Fulwell Junior School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Fulwell Junior 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 Fulwell Junior 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


Peter Speck, head teacher
Celebrating The Queen’s
90th birthday
In October 2017, Fulwell Junior School, based in Sunderland,
received confirmation that it had retained its “outstanding”
grade from Ofsted. Head teacher, Peter Speck, explains that it
is an accolade which the school has held since November 2006.
The school, serving students aged between seven and eleven,
has been able to maintain this status in a rapidly changing
educational landscape. Peter documents the key policies and
structures which make the school what it is today and calls for
stability in the sector going forward.
Taking up post in January 2015, I quickly set about the task of assessing where the
school was at. I discovered many strengths, notably the delivery of exciting annual
projects and a thriving school choir. Governance was effective, and there was a
pool of talented staff, some of whom had devoted years of successful service to the
school. Many of these strong elements clearly needed to be retained.
Other areas of the school required immediate attention. It quickly became apparent
that to maintain our “outstanding” status, we needed to continue to deliver a highly
innovative curriculum, but initiate a drive to improve upon basic standards. Time
invested into further improving the quality of teaching would be essential forsuccess.
All this came at a time of huge change within educational policy. There was a
new curriculum to get to grips with, assessment had undergone a complete
transformation and a new format of tests were being introduced to the SATs.
Ofsted had recently revised its inspection schedule, creating the most rigorous
benchmark to judge schools to date. The bar had clearly been raised! The challenge
ahead was clear: how to move an already successful school forward, while
»Head teacher: Peter Speck
»Founded in 1909
»Based in Sunderland
»Junior school providing for
pupils between years 3 and 6
»No. of pupils: 350
»Students from the Fulwell
Junior School choir were
asked to perform at Durham
Cathedral in both 2016 and
Fulwell Junior School
Highlighting best practice
grappling with a bewildering amount
of policy change in such a brief period.
What emerged from this early
evaluative work became the
foundation stones for a new vision
to move the school forward. After
much work with governors, staff
and students, we condensed our
new mission statement into a
simple tagline: Respect, Aspire,
Achieve – Be the best that you can
be. The inspiration behind “
best you can be
“ followed a talk
delivered in assembly one day from
Josef Craig, a local athlete who had
overcome amazing odds to become
one of England’s most successful
Paralympians. We determined that to
remain outstanding, everything we did
from now on had to be underpinned
by those ten simple words.
Being respectful
Being respectful towards others is
a key value of ours, one which we
work hard to fully embed. We unpick
exactly what showing respect means,
so that the children fully understand
what is expected of them. Any adult
can nominate a child for a Respect
certificate, which often celebrates the
simple things, like holding a door open
for a visitor, or saying good morning
to a teacher. The rare occasions
when the children are disrespectful
towards an adult are categorised
and meticulously recorded. Teachers
check these logs daily and make
time to work with children to fully
explain what aspect of their behaviour
needs to change. This is not seen as
punishment, rather proactive work to
transform behaviour.
Becoming Rights Respecting
Fulwell Juniors is a place where
children’s rights are respected and
understood by all. We are guided by
the UN Convention on the Rights of
the Child and work hard to embed
Our school choir have
performed with The
Choristers at Durham
respectful is a
key value of
ours, one
which we
work hard to
fully embed
these values into daily school life. We
believe that by doing so, we are giving
children the best chance to lead happy,
healthy lives and to be responsible,
active “global citizens”.
Developing aspirations
We aim to open the eyes of our
children to the exciting world of work
and opportunity that awaits them
when they eventually leave school.
We want them to understand the
routes into work and the sheer variety
of careers on offer, as well as being
aware of the resilience that is often
required to be successful on their
chosen path. Our ADMIRE & ASPIRE
project was a spectacular success,
flooding the school with a variety of
professionals from a diverse range
of sectors. The children met fashion
designers and engineers, accountants
and business leaders, armed police and
circus performers. The children visited
workplaces and colleges, drawing
inspiration from others.
Most of all, we help the children
understand the link between hard work
and success, and to appreciate the role
the school plays on this journey.
Great achievement
We are proud of our academic record
over time, consistently attaining
above national average in reading,
writing and arithmetic, but feel that
judgement alone is insufficient to
describe the characteristics of our
successful school.
Every single one of our children
achieves in more ways than they
know. We help them to become better
citizens, skilled artists, competent
mathematicians, able readers, able
writers. We help them to develop
excellent social skills, be creative
thinkers, confident talkers, able
technicians and even teachers to their
own peers.
We celebrate achievement in many
ways: assemblies, newsletters, Open
Days, weekly parental updates via
a smartphone app. We hand out
certificates, give positive feedback in
books, seek publicity in the press.
Every two years a team of dedicated
staff from across the school put a
talented cast together to perform a
Shakespeare play at Northern Stage,
Newcastle. Last year’s rendition
AMidsummer Night’s Dream
performed in front of 500 people,
gained glowing reviews. Our school
choir have sung with The Choristers at
Durham Cathedral, our best footballers
have trained at Sunderland Football
Club’s Academy of Light.
If we can instil in all our children the
will to
be the best that they can be,
have largely succeeded in fulfilling the
main aim of Fulwell Juniors.
Moving forward
Looking ahead, our goal is to strengthen
our links with the community and local
environment. Our main hope is that
we are left alone to do so, without
having to grapple with yet another
huge shift in education policy.
This year we are embarking on a
new and exciting project working in
partnership with Newcastle University
as part of their ongoing research
programme. Pupils will have the
opportunity to take partin ‘mini
internships’, university-led lessons
as part of their active involvement in
the research process, while fuelling
aspirations for longer-term study
infurther education. As much of
the research is focused on aspects
of language development, scientific
research and child development, we
anticipate that the benefits will be
mutual, positively contributing to our
core principles and vision – that the
journey of learning need never end.
Every one of
our children
achieves in
more ways
than they
Mia playing Puck,
Night’s Dream,
Northern Stage


This article was sponsored by Fulwell Junior 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