
developmental needs. Finding and
utilising the best professional support
over time helps to develop staff subject
knowledge, practice and pedagogy.
Finally, we develop the capacity and
effectiveness of the governing body to
support and challenge leaders looking
forward; we take ownership of the
school community’s destiny.
Talent spotting, recruitment
and retention
Pupil growth in recent years has also
required rapid growth for teaching
and support staff. At a time of a
recruitment and retention predicament
nationwide, we have had to ensure
that staff new to the profession or the
school are attracted, developed and
supported appropriately.
We have achieved this through a
number of means. This includes
effective partnerships with Schools
Direct students: teaching school
alliances providing training
opportunities for students, some
of whom have gone on to secure
teaching positions within the school.
Moreover, newly qualified staff are
given a paid full week of induction
prior to beginning their career, which
ensures clarity of expectation and
practice from day one. Staff feedback
has highlighted that this experience
is invaluable, and that it leaves them
well-prepared for the start of a new
academic year.
We also make sure that recently
qualified staff (NQTs and RQTs) are
supported through their first two
years with high-quality initial career
training and support. Using one of our
teaching alliances, we have started
a tailored training package based on
individual needs. We have also been
developing staff as individuals, rather
than seeing them as a homogeneous
group, or just as workers. This
means identifying individual skills,
Working together
We saw the
growth of the
school as an
opportunity for
Highlighting best practice
talents, learning and staff interests
through mentoring and appraisal
opportunities, allowing continual
Developing and supporting staff
at all levels is a key feature of our
community at Chapelford Village
Primary. The school business manager
started as an administration assistant,
and has been supported by the
school to gain a relevant degree.
Some teaching assistants have
become teachers; midday staff have
also progressed into assistant and
administrative roles. The school places
emphasis on supporting staff, parents
and pupils to take charge of their
academic career – whatever side of the
school it may be on.
Finally, we have structured the
school’s leadership structure to create
opportunities for staff members. We
have helped them to mobilise their
own leadership skills and aspire to
achieve internal senior positions. This
helps ensure change is successful;
all leaders in our community started
as either NQTs or RQTs, which has
fostered a culture that prioritises moral
development and staff motivation.
Fostering excellence and
Our senior leadership team focuses on
a relentless pursuit of excellence and
on developing the quality of learning,
teaching and provision across all
year groups. We have also devised a
purposeful curriculum that builds on the
interests of children and specialising in
developing subject skills. We believe that
the children in the school only get one
chance at a quality education; therefore,
only the best will do. We push to be
exceptional and, as a result, are restless
in our pursuit for the highest standards
and quality of educational experiences.
What next for Chapelford
Our governing body helped to secure a
partnership of like-minded schools that
held the same vision and values that had
been carefully developed at Chapelford
Village Primary, one which puts pupils
at the very heart of all decisions. We are
proud to have converted to academy
status in January 2018, and are now
a part of the Omega Multi-Academy
Trust. We look forward to forging
effective partnerships that will support
the future developments of the school,
and creating a thorough curriculum
that prioritises pupils’ learning.
A capacity to further improve the
quality of learning and teaching is now
a strength of our community. This has
been achieved by developing individuals
across the school, creating responsibility
and drive at all levels of the organisation,
and using transparent processes
to measure and monitor learning.
Common across these is a passion to
keep every child’s development and
learning the key school improvement
priority. As a learning family, we are
ready to face the challenges that arise,
and will move forwards with the best
interests of our pupils and the wider
community in mind.
Our senior
team focuses
on a relentless
pursuit of
excellence and
on developing
the quality of
teaching and
across all year
Developing a lifelong
love of learning

The Parliamentary Review Publication, in which this article originally appeared, contained the following foreword from the prime minister.

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

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

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