Godolphin School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Godolphin 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 Godolphin 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 Emma Hattersley
Founded in 1726, we are
one of the oldest girls’
boarding schools in the
Originally founded in the 18th century by Elizabeth
Godolphin, Godolphin School is an independent girls’
school for boarding and day pupils. The founding ethos
of the school was to combine both academic and practical skills,
ensuring a breadth of knowledge and a sense of self-worth
and confidence, something that continues to this day. The
school offers a wide choice of courses at A level, supplemented
with BTECs and other qualifications, and strives to ensure that
creativity is an intrinsic part of the curriculum. Headteacher
Emma Hattersley joined the school in January 2014 and details
the strategic plan that has been central to itsdevelopment.
We were founded in 1726, making us one of the oldest girls’ boarding schools
in the country; Elizabeth Godolphin left money in her will to found a school for
orphaned girls. It was her desire that they were afforded the same opportunities as
their male counterparts and her plan to ensure that they received both academic
and practical skills. These key principles continue today and each year we celebrate
our foundation with a service of thanksgiving and commemoration in the Henry VII
chapel in Westminster Abbey, where Elizabeth is buried.
I joined the school in January 2014 and when I arrived, I set about formulating a
strategic plan entitled “Our Vision and Commitments.” This set out our vision for
the next ten years, taking us up to our 300th anniversary. Prior to my headship
I had worked in other leading boarding schools in pastoral care and also as a
musician so my skills were well suited to this creatively-minded and pastorally-
focused school.
»Headteacher: Emma Hattersley
»Established in 1726
»Based in Salisbury
»Type: Independent girls’
school, boarding and day,
prep and senior
»Ages: 3-18
»No. of pupils: 480
Godolphin School
Highlighting best practice
Ensuring a broad curriculum
The strategic plan covers three
main areas: academic achievement,
pastoral support and community and
infrastructure. We have broadened
our curriculum from prep to upper
sixth, trained staff in mental health,
first aid and pastoral care, and carried
out upgrades to our facilities, ahead
of a major infrastructure project to be
launched once funds permit. We were
awarded the Sunday Times Southwest
Independent School of the Year in
2019; a welcome recognition of
We endeavour to provide a wide
range of subjects offering around 25
courses at A level. Seventy per cent of
our students choose STEM subjects at
this stage and we strive to celebrate
and support this. Supplemented
by several BTECs in the performing
arts and other subjects, we ensure
that creativity takes place alongside
the core academic curriculum. We
have a diverse intake of around 480
pupils and we strive to focus on
each individual’s ambitions, be they
in music, science, the humanities
or art. Our added value measure
is exceptionally strong and using
benchmarks is an effective internal
way to look at an individual child. Our
value added at GCSE was a full grade
above expected levels. At A level,
our students did almost half a grade
better than benchmarking would
Many of our students go on to take art
foundation courses and we organise
various activities such as artist-in-
residence days or residential courses
to support this. We have a 70-minute
lunch break and hold after-school
sessions in order to offer a wide
range of music lessons, academic
and sporting opportunities as well
as other activities that are aimed at
One of our key goals is to create strong
women with varied skillsets. CCF is
very popular among our students and
we have the largest all-girls contingent
in the country, around 80 strong. This
enables us to compete in the Ten Tors
challenge, which our students relish.
Developing soft skills
To honour the intentions of our
founder, we have focused the
curriculum on improving the skills of
our students. In parallel with our A
level courses, I have introduced the
Sixth Form Elizabeth Godolphin Award,
which aims to develop soft skills. We
To honour our founder,
we have focused the
curriculum on improving
our students’ skills
One of our
key goals is to
create strong
women with
varied skillsets
have also created a prep school version
of the award and are about to roll
out another such scheme to address
the skills gap that has affected many
sectors, for our years 7 to 9. This
focuses on digital literacy, cultural
capital, mindfulness, critical thinking
and discernment. It seeks to establish
the overlaps between the humanities
and sciences promoting a full range of
We are committed to working in
our local community, visiting local
primary schools and contributing
to conservation projects. Our pupils
regularly go into local hospitals and
women’s refuges; they bake cakes,
sing and dance or dress up. For a small
school, we raise a lot of money for
local charities and this is very important
to us. This year we are appointing
someone to oversee this outreach and
combine theseprogrammes.
Adapting to budget constraints
With rising costs and the increase
in teacher pension contributions,
everyone in the independent sector is
having to re-evaluate. We have been
planning how we can best use our
resources, working with other schools
to ensure that we are as cost-effective
The increased pension contributions
are likely to cost us an additional
quarter of a million pounds but I think
this new policy will have a negative
impact on the sector. There is no
common way forward. The nature of
independent schools means that they
are all different and therefore require
different solutions. We are determined
not to pass this cost increase onto
the parents – instead, we aim to
increase our intake. There is always
the temptation to reduce the breadth
of the curriculum in order to cut costs
but we are committed to finding a
Recruitment issues have not affected
us greatly so far, as teachers are
naturally attracted to the school and
the area. We have a healthy staff
turnover and we have always had a
strong number of teachers applying
for vacancies, which affords us good
choice. This may change, however, as
many more jobs are being advertised
for schools abroad, reducing the
potential recruitment pool.
Looking ahead, we are planning
to construct a new “Research and
Invention Centre”. This focuses on
STEM subjects and includes coding
facilities, maths suites and design and
technology labs. It also includes an
auditorium to allow the whole school
to gather comfortably as one. The
new library is designed to provide far
more breakout areas, some without
Wi-Fi where collaborative work can
take place. My plan is to have this
completed by 2026, but we require
capital and donations to make this
happen. With this new building, we
aim to support and contribute to our
community involvement and to act
as a location for local primary schools
to take part in “Saturday Science
Sessions”. The new building will
enable us to provide a facility that we
can extend to our local community.
We were
awarded the
Sunday Times
School of the
Year in 2019;
a welcome
recognition of
our efforts
We have the largest all-girls
CCF contingent in the
country, with around 80


This article was sponsored by Godolphin 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