Hextable Primary School

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


Library time with the head
Pupils are encouraged to take
pride in their learning
Following the amalgamation of an infant and junior school in
2007, Hextable Primary School began its journey. The first
two Ofsted gradings had been “satisfactory” when Suzie
Hall was appointed acting head teacher in September 2012.
She had been deputy head teacher previously and so knew
the school well – its staff, pupils, families and its capacity to
improve. The school has since gone from strength to strength,
the Ofsted grading now rising to “good”, and recently it had
a £2.6 million expansion to enlarge it from a two-form entry
primary school to three form.
Striving to improve the school while maintaining high standards of teaching and
learning have always been our primary focus. This goes alongside our vision of
“happy, positive, successful life-long learners”
which underpins everything we do.
Many changes have taken place, and this has required careful planning and decisive
leadership to keep the school community on board.
Accelerating progress
A key priority for the school was evidencing pupil progress. We began by ensuring
that we had secure attainment on entry data for foundation stage and introduced
a robust tracking system for the whole school. We then introduced regular pupil
progress meetings to highlight children not making the expected progress as
defined by the national standards, and planned actions that would be implemented
to accelerate progress. Support staff were trained in specific interventions to
support individuals and small groups.
»Head teacher: Suzie Hall
»Based in Hextable, Kent
»Type of school: Large semi-
rural school catering for pupils
in Hextable, Swanley and
surrounding villages
»No. of pupils: 440
»No. of staff: 23 teachers
»Pupil premium: 13 per cent
Hextable Primary
Highlighting best practice
Marking and feedback has been
one of the biggest tools for creating
good pupil progress. We reviewed
our marking policy to ensure marking
was purposeful. It now focuses on
feedback, development and challenges
to encourage children to take the
“next step”. Children have responded
positively, reacted accordingly and now
know where they have been successful
and where a little more effort or input
is needed.
Creative curriculum
We created a curriculum that has
encouraged children to be critical
thinkers, to show resilience and adopt
a growth mindset. Our curriculum
focuses on children’s interests, making
links and fostering enquiry-based
learning. Children solve their own
problems and find ways of answering
their own questions. They talk about
what they are learning and not what
they are doing. We are teaching
children the skills for life and often
for jobs that don’t yet exist. We use
“Building, Learning, Power” and refer
to the attributes that help us learn.
We have a vibrant environment and
use the outdoors to maximise learning.
The children love creating stories in the
tee-pee, looking for nature in the pond
or snuggling down to read a book
in the willow dome. When working
on a topic we try to give the children
a “hook” such as asking the pupils
to dress up for the day, turning the
classroom into a crime scene, having
a music festival or even the mysterious
appearance of a flying car. The aim is
for children to be highly engaged and
develop a range of skills and attributes
that will be used throughout their
education andbeyond.
Pupil voice and behaviour
Involving pupils in whole-school
decision-making has been part of
our journey to listen and act on pupil
voice. This has undoubtedly had a
positive effect on the school’s success.
School councillors, elected by their
classmates, have carried out their
own “Insted”, which was our name
for the school council-run, Ofsted-
inspired inspection performed by our
pupils. Thisinvolvedlooking at books,
listening in on lessons, talking to
pupils and evaluating the impact of
The flying car was a
great inspiration for
pupils’ writing
Marking and
feedback has
been one of
the biggest
tools for
creating good
pupil progress
»Evidence of creative curriculum providing
opportunities to develop key skills in real-life contexts
»Children experience success in extracurricular
activities – music, sport and dance competitions
»Parental engagement focusing on children’s learning
and progress
»A nurturing environment, providing support for
children’s emotional health and well-being
»Attainment for pupils at KS1 and KS2 is above Kent
and national standards in all subjects
»Progress for reading is in the top 20 per cent
of schools nationally. Progress for all pupils has
continually improved and is now above the
»Foundation stage pupils achieving a “good level of
development” is well above the national average
School councillors then produced a
report that included some actions we
needed to address. They presented
a parking report which was sent to
the local authority, parish council and
local police community support officer.
Their voice was loud and clear and
illustrated that we needed to be more
considerate when parking. Fortunately,
a new car park and drop-off bay, as
part of the school’s expansion, has
helped alleviate the parking problems.
We also have house captains who lead
and organise whole-school events,
work as part of a team and spur their
house on to do their very best.
We have high expectations and
encourage and promote positive
behaviour. The children maintain
our expectations and are rewarded
for demonstrating respect. Excellent
behaviour enables both teachers to
teach and pupils to learn effectively.
Enhancement around the
Our recent expansion has enhanced
resources and teaching spaces within
the school. We now boast an all-
weather court which is used for PE,
playtimes and extracurricular activities.
We have a beautiful library with cosy
corners and a den to snuggle up and
read in. We have a fully committed
staff who value the importance of
extracurricular clubs, encourage
children to learn new skills and
participate in events with other local
schools. The forest school club has
enabled children to take risks and
work collaboratively. The school’s
choir is going to the O2 and will be
performing as part of the largest
school choir in the world. Sports teams
reach district finals. Children respond
enthusiastically to these opportunities
and it has given pupils the opportunity
to shine.
The commitment of governors has
provided essential support to the
leadership team. This is evidenced
through frequent learning walks and
visits with a focus on our school’s
improvement priorities. A successful
school isn’t just about the head
teacher; it’s the team that is created.
The staff all share my vision and
values and they make it happen for
A successful
school isn’t
just about the
head teacher;
it’s the team
that is created
Forest school club
enjoying the outdoor


This article was sponsored by Hextable 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