Dedworth Middle School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Dedworth Middle 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 Dedworth Middle 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

Highlighting best practice
Developing reading is a focus in
the school
Sport is a huge part of the extended
opportunities available for pupils at
the school
Dedworth Middle School serves families in the west of
Windsor. The demographic faces many challenges and
much of their work and ethos is built around support and
nurture for students and families. As part of the academy trust,
Dedworth Middle head teacher Graeme Aldous and his team
work with Dedworth Green First School, with which they share
a site, and many local feeder schools to develop the nurture
through many initiatives including their transition summer
school for their most vulnerable starters.
Dedworth Middle School: context and challenge
We are working closely with our first school to become a learning village, embedded
within and reaching out to the community and families, working together through
dialogue and practice to offer excellent education to children from three to 13, as
well as to develop active engagement with families and local people, partly through
shared resources and facilities.
Dedworth Middle School and Dedworth Green First School have both been deemed
“good” by Ofsted, and we are building on this track record.
As part of the Windsor Learning Partnership (a multi-academy trust of four
schools), the two schools on the site collaborate closely with the two upper
schools in Windsor: Windsor Girls’ School and The Windsor Boys’ Schools – both
providing for pupils aged 13 to 18. While maintaining our separate identities,
»Head teacher: Graeme Aldous
»Founded in 1958 as a
secondary school
»Converted to a middle school
in 1977 (age range 9-13, years
»Converted to an academy and
joined the Windsor Learning
Partnership on May 1, 2016
»No. of pupils: 470, expanding
to 720 through two additional
form intakes from September
»No. of staff: 32 FTE teachers,
66 staff total
Dedworth Middle
»35 per cent of students qualify for pupil premium
»Nine per cent of students in each year group come from service
»Higher than average proportion of pupils starting or leaving school
at times other than the beginning of year 5 or end of year 8.
Mobility of the year 8 leavers from 2017, over the four years at the
school, was 26 per cent
»Ten per cent of year 6 pupils leave to join grammar schools
thefour schools are learning from
each other to make a difference,
providing a rich learning environment
for children, their families and school
staff alike. Between us we look at a
child’s journey through learning from
age three to 18.
An expanding middle school
With our planned expansion and
building programme we are further
developing our resources and facilities
that can be shared with local people,
with the idea being that the campus
becomes an even stronger focus for
the community, building on the extant
onsite provisions. These include the
Dedworth Public Library, the private
nursery and the floodlit AstroTurf
sports pitch, used by the community
on evenings and weekends. As well
as these partners we work with
Berkshire Maestros’ Music Centre,
who have their main centre at the
school and who provide lessons and
instrumental ensembles for children
and youngadults.
We work closely with others to
explore ways of better serving the
wider community, linking with local
interests, organisations and businesses.
We see school education as one
part of a richer cultural environment
which supports families and local
people to engage in activities that
promote health, learning, social and
Middle school curriculum and
The middle school model – perhaps
less usual in the mainstream but
adopted in many fee-paying “prep”
schools – offers real opportunities in
curriculum design. We have chosen
to base our year 5 and 6 curriculum
largely on a primary school model.
The presence in the school of teachers
with secondary school experience
and specialist subject knowledge,
however, allows flexibility within that
model to suit the needs of the pupils
We have based much of our recent
school improvement around the
PiXL strategies. Initially we worked
with the LORIC skills of Leadership,
Organisation, Resilience, Initiative
and Communication to develop
essential life skills. This was extremely
successful last year and is now integral
to teaching and learning in every
classroom. Recently we have used
the strategies from PiXL for raising
attainment at Key Stage 2. As with
many schools that have transitions
between key stages, it is always a
challenge to accelerate progress and
PiXL has been invaluable in allowing us
to make a real impact.
“Working together…
making a difference”
The school
motto is
making a
Highlighting best practice
Junior leadership
We are passionate about giving
students opportunities that develop
their leadership skills throughout
the school, from the year 8 pupils
supporting reading lower down
the school to a prefect system that
supports the staff daily. Our sports
leaders support both in-school events
and many of the first schools around
the area, teaching dance groups,
refereeing tournaments and supporting
PE staff. Our school council is thriving
and recent successes included the
purchase of an outdoor activity trail.
We also have a Junior Leadership
Team made up of head boy, head girl
and their deputies who are integral
to the leadership of the school:
presenting at governors’ meetings,
leading the school council, researching
funding opportunities, setting up
questionnaires to capture pupil voice,
attending regional conferences,
speaking publicly, supporting teaching
in and out of the classroom, and
recently developing plans to support
the wellbeing of fellow pupils.
Approaches to nurture and
support for those struggling
to learn
Inevitably there are those who struggle
to learn for multifarious reasons.
We invest in and highly value key
staff in nurturing and supporting
learning and searching for the best
ways to help individual children enjoy
their school days and feel a sense of
achievement. Every child who struggles
will have a carefully designed plan
to help them and these plans will
involve time with one of our staff
in the Personalised Learning Centre
or Nurture Room. We work closely
with families, ensuring that this
provision is supported and that the
child understands that there are many
adults who want them to achieve. Our
staffing structure has been developed
over time to prioritise pupil inclusion.
We use a restorative justice approach
to behaviour management as we
feel if a situation occurs, it is best
resolved by focusing upon the harm
caused rather than assigning blame
and dispensing punishment, which all
too often fails to address the needs of
those most affected. This approach has
led to a much more positive response
to areas of negative behaviour and
consequently fewer incidents that have
impacted on learning.
Partnership working
We work in partnership with many
groups, including leading the local
Windsor Schools Creative Art Network
and the Windsor Schools Sports
Partnership. We are involved in the
sharing of good practice and leadership
with the Windsor Cluster group,
which includes all the head teachers
in the Windsor area. In May 2016 we
became an academy and joined the
Windsor Learning Partnership (WLP).
The partnership offers a model which
enabled us to remain local but also to
grow and expand, perhaps eventually
with a slightly wider network of
schools in the same town. Importantly,
children have access to expertise from
four different schools and smoother
transitions between stages of their
learning and development.
We see school
education as
one part of a
richer cultural
which supports
families and
local people to
engage in
activities that
learning, social
and emotional
Music is a real strength
at the school

This article was sponsored by Dedworth Middle 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 Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy