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 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