Fulwood St Peters CE Primary School

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

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 Fulwood St Peters CE Primary School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Exploring the local environment
is important
The outdoor learning
Unlocking potential” has been the mission statement at
StPeter’s School for over a decade. Having received four
congratulation letters from the education secretary for
standards in mathematics and phonics over the last two years,
they have been focusing on developing ways in which children
learn across the whole curriculum, providing them with learning
that is tailored to their needs. Headteacher David Merritt tells
The Parliamentary Review
Building on a platform of solid achievement in English and maths, we have already
worked on complementary success areas, including the School Games Gold Mark
and Eco-Schools Green Flag awards. With a diverse and multicultural setting made
up of 17 different ethnic groups, serving a community of learners from nursery
upwards with a broad range of abilities, we wanted to look at how what we taught
matched our specific children.
Setting goals
The first stage of development was the statement of intent – a definition
setting out the aims of our educational philosophy, including the knowledge
and understanding children need to acquire at each stage of their learning
journey. Alongside significant child, teacher, governor and parental feedback,
other sources of information were looked at to determine the types of learning
needs that our children had and how this reflected the school’s context within
»Headteacher: David Merritt
»Founded in 1976
»Type of school: Church of
England Voluntary Aided
Primary single form with
»Based in Preston, Lancashire
Fulwood St Peters CE
Primary School
Highlighting best practice
Office for National Statistics data
and the children’s completion of
their own “Drawing the Future”
programme – an education and
employer international research
project backed by the NAHT and
OECD – provided the starting point
for discussion with the governor’s
standards committee. Some
children lacked aspiration and were
disconnected from the purpose and
real-life value of learning. Others
had limited opportunity and life
experience to develop general
knowledge and independence. We
were then in a position to start
identifying key drivers that would be
central to our curriculumprovision.
Having staff who attended training
on use of evidence-based methods
to inform practice, we wanted
to see what impact our choices
would have on the children’s
development. The Education
Endowment Foundation (EEF) has
completed numerous studies that
linked to our drivers and showed
positive impact on learning. Each
driver was then matched to relevant
research. The drivers were then set
and ready to be rolled out to all
staff. They included real-life learning
experiences, leadership teams,
independence skills and time to
follow subjects in depth.
Acting on our research
We are fortunate to have an over
three acres of grounds. A key area
for improvement was to improve
staff confidence in teaching
outdoors. We started to develop
teachers’ understanding of the value
of this by using EEF resources such
as educating outdoors, forest school
adventure and outdoor adventure
learning. The acquisition of an
additional plot of land from the
local council then provided us with
a designated area for forest school
activities. To trial its use we created
forest school extracurricular sessions.
These were quickly oversubscribed
and are now being implemented into
Many of these drivers are typically
seen in good early years teaching, so
much of the development in teaching
methods and attitudes to learning
was for later year groups. Having
successfully introduced coaching
methods through introducing the
children to collaborative learning
Learning in teams is a
key driver
A key area for
was to
improve staff
confidence in
Real-life, practical and outdoor learning: Seeing how subject matter
fits into the real world and getting children active with kinaesthetic
Leading teams: Communication and organisation skills to learn
Choice: Active rather than passive learning which reflects personal
Independence: Developing skills to learn and research more
Depth: Where there is scope in the curriculum to pursue subject
matter in more detail, following children’s interests.
and peer tutoring, we were able
to focus on other areas for staff
growth. Training on meta-cognition
and self-regulation highlighted the
importance of independent learning,
choices and children’s confidence.
One of the balances to strike was
how much choice children could have
within the confines of the national
curriculum. Some subjects have been
easier than others. For example, in
history the time periods that need to
be studied are stipulated, whereas in
art we had a free rein to link artists
to the topic work.
A direct way to address the
children’s understanding of the use
of learning was to invite parents
to explain their own occupations.
Being near a hospital, several
doctors and nurses were able to
talk to the children. A range of
other occupations such as running
businesses, aircraft engineering,
farming and even beekeeping spiked
children’s interest and understanding
of how their learning fitted into real-
life contexts.
It was important for subject leaders
to apply these drivers to their own
subjects. The staff at St Peter’s
have a range of experiences and
strengths. Subject leaders were
paired depending upon their
experience so that skills could be
shared as they worked together to
put the drivers into each subject.
In geography we have been able
to incorporate all of the drivers
in each year group while utilising
the outdoor space that we have in
school. Each class teacher was then
given the freedom to plan for their
year group and create themes for
learning where multiple subjects
were based around a central topic.
The study of the Second World
War in one year incorporated
history, geography, French, music
The acquisition
of an additional
plot of land from
the local council
then provided us
with a
designated area
for forest school
Keeping active!
Moving forward
As we move forward we believe we are
well positioned to balance achievement
in the subjects that are conspicuously
measured with skill, attitudes and
ingredients to learning that our
particular children need. Challenge lies
in balancing subject coverage with the
need to adapt it, and how to do all this
within time constraints. Being clear as
to what kind of learners we wish to
create – what the characteristics of the
end point are with children in year six
– will help measure and evaluate how
successful we have been.


This article was sponsored by Fulwood St Peters CE Primary School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.