Holte School

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


Left: Assistant Headteacher and
Pastoral Lead, Lee Farmer
Right: Deputy Headteacher and
Inclusion Lead, Andy Oliver
Inclusive practice in action
Located in the heart of Birmingham, Holte have adapted
their provision to meet the pressing demands of their local
community. Rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, they focus on
developing a restorative approach to conflict and work closely
with local providers to prevent and address issues around
violence and radicalisation. Students are intimately involved with
these programmes, and Holte was the first school in the country
to provide college-accredited mediation training for both staff
and pupils. Deputy Headteacher Andy Oliver and Assistant
Headteacher Lee Farmer tell
The Parliamentary Review
We are an “outstanding” secondary school set right in the heart of an ethnically
diverse and culturally rich community. Unfortunately, a prevalent gang and drug
culture, poor housing, and high levels of violent crime all have an impact on our
students and their families. The area is classed as one of the most deprived in the
country and is a first point of settlement for many economic migrants, refugees and
displaced persons. The demographic trend is for economically successful families
to move out of the area, leaving the most vulnerable behind. This leads to huge
challenges for our inclusion team.
The mental health and wellbeing of pupils are a high priority, and we strive to
demonstrate how they can keep themselves and others safe both in school and in
the wider community. It would be very difficult to rely on the expertise of our own
staff to deliver everything we need in terms of achieving these aims. That is why
we have built up a huge range of partnerships, which have enabled us to provide a
highly effective service to the young people of Lozells and Newtown.
»Deputy Headteacher and
Inclusion Lead: Andy Oliver
»Assistant Headteacher and
Pastoral Lead: Lee Farmer
»Established in the 1960s
»Based in Birmingham
»Type: Secondary
»No. of pupils: 1,140
Holte School
Highlighting best practice
Our strategy incorporates key
aspects of the Pivotal programme for
behaviour management. We are a
national Pivotal hub school, and all
newly qualified teachers and trainees
undertake a four-week training
programme in the Pivotal principles.
Training is also offered throughout the
year to any other member of staff who
may need it, including middle leaders.
As part of this training programme, the
school, in conjunction with Dr Hilary
Cremin, has embedded an “iPeace”
approach to resolving conflict. This
innovative approach focuses on
establishing a culture of peace through
systems, processes, procedures,
relationships and thecurriculum.
Developing a restorative
A core part of this is a restorative
approach to managing conflict.
Restorative language is used in
classrooms, with examples of
effective statements including “that
has frustrated me because”. The
core components of our restorative
approach involve looking at what has
happened, its impact and how it can
be resolved. This year alone, we have
held 104 restorative sessions between
a staff member and a pupil, and the
vast majority have been very successful.
Additionally, we have implemented
a peer mediation programme where
student mediators work with their
peers to help to resolve low-level
conflicts, address bullying and prevent
fights. Students undertake a two-day
course, which is accredited by the
College of Mediators. We are the
first school in the country to provide
college-accredited mediation training
for students and staff. Pupils have
presented at national conferences and
supported schools in the introduction
of restorative approaches within
Working alongside local
We have also built up a very close
link with West Midlands Police. Such
strong links with the police ensure
that we are at the forefront of work to
tackle issues such as county lines, drug
dealing and gang-related violence.
Indeed, the pastoral leaders within the
school have provided support both
locally and nationally in dealing with
these issues. The relationship also led
to us hosting one of only two police
cadet groups across the city. We are
also working closely at present with
our local councillor, Waseem Zaffar,
who has set up a Lozells Young
People’s Forum, with our pupils at its
forefront. These young people are
aiming to get their voices heard and
detail what they want to see in their
community in the future.
We take our safeguarding
responsibilities incredibly seriously.
We use metal-detecting wands on
a regular and timetabled basis to
conduct searches of pupils to ensure
that there are no weapons in the
school. As a result, we have not
undertaken any permanent exclusions
for weapons possession in recentyears.
Beyond this, the Department for
Education recently used the school as
a case study and filmed the work we
Our homegrown peer
This year
alone, we
have held 104
between a
staff member
and a pupil,
and the vast
majority have
been very
do around our attempts to address
radicalisation and extremism. We
have developed great partnerships
with Craig Pinkney, Ray Douglas and
Tanayah Sam – all experts in the field
of youth and gang violence – who
have delivered enlightening sessions
to pupils, staff and parents alike. Our
personal, social and health education
and citizenship curriculum teaches
year 7-13 students what peaceful
conflict resolution looks like and how
to manage conflict. We focus on the
social, emotional, spiritual and cultural
development of students – this is
embedded within all subject areas.
Supporting the wellbeing of
our students
Finally, we have also made the most of
award schemes that are available for
schools; as a result, we are a flagship
school for the Inclusion Quality Mark
and recently achieved the Equalities
Award. We recently became the first
school in the UK to receive a Mentally
Healthy School Award from the Centre
for Child Mental Health and Trauma
Informed Schools UK. Such awards
ensure that the school regularly
evaluates the effectiveness of its
provision, that we are innovative and
creative in our approach and that we
are always at the forefront of national
best practice.
As an IQM Flagship School, we work
collaboratively with primary, secondary
and special schools across the Midlands
to share and develop good practice
in terms of inclusion. All interventions
implemented at the school are
evidence based, with proactive use
of the Education Endowment Fund’s
research as just one example. For
the past three years, the school has
developed a metacognitive approach
to learning, including growth mindset,
to improve outcomes and the
wellbeing of our staff and students.
Our approach has put relationships
at the heart of everything we do. Our
behaviour blueprint and restorative
conversations centre on building
positive relationships with our students
and shifting the dynamic away from
“us” and “them” towards “working
together” to improve behaviour and
resolve conflict.
Our approach
has put
at the heart of
everything we
What results has this work garnered? Attendance has been
consistently above the national average for a long time and this
year is well above it at 96.24 per cent. Persistent absence is also
significantly better than the national average, with only 7.5 per cent
of pupils currently under 90 per cent attendance. We feel that this
represents a huge achievement in the face of the challenges we have.
Fixed-term exclusions have decreased significantly over recent years.
In 2006/7, there were 217 fixed-term exclusions, which reduced to
90 in 2017/18. Only one pupil was permanently excluded in 2017/18,
and only one pupil has been permanently excluded this year. This
means that our fixed-term exclusion and permanent exclusion rates
are significantly better than national averages, which, again, is
impressive in the context in which we work.
West Midlands Police
Chief Constable Dave
Thompson meets pupils


This article was sponsored by Holte 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