Hebburn Lakes Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Hebburn Lakes 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 Hebburn Lakes 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
Tony Watson, head teacher
Year 6 learning the importance
of exercise and keeping fit
Hebburn Lakes Primary opened in 2012 after the closure
of two local primary schools. Based in Hebburn, South
Tyneside, the school offers a harmonious, caring and
inclusive environment for its 430 students. Head teacher Tony
Watson discusses key areas of success within the school and
why education in England should be reformed to better help
children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.
Our school has a very broad spectrum of key values that we champion to ensure
excellent staff performance and excellent education for our children. We are a
school that champions inclusivity, meaning that at the heart of our ethos is a
commitment to providing all children with the education they need to serve them
throughout their lives. Accordingly, our two behavioural support units provide
high-quality education and care for up to 12 pupils referred to us from across the
local authority who have been identified as having significant behavioural, social or
emotional difficulties. Since opening, we have taken great strides in making sure our
school is both inclusive and high-performing. There is an encumbrance, however, in
the way education across England is being delivered that prevents schools, such as
ours, guaranteeing that every child has access to the kind of education they deserve.
One of the characteristics of our school that we are particularly proud of is that
we have a broad, forward-thinking curriculum. When deciding on the kind of
values we wanted our curriculum to be based upon, I felt that what was needed
was to create a school that could foster both a strong learning culture but also
have outstanding behaviour. Central to this, there needed to be a stimulating
»Head teacher: Tony Watson
»Deputy head: Amanda Moody
»Assistant head: Susan Corker
»Based in Hebburn, South
»No. of pupils: 430
»Pupil premium: 51 per cent
»SEND: 25 per cent
»Two SEBD units
»Ofsted: “Good”, Jan 2014
Hebburn Lakes
Primary School
environment for children and staff
alike. Working tirelessly to implement
this vision, we are now certain that our
school is a place where children feel
both safe and protected, so much so
that they are confident enough to take
risks regarding their inquisitiveness and
learning. Accordingly, we deliberately
made the curriculum as interesting
and fun as possible, but key to this is
the well-equipped and resourced areas
we have built into our school. We
have a dedicated science, technology,
engineering and maths section, and
have recently attached a library onto
the school in order to encourage a love
of books and reading.
As well as our curriculum, we actively
think through and plan as many
“life experiences” as we can into
our children’s year. Given that the
catchment area that the school serves
has very high levels of deprivation,
many children do not have the
opportunity to experience things that
most children around the country do.
As a result, we organise trips to enrich
learning, such as the pantomime,
the Lake District, Hadrian’s Wall and
Beamish Hall.
To combat the social challenges
our school faces, we employ two
attendance and welfare officers
who oversee the daily monitoring of
attendance and ensure that families
continue to be engaged with their
children’s learning. Guaranteeing that
the school has a range of effective
strategies, and making sure that pupils
regularly attend and are on time,
their work has resulted in attendance
consistently being good. They also
oversee the looked-after children
programme and are key to the internal
behaviour system within the school.
The impact of their work is that we
have many parents who now use
the school as a first port of call when
trouble arises in either their or their
children’s lives.
Apart from the belief that every
child has a common entitlement
to a broad and balanced academic
and social curriculum, we value all
children equally and strive to eliminate
prejudice and discrimination.
In addition to our mainstream classes,
we have two additional small classes
that take children with behavioural,
social or emotional difficulties. The
quality of care, expertise and teaching The school places a high
emphasis on children
being happy
As well as our
curriculum, we
actively think
through and
plan as many
‘life experiences’
as we can into
our children’s
Highlighting best practice
in the behaviour units is highly
effective, resulting in pupils making
excellent progress, which often results
in either their successful return to
normal school classes in their own
locality or admittance into special
schools where needed. Not only that,
but some come into our mainstream
classes and stay with us.
My wider work for the local authority
informs me of the fact that the number
of pupils with additional educational
needs or disabilitiesattending
mainstream schools has risen
substantially in the past four years. This
has the unfortunate consequence of
putting cash-strapped local councils
under increasing pressure. These
budget cuts, coupled with a rising
demand, is putting a strain on councils’
abilities to offer credible long-term
places to pupils who need extra help.
This is also a view shared by the Local
Government Association (LGA). This
year, funds have been set aside for
1.2 million children in England classed
as having special educational needs
– down from 1.3 million in 2015.
Unless local authorities receive enough
government funding to cover high-
cost special needs, they will not have
the money to allocate extra cash to
schools such as ours that admit higher
than average numbers of children with
additional needs.
The funding issue is also compounded
by the fact that schools with the
expertise to rehabilitate these children
are being inhibited and are unable
to take a greater number because
the referred children come onto the
roll of the school. We know that
the vast majority of them will not
make national standards regarding
attainment and progress measures in
examinations, as this adversely affects
the school’s data. Head teachers are
therefore reluctant to take children
with special educational needs and
disability. Tests are the only measure
our scrutineers judge schools by,
from an inspection point of view. If
there were a credible “filter” which
was acknowledged by bodies such
as DfE, Ofsted, regional school’s
commissioners, examination boards
etc., the future could be so different
for these children. Indeed, there would
be a willingness to include them in
“mainstream” settings, possibly within
special classes or units, and reintegrate
them through the conventional classes
in schools.
We know that most teaching in our
school is outstanding and none less
than good. From our point of view,
the standard of teaching is critical to
the progress of our children from their
starting points. However, the social
and psychological support given to the
children and parents from our officers,
the broad curriculum, the high-quality
team working from teaching assistants,
the reward and behaviour system
and our expertise in behaviour and
childhood disorders give the school
a winning formula in all areas. These
methods would allow more children
to have access to this winning formula
across a wider spectrum of schools in
deprived areas.
We know that
most teaching
in our school
is outstanding
and none less
than good
Enriching the lives of
students by experiential
learning in specialised areas
Children are treated
equally and feel


This article was sponsored by Hebburn Lakes 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