Greenbank Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Greenbank 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 Greenbank 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


Highlighting best practice
Head teacher, Debra Wrigley
Children gain an understanding
of where food comes from as
they grow their own vegetables
Greenbank Primary School, located in Liverpool, is a
thriving, multicultural school with a diverse and unique
population. Head teacher Debra Wrigley arrived not long
after two primary schools had amalgamated, ultimately leading
to the formation of Greenbank, where she is currently in her
12th year of headship. The school is currently oversubscribed,
with many children attending from outside of the catchment
area. They offer a broad curriculum across early years and
primary education; the school is now a leader in many areas,
drawing other teaching staff from local schools to visit the
premises to observe the latest innovative teaching practices the
school utilises.
Our context and area
When I arrived, after two pre-existing primary schools had become Greenbank,
I knew that aspects of our educational provision had to change. We made
the decision to research highly successful schools that had the highest levels of
deprivation. I found a national support school – St George’s in Wandsworth,
London – a school with a monumentally high deprivation index, but achievement
scores in the top five per cent of schools nationally. Thereafter, I worked closely
with the head teacher and strategically planned a three-year vision for our
own school. All Greenbank teachers visited St George’s and observed their
outstanding teaching and programmes; this would undoubtedly cement our vision
going forward, inform our practice and, by default, the greater functionality of
»Head teacher: Debra Wrigley
»Deputy head teacher:
»Founded in 2004
»Based in Liverpool
»Type of school: Local
authority-maintained two-
form entry primary school
»No. of pupils: 470
»No. of teachers: 28
»Ofsted: “Good”
»SEND: 14.7 per cent
»Pupil premium: 33 per cent
»English as an additional language
(EAL): 34per cent
»Reading Quality Mark: Gold
»Maths Quality Mark: Gold
»Maths Mastery Hub School
Greenbank Primary
Governors wholeheartedly supported
my vision, and allowed the investment
in sustained continuous professional
development for teachers in proven
London Challenge programmes.
Working closely with St George’s
school – in conjunction with head
teacher Janet Hilary and head of
school Sarah Collymore – we were
able to establish and implement three
programmes: “Talk for Writing”, “The
Ark Maths Mastery” and “Sounds
Write Phonics Programme”. We
introduced these schemes into the
school over a three-year period.
Be active
We are a proactive school, leading
change within its own network of
schools across the city and in areas
further afield. We have now applied
to be a designated teaching school
and a “Talk for Writing” training
school – there are currently 18 of these
training schools across the country.
We are already a Maths Mastery Hub
School, meaning that we provide
support for eight additional Maths
The “Power of Reading” (POR)
project has also been implemented
throughout the school, one of the
cornerstones of a new, dedicated
literary focus. POR teaches literacy
through the use of high-quality books
and creative teaching approaches,
such as art and drama. It aims
to capture children’s enthusiasm
and enables them to deepen their
understanding of texts, while also
providing a meaningful context for
further writing.
We have five specialist leaders of
education and have subsequently
become an initial teacher training
school through our official partnership
with School Direct teacher training.
We have transformed teaching across
the whole curriculum, leading us to
achieve results that are above the
national average.
An expanding curriculum
This academic year, we have invested
in our science curriculum. We wanted
our science to be more informative,
investigative and experimental. Having
achieved Gold Quality Marks in reading
and mathematics, we have since
decided to apply for the Quality Mark
gold level in science.
After extensive research,
recommendations from other head
teachers across the country and
Ofsted comments on teaching, we
decided to invest in Empiribox training
programmes for our science curriculum.
Our teachers have ongoing professional
development – undertaken every half
term – on a particular scientific concept
that they will teach to the children for
half a term. For example, if the subject
of forces, such as gravity, is taught
to the teachers during an Empiribox
Children take pleasure in
working collaboratively
and discussing their
learning with peers and
Practical science
lessons captivate and
enthuse our pupils
We have
teaching across
the whole
leading us to
achieve results
that are above
the national
Highlighting best practice
training course, our staff will then
tailor the upcoming science curriculum
around the concepts central to that
topic, and teach this subject until it is
thoroughly understood by our students.
Furthermore, our teachers are trained
by secondary school science teaching
specialists across a wide range of
scientific stimuli, allowing them to be
appropriately informed about correct
procedure when, for instance, carrying
out experiments and passing that
knowledge down to pupils.
As a result of this restructuring, science
has now become the talking point
and excitement of the whole school
community; a typical day at Greenbank
is punctuated by popping and
exploding lit Bunsen burners or flight
paths being tested across the school.
We strive to make the sciences as
engaging and stimulating as possible,
while providing the children with a
relevant and challenging education.
In 2017, reading attainment of the
expected standard was at or above
national for the high prior attainment
group. Writing attainment of the
expected standard was also at or above
national for middle and high prior
attainment groups, as was mathematics
attainment, yet that also included
disadvantaged pupils. Finally, reading,
writing and mathematics attainment of
the expected standard was at or above
national for the disadvantaged group.
A majority of pupils – 91 per cent –
met the phonics expected standard in
year1. There has been a monumental
level of development in EYFS – 75 per
cent – whereas the national level is
71 per cent – despite there being a
significantly high index of deprivation
in our school.
Care, well-being and sport
We recognise that the social and
emotional well-being of our children
are of paramount importance. We
employ a full-time pastoral worker
and our pupils have access to yoga,
mindfulness and massage lessons. We
believe this has created a calmer and
far more nurturing environment for
them to excel and succeed.
We are a Gold Level member of the
Liverpool School Sports Partnership,
and we encourage all of our children
to compete in a variety of different
areas against other schools. Our main
strength is our delivery of gymnastics.
We work closely with “Future Gym”, a
highly accredited gymnastics company
with professionally trained gymnastics
coaches, and see Greenbank pupils
excel appropriately in that area. The
after-school clubs we operate twice
a week ensure that gifted gymnasts
have the opportunity to develop their
potential. All children from the ages of
3 to 11 have access to these lessons.
An engaged future
Irrespective of where we have come
from at Greenbank, the days ahead are
undoubtedly bright. With the changes
we have made across the board over
the past 12 years, we have helped to
ensure that our pupils’ environment
fosters an inquisitive spirit. We look
forward to what the future will bring,
and hope to continue moving along
the same upward trajectory that has
led us to this point.
Irrespective of
where we
have come
from at
the days
ahead are
Chess lessons have
enhanced the
children’s ability to
solve problems and
think strategically
Children benefit from
and enjoy a wide range
of physical activities
taught by specialists


This article was sponsored by Greenbank 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