Godfrey Ermen Memorial CE Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Godfrey Ermen Memorial CE 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 Godfrey Ermen Memorial CE 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


Headteacher Jenny Clancy
The Manchester Bee
Salford-based Godfrey Ermen Memorial CE Primary School
(or GEMS, as they are often called) believe that a successful
school rests on successful values – values which encourage
children to take pride in what they do and help them to
thrive. The school also focuses heavily on literacy, which they
believe is the foundational skill from which all learning derives.
Headteacher Jenny Clancy reports that children are benefiting
from Ofsted’s new and more flexible approach to developing
curriculums. Jenny tells
TheParliamentary Review
more about
the school’s system of values, its academic approach and what’s
going on in the broader educational landscape.
We are a warm and friendly school with a family-friendly environment. At our core
is a strong Christian ethos which holds that every individual has infinite value and
deserves our care and respect.
The values that underpin success
The goal that we at Godfrey Ermen have set ourselves is the following: to ensure
that every child is given the opportunity to reach their full potential in every area of
school life, be it academic, social, physical or moral.
Underpinning this ambition is a hard-working and deeply committed team of staff
who are well versed in what a good education looks and sounds like. Everyone in
the team is constantly aware of their duty to provide our children with a quality
education in a setting that is challenging while at the same time being friendly,
happy and motivational.
»Headteacher: Jenny Clancy
»Founded in 1903
»Based in Salford
»Services: Primary (3 to 11)
»No. of pupils: 400
»No. of staff: 50
»The school is named after
a Victorian philanthropist,
Godfrey Ermen, who owned a
mill in Eccles
Godfrey Ermen Memorial
CE Primary School
Highlighting best practice
Another side of our value system is
embodied by our “PRIDE” approach,
which drives our school forward. This
stems from our motto, “We take PRIDE
in all we do”, which was inspired by
the Olympics. It focuses on attitudes
to learning and asks from children that
they take pride – genuine pride – in
their work.
The PRIDE acronym represents
Personal excellence, Respect, Inspire,
Determination and Equality. These
values underpin our ‘ways of being
together’ while also encouraging
positive attitudes to learning and
life. They have been an invaluable
reference point in challenging times
– for instance, when some of our
pupils were affected by the events
at Manchester Arena, our values
informed our reflections, provided a
source of comfort and promoted a
feeling of togetherness.
All staff are organised into curriculum
teams and take the PRIDE values as
a driving force in terms of school
development. Our year 6 pupils also
take on greater responsibility by being
PRIDE leaders by leading teams such
as the eco-council, the school council,
a playground helpers, librarians and
dinnertime helpers, all of whom similarly
champion the concept of PRIDE.
Every week in school, we have a
weekly discussion of the values – and
to help promote these values, we also
have assembly themes which further
celebrate and embed them. Often, we
will do this by, for example, linking
them with religious celebrations, world
events and special days to promote
diversity and inclusion.
The focus on phonics has been a
positive step in the development of
early reading skills, however, I am
sceptical of the emphasis which is
placed on the use of “alien words”
in the year 1 Phonics Screener. This
means that we have to spend time
with children applying their phonic
knowledge to “non-real” words when
we could be using that time to widen
their vocabulary and spelling common
exception words.
For us, the enhancement of vocabulary
and development of spelling skills are
a key priority, and the narrow focus
on phonics does not address these
two important areas. This means
that we have to find time to give our
youngest children the opportunity
to acquire these literacy skills in an
already packed timetable. However,
the personalisation agenda of the
curriculum should give us the licence
to spend time on areas that we know
are important to our children.
Reading skills for life
Academically speaking, we place
especially great emphasis on reading
skills, as this is the pivotal moment
where things can go wrong for a
child’s education. In this regard, we
work hard to tailor the curriculum to
the needs of the children while also
taking care to put in place the right
incentives for children to aspire for
excellence. Parents and guardians
are involved with their children’s
learning as well through our reading
partnership scheme. The aim here is for
children to develop a love of reading
through the habit of enjoying books
together every evening. We believe
Every week in
school, we
have a weekly
discussion of
the values
Inspiring a love of
Learning and fun can go
that reading skills are too important for
standards to berelaxed.
Because of this, I’m sceptical of the
emphasis which we’re asked to place
on “alien words” when it comes to
phonics. Essentially, children are being
told to pronounce pseudo-words
on the assumption that doing so
gives them a deeper, more intuitive
understanding of how to read.
Icansay with confidence that this
method is not working well for a large
proportion of our children, which leads
me and other teachers to question
Eyes on the horizon
In terms of the broader sector, I’m
happy to see that Ofsted has changed
its approach to the formation of
curriculums. Creating a curriculum
used to feel like a treadmill of
objective-led learning, but it now
feels more dynamic and flexible and
facilitates deeper understanding and
knowledge. Aside from helping the
children academically, it’s also more
enjoyable now.
We know our context and pupils
well and have shaped our curriculum
around them in order to maximise
learning. We strongly believe in using
the curriculum to spark interest and
curiosity and plan a range of visits and
extra-curricular activities to ensure
that our pupils have a wide range of
childhood experiences, such as playing
an instrument, attending forest school,
learning a new skill and participating in
a residential trip.
As we move forward, we see in
front of us both opportunities and
challenges. One positive trend in the
education sector is the renewal of
interest in mental health and emotional
wellbeing at an earlier age. After
all, research suggests that it’s just as
effective to tackle mental health early
in life as it is to treat it later on, if not
more effective. However, it’s not just
children’s wellbeing we’re interested
in; we’re also highly conscious of the
staff’s wellbeing and, in particular,
the work-related stress they might be
experiencing. This means speaking
with one another and figuring out
more effective ways of using our time,
paying attention to research in this
area and looking at how we can adapt
our practices accordingly.
Although this is a challenge, it’s a
challenge we embrace – and our
‘Thrive Approach’ is enhancing our
work in this area.
In recent years, one of the main
challenges we face in further
developing our educational provision
and standards is the increasingly tight
school budget, which can act as a
barrier to our plans and has required
difficult decisions to be made.
However, we will continue to tailor
our practices as closely as possible to
the needs of our children across the
board. Indeed, this continual striving
for improvement is a central part of
our school culture. When we look
back at the huge strides forward we’ve
previously made, we’re given every
reason to believe that our best and
most exciting days lie ahead of us.
speaking, we
place especially
great emphasis
on reading
Expanding horizons


This article was sponsored by Godfrey Ermen Memorial CE 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 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