East Stanley School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by East Stanley 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 East Stanley 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

www.eaststanleyschool.durham.sch.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | EAST STANLEY SCHOOL
Headteacher Joanne Williams
and Deputy Headteacher Tracey
Storey working with EYFS
building resilience
Year 5 and 6 residential:
team-building activities
East Stanley School, based in County Durham, has seen many
ups and downs over the past few years. One of the high
points was the school moving from an Ofsted judgment of
“requires improvement” to “good”. However, the school has
also faced challenges. Their area has higher-than-average levels
of deprivation, and coupled with that the staff are seeing more
incidents of children requiring support for their emotional wellbeing.
Headteacher Joanne Williams tells
TheParliamentary Review
more
about how she and her colleagues have sought to tackle this issue.
We are situated in the ex-mining town of Stanley in the county of Durham and,
at the time of writing this article, have 212 pupils on roll. Levels of deprivation are
higher than average – our deprivation index is 0.3, as compared to the national
indicator of 0.21, and 32.9 per cent of our children are eligible for free school
meals, with the national average being 23.5 per cent.
Paving the right path forward
From 2013 until 2018 we were graded by Ofsted as “requires improvement”. This
changed in March 2018 when, through sheer determination and the hard work of
highly skilled staff, we finally secured the well-deserved judgment of “good”. The
children receive high-quality teaching and, as a result, outcomes have improved.
East Stanley School does not have a nursery, which means that children enter the
school with varying experiences and differing levels of attainment. The fact that
our children begin their school career with us at such varying starting points is a
REPORT CARD
EAST STANLEY SCHOOL
»Headteacher: Joanne Williams
»Founded in 1972
»Located in County Durham
»Type of school: Local authority
maintained
»No. of students: 212
»Every child in the school is able
to have a free daily breakfast,
as the school is part of the DfE
Magic Breakfast Programme
East Stanley School
27EAST STANLEY SCHOOL |
PRIMARY EDUCATION
challenge for us, which wouldn’t be
quite so difficult if we had our own
nursery. In effect, for many, this means
having to start from scratch.
Improving our teaching with respect
to the basics, such as phonics and
reading, has been at the core of our
successful journey. Our aim is to ensure
that by the time the children reach
secondary school age, they will be well
equipped with the foundations for
future successful performance. Because
of this commitment, we were in the
top 10 per cent of all schools nationally
in terms of our progress rating for
Key Stage 2 results in writing in 2018,
and we are working hard to have this
success replicated in other areas too.
Promoting wellbeing and
parental involvement
We have also worked hard to improve
the inclusion of parents in their
children’s learning. Many parents
found it difficult to support their
children in completing homework
tasks, either because of time
constraints, or because the curriculum
that the children have to face was
too challenging. We listened to these
concerns and saw an opportunity. We
therefore set up a different homework
system, comprising a monthly exercise
in which children and parents could
work together on a specific topic – for
example, the era of Queen Victoria.
The children would then present their
research in any form they chose at the
end of the month. This met the double
goal of engaging parents and making
learning fun for the children.
Another area in which we are
distinctive and of which we’re proud
is our focus on wellbeing, both for
the children and for the staff. Ofsted
recognised as much in their inspection
of the personal development,
behaviour and welfare of the children,
which has always been graded as
“good”. Research shows that half
of all mental health conditions are
established before the age of 14. If we
can put in place preventative measures
in this early phase, it has the potential
to have a profound effect later in life.
Our curriculum plays a huge part in
supporting this work. The aims of our
school curriculum were devised by
all of the staff working together as a
team, based on the attributes we felt
were essential for the development of
a well-rounded individual. We wanted
to ensure that as well as teaching
children the basic skills, we promoted
the development of resilience and
raised their aspirations. We became
involved in a resilience project offered
by the local authority, and with the
support of trained professionals and
psychologists, we developed an action
plan to promote the wellbeing of the
children and the staff.
One of the main aims was to develop
a “growth mindset” in the children to
promote resilience. This is now a focus
of the whole school, beginning in a
weekly assembly with key messages
being reinforced in class. This is
beginning to have an impact on the
attitudes of the children. It’s refreshing
to hear a shift in emphasis from “I
can’t do it!” to “I can’t do it yet!”
We offer weekly “Relax Kids” sessions
to the children. Emma Jenkins, a
Enjoying reading during
World Book Day
Improving our
teaching with
respect to the
basics, such as
phonics and
reading, has
been at the
core of our
successful
journey
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
26 | EAST STANLEY SCHOOL
Headteacher Joanne Williams
and Deputy Headteacher Tracey
Storey working with EYFS
building resilience
Year 5 and 6 residential:
team-building activities
East Stanley School, based in County Durham, has seen many
ups and downs over the past few years. One of the high
points was the school moving from an Ofsted judgment of
“requires improvement” to “good”. However, the school has
also faced challenges. Their area has higher-than-average levels
of deprivation, and coupled with that the staff are seeing more
incidents of children requiring support for their emotional wellbeing.
Headteacher Joanne Williams tells
TheParliamentary Review
more
about how she and her colleagues have sought to tackle this issue.
We are situated in the ex-mining town of Stanley in the county of Durham and,
at the time of writing this article, have 212 pupils on roll. Levels of deprivation are
higher than average – our deprivation index is 0.3, as compared to the national
indicator of 0.21, and 32.9 per cent of our children are eligible for free school
meals, with the national average being 23.5 per cent.
Paving the right path forward
From 2013 until 2018 we were graded by Ofsted as “requires improvement”. This
changed in March 2018 when, through sheer determination and the hard work of
highly skilled staff, we finally secured the well-deserved judgment of “good”. The
children receive high-quality teaching and, as a result, outcomes have improved.
East Stanley School does not have a nursery, which means that children enter the
school with varying experiences and differing levels of attainment. The fact that
our children begin their school career with us at such varying starting points is a
REPORT CARD
EAST STANLEY SCHOOL
»Headteacher: Joanne Williams
»Founded in 1972
»Located in County Durham
»Type of school: Local authority
maintained
»No. of students: 212
»Every child in the school is able
to have a free daily breakfast,
as the school is part of the DfE
Magic Breakfast Programme
East Stanley School
27EAST STANLEY SCHOOL |
PRIMARY EDUCATION
challenge for us, which wouldn’t be
quite so difficult if we had our own
nursery. In effect, for many, this means
having to start from scratch.
Improving our teaching with respect
to the basics, such as phonics and
reading, has been at the core of our
successful journey. Our aim is to ensure
that by the time the children reach
secondary school age, they will be well
equipped with the foundations for
future successful performance. Because
of this commitment, we were in the
top 10 per cent of all schools nationally
in terms of our progress rating for
Key Stage 2 results in writing in 2018,
and we are working hard to have this
success replicated in other areas too.
Promoting wellbeing and
parental involvement
We have also worked hard to improve
the inclusion of parents in their
children’s learning. Many parents
found it difficult to support their
children in completing homework
tasks, either because of time
constraints, or because the curriculum
that the children have to face was
too challenging. We listened to these
concerns and saw an opportunity. We
therefore set up a different homework
system, comprising a monthly exercise
in which children and parents could
work together on a specific topic – for
example, the era of Queen Victoria.
The children would then present their
research in any form they chose at the
end of the month. This met the double
goal of engaging parents and making
learning fun for the children.
Another area in which we are
distinctive and of which we’re proud
is our focus on wellbeing, both for
the children and for the staff. Ofsted
recognised as much in their inspection
of the personal development,
behaviour and welfare of the children,
which has always been graded as
“good”. Research shows that half
of all mental health conditions are
established before the age of 14. If we
can put in place preventative measures
in this early phase, it has the potential
to have a profound effect later in life.
Our curriculum plays a huge part in
supporting this work. The aims of our
school curriculum were devised by
all of the staff working together as a
team, based on the attributes we felt
were essential for the development of
a well-rounded individual. We wanted
to ensure that as well as teaching
children the basic skills, we promoted
the development of resilience and
raised their aspirations. We became
involved in a resilience project offered
by the local authority, and with the
support of trained professionals and
psychologists, we developed an action
plan to promote the wellbeing of the
children and the staff.
One of the main aims was to develop
a “growth mindset” in the children to
promote resilience. This is now a focus
of the whole school, beginning in a
weekly assembly with key messages
being reinforced in class. This is
beginning to have an impact on the
attitudes of the children. It’s refreshing
to hear a shift in emphasis from “I
can’t do it!” to “I can’t do it yet!”
We offer weekly “Relax Kids” sessions
to the children. Emma Jenkins, a
Enjoying reading during
World Book Day
Improving our
teaching with
respect to the
basics, such as
phonics and
reading, has
been at the
core of our
successful
journey
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | EAST STANLEY SCHOOL
mental health practitioner, encourages
the children to recognise, name and
understand the many different feelings
they experience. The approach is
effective in increasing the emotional
literacy of the children. The emphasis
is on taking care of the mind, as well
as the body. Children with deeper
issues also have access to a trained
counsellor, employed by the school for
two half-days per week.
The impact of the work done by the
school has been reflected in several
areas. The attendance of the pupils is
good, and figures are higher than the
national average. Exclusions are rare and
only happen as a very last resort. The
behaviour of the children is excellent;
they are a credit to the school, and
we’re very proud of them. We regularly
receive positive feedback from visitors
about the attitudes and behaviour of
the children in school. We have also
received feedback complimenting the
children on their politeness, manners
and good behaviour when they’ve
been on visits outside school.
Our focus on wellbeing is fully
supported by the governing body. Jason
Wise, chair of governors, explained:
“Joanne and her team work extremely
hard to prepare our children for life
in modern Britain. As a governing
body, we fully support the focus on
emotional wellbeing and developing
resilience through a number of projects
and activities. These projects look at
the whole child and the life skills they
need to be successful throughout their
lives and make positive contributions,
whether that be through school, work,
family or community.”
Moving forward despite
challenges
Our work on emotional wellbeing will
continue despite a lack of funding.
We are not alone in this situation, as
many headteachers face the challenge
of managing a school with insufficient
funding. In fact, many schools – East
Stanley School included – are now at
crisis point, and staff are facing potential
redundancy situations. Recently,
the government has recognised the
importance of promoting mental
health and wellbeing. We hope
funding is provided to allow schools to
continue their good work.
As we move forward, I am certain that
our school will continue to improve.
This is because we have determined
and deeply passionate staff who share
the vision of continuous improvement.
Naturally, the key to our future success
will be to continue on the journey that
has brought us so far in the first place.
We will keep on working hard in order
to achieve nothing but the best for
ourchildren.
One of the
main aims was
to develop a
“growth
mindset” in
the children to
promote
resilience
Key Stage 2 “Relax Kids”
session: peer massage
Emma explained: “Our ‘Relax Kids’
sessions provide the children with a
toolkit of techniques and strategies
that they can use during challenging
times.” She went on to say that the
children she has worked with at
East Stanley have shown evidence of
having a growth mindset, as well as
an understanding that mistakes are
OK and that being resilient is a huge
strength, adding, “It is refreshing to
work in a school that clearly supports
the emotional wellbeing of its pupils.”
29ELDON PRIMARY SCHOOL |
PRIMARY EDUCATION
Headteacher Azra Butt
Pupils love baking at Eldon
Primary School
Since becoming headteacher in September 2010, Azra Butt
has transformed the fortunes of Eldon Primary School.
Now rated “outstanding” by Ofsted and having acquired
the
TES
Primary School of the Year in 2018 accolade, it is at
full capacity and achieving excellent results across the board.
Azra tells
The Parliamentary Review
how she and her colleagues
made this significant improvement in such a short period of
time, while reflecting on her hopes for the future.
Visitors to Eldon would be forgiven for feeling underwhelmed as they park amid
the terraced streets and abandoned mills of inner-city Preston. However, the
moment they enter our outstanding school they are presented with confident,
ambitious and hard-working staff and children.
Within a year of my arrival the change was dramatic and we have built on this year
on year, receiving a “good” rating in 2012 and securing “outstanding” in all areas
in 2017. Our journey was not a simple one and cannot be put down to a single
factor, but we are proud of what we have achieved. We now offer outstanding,
inclusive learning opportunities for children, many of whom are disadvantaged, and
are relishing the opportunity to work in partnership with other schools, both locally
and further afield.
Laying the foundations
Following a successful career honed at a number of schools, I was asked to come to
Eldon because of the position that it had found itself in. It was on the verge of closure,
pupil numbers were below half of the maximum, attendance was less than 90 per
REPORT CARD
ELDON PRIMARY SCHOOL
»Headteacher: Azra Butt
»Founded in 1886
»Based in Preston, Lancashire
»Type of school: Primary school
and nursery
»No. of students: 254
»No. of staff: 38
»EAL: 35 per cent
»SEND: 25 per cent
»Pupil premium: 50 per cent
»Ofsted: “Outstanding”, 2017
»www.eldon.lancsngfl.ac.uk
Eldon Primary School

www.eaststanleyschool.durham.sch.uk

This article was sponsored by East Stanley 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