Furzefield Community Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Furzefield Community Primary 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 Furzefield Community Primary 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


Susan Chrysanthou,
Celebrate good
Susan Chrysanthou became head teacher of Furzefield
Primary School in 2010, taking on the task of
revolutionising a school facing social and economic
challenges without and bad behaviour within. In the eight years
since, she has transformed the school into an outstanding place
of early learning, which has become the school of choice for the
local Merstham community and an exemplar of the dividends
paid by investing in students and teachers alike.
I became head teacher of Furzefield Primary School in September 2010, and it was
evident for learning to occur tackling poor behaviour was my primary task. Raising
aspirations and expectations was fundamental to my approach for addressing this.
I needed to build a leadership team of individuals who shared my drive to make
Furzefield the school of choice for the local community. My vision was to instil
a love of learning in every child who came here. Furzefield is a two-form entry
primary with a nursery, children’s centre and specialist resource centre within a
large housing estate that has multiple social and economic challenges.
Making a change
Restructuring senior leadership was vital to bring about the change I wanted.
The new structure comprised two deputies, a school business manager, an
inclusion manager and four achievement leaders. The distributed leadership
model allowed strong leadership to cascade throughout the school and enabled
good communication channels, providing me with knowledge of what worked
well in the school and what did not. The restructuring process was lengthy and
»Head teacher:
»Founded in 1994
»Based in Merstham, Surrey
»Type of school: Community
primary and nursery school
»No. of pupils: 505
»No. of staff: 94 (29 teachers)
»Pupil premium: 30 per cent
»Children from an ethnic
minority background: 25 per
»SEND: 20 per cent
»EAL: 17 per cent
Furzefield Primary and
Nursery School
Highlighting best practice
involved some difficult conversations,
but was worth the perseverance
because when you have the right
structure and the right people in each
position, it creates a strong team that
can make significant changes to the
Equally important is a robust governing
body that has a good knowledge of
the school. Crucial to providing the
governing body with an extensive
understanding of the school’s
provision, the chair of governors
and I meet each week and I provide
detailed head teacher’s termly reports,
alongside staff presentations at
governor and curriculum committee
meetings, and classroom visits.
When I joined, poor behaviour was
prevalent and hindered learning. It
was therefore vital that the focus
of behavioural management was
transferred to reinforce positive
behavioural choices. I introduced
Caught Being Good Cards (CBGs),
which are issued to children caught
doing the right thing. Such deeds
include being kind to others,
producing outstanding work, following
instructions and respecting all
community members. The pupils highly
value CBGs and children receive star
badges, denoting how many CBGs
they have earned, which are worn
Teaching and learning
Teaching and learning is the
predominant focus of a head
teacher; therefore good behaviour
management and the appointment
of a school business manager were
important to facilitate concentration
on the fundamental work of the
school and focus on the children.
Improving teaching and learning
meant enthusing staff with new
approaches. I invited Pie Corbett to
teach our children and getting the
results he did was incredibly inspiring
for staff to watch. His strategies
are now embedded within how we
teach writing, which have driven
Across the school, we use many
monitoring tools to evaluate the
quality of teaching and learning,
including book scrutiny, walkabouts,
talking to the children, evaluating
planning and six-weekly pupil progress
meetings. Teachers meet with
members of the senior leadership
team to look at the progress of each
child in their class. At the beginning of
each year, we draw up a year planner
denoting which tools will be used by
who and when.
We have many children with pupil
premium, meaning we have to work
hard to give them the opportunity
to succeed. Every six weeks, each
pupil has a ten-minute mentoring
session with their class teacher, where
together they assess the pupil against
progress, behaviour and participation
targets and decide on new goals for
the term ahead. We offer wrap-around
care from 7.45am until 6pm, a full-
time home–school link worker and two
Instilling a love of
on the
work of the
school and
focus on the
emotional literacy support assistants
who work in the Nurture Room.
Nurturing staff and children has played
a big part in improving our school, and
the Nurture Room, supporting children
through emotional challenges, is at
the heart of our work, underpinning
We pride ourselves on our partnership
with parents. Working collaboratively
with parents to do the best for every
child is very powerful, and in 2014
we achieved the Leading Parent
Partnership award, which we have
recently received again for a further
three years.
Furzefield employs the UN Convention
on the Rights of the Child throughout
the curriculum, and in recognition of
our work we were awarded the Rights
Respecting School Silver Award in
October 2016.
We advocate a growth mindset and
hold the simple belief that intelligence
can be grown and improved by trying
things we find difficult. This approach
can have a hugely positive impact on a
child’s attitude to learning. We provide
a diverse and stimulating curriculum
with as much learning as possible
occurring outside the classroom, such
as “Forest School”, where children
receive education in general survival
skills, and received the Learning
Outside the Classroom Silver Award
this year. We encourage participation
in sports and have achieved the School
Games Silver Award. We run a mile
every day on our purpose-built running
track, which was officially opened
by Olympic athlete Shireen Bailey
in 2017. We also offer a Children’s
University and every child has a
Children’s University passport in which
they collect stamps for participation
in extracurricular activities, ultimately
leading to graduation ceremonies
hosted by the Mayor of Croydon.
Our key strategies to improve the
school have been to
»Celebrate good behaviour
»Build the team you need
»Raise expectations
»Monitor and track progress
»Work in partnership with parents
and governors
»Offer a rich and diverse curriculum.
Improving the school has seen it
become the school of choice for the
local community. Previously, new
parents were upset if they were given
a place at Furzefield; however, now
we have had parents in tears if they
don’t get a place here. Our Ofsted
reports illustrate an exponential rise
in standards since 2010, and our KS2
progress results have put us in the
top 10 per cent of schools for two
consecutive years – a considerable
achievement considering that our
catchment area is ranked 6,373 out of
32,844 by the 2016 Index of Multiple
Deprivation (one being the most
deprived). Attendance is now 96.4 per
cent, which for a school in our context
is outstanding and indicates that our
children love school and learning – a
result that has always been our aim.
Create a
strong team
that can make
changes to
the school’s
Offer a rich and diverse
Raise expectations


This article was sponsored by Furzefield Community Primary 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