Holy Trinity Catholic Media Arts College

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Holy Trinity Catholic Media Arts College'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 Holy Trinity Catholic Media Arts College 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


Colin Crehan, head teacher
Many pupils are becoming prolific, avid readers”
– Ofsted, December 2017
Holy Trinity Catholic School is in Small Heath, Birmingham.
The school is a mixed comprehensive with 624pupils
on the roll, and is hugely diverse in terms of its religious
and cultural intake, with the majority of pupils being Muslim.
The school’s integration of pupils from different “religions
backgrounds” and those from none is a unique and wonderful
feature of the school. Some of the problems the school deals
with are high levels of deprivation, child sexual exploitation and
mental health issues. Many of its pupils have language needs,
some classed as severe. When the new head teacher Colin
Crehan arrived, he worked with all stakeholders to take the
school forward – his description of which follows.
This sense of flux and uncertainty that existed within the school would appear to have
reflected the national education picture. A great challenge for Holy Trinity and that
of all schools is the constant change of policy implemented in brisk time frames.
While some of them have improved schools, it’s incredible that huge philosophical
and mechanical changes within curriculum, assessment and performance measures
have happened simultaneously. It’s remarkable that there have been 16 education
ministers in the last 30 years. On average, this equates to an elected representative
in post for less than two years. No time is given for schools to reflect or to breathe,
with initiatives not reaching their maximum potential as a result. More importantly,
pupils are not reaching their maximum potential as a result.
»Head teacher: Colin Crehan
»Founded in 1975
»Based in Small Heath,
»Type of school: Voluntary-
aided secondary school
»No. of students: 624
»The percentages of SEND,
disadvantaged, EAL and
minority ethnic students are all
considerably higher than the
national average
Holy Trinity Catholic
It is a privilege
being the head
teacher of Holy
Trinity Catholic
Highlighting best practice
“Learn to love and love to learn” –
this is the motto we have sought to
make reality. Concerned by falling
pupil numbers, we immediately
reviewed existing admission protocols.
Consequently, 64 additional pupils
were welcomed into the school during
the previous academic year. This
will result in an improving financial
position. Vacancies in science,
humanities and English were filled with
quality specialists. Holy Trinity started
this academic year with specialist
practitioners in all areas – all of which
requires much work.
In reflecting upon what caused
our significant improvement, it is
important to highlight our Catholic
ethos. In conjunction with the Gospel
values of Jesus Christ, the school has
a mantra to “treat pupils like they
are your own”. All school decisions
are informed by the principle that if
it is not good enough for your own
children then it is not good enough
for the pupils in Holy Trinity. All staff
are committed to these principles of
unconditional love, irrespective of
difference; everybody is an equal in
The school has an inclusive
approach to managing behaviour
and attendance. A dedicated team
of professionals support behaviour
through a tutor system, consistent
application of the consequence
system and positive behaviour for
learning points leading to additional
reward. Fixed-term exclusion figures
have reduced significantly in recent
years; indeed better than national.
The “Behaviour Team” is supported
by a committed pastoral team who
support the attendance and well-
being of pupils. Pupils are given
opportunities to reflect upon any
poor behaviour with workshops
running alongside school sanctions to
support those at risk of school refusal
Significant improvements in teaching,
learning and assessment meant that
the school enjoyed some immediate
successes in GCSE 2017 results.
Improved pupil performance occurred
in nine different subject areas
including English, maths and RE. The
school has a vibrant CPD programme,
with weekly “top tips” for improved
teaching and learning being a regular
developmental feature here. The
quality of middle leadership is strong
within the school, with all joining
senior leaders part of an extended
leadership team to regularly reflect
and plan. Middle and senior leaders
have worked together to establish
systems of analysing data, leading
to rapid progress among all year
groups. Teachers are skilfully adept
in using data to inform planning and
intervention both within the classroom
and outside. Due to consistent
application of quality assurance
systems and strong leadership at
all levels, further improvements
Curriculum breadth
The school’s curriculum is broad,
balanced and innovative, underpinned
by the “5Rs”: resilience, responsibility,
resourcefulness, readiness, and
reflectiveness. To respond to the
challenges posed by a lack of
aspiration among some pupils, the
school has moved to a different
way of setting and banding. School
improvement partners and Ofsted
have commended the school for
developing a system that does not cap
performance through its structural
Pupils are no longer labelled in a
hierarchical system which stigmatises
and leaves behind the least able.
Mixed-ability teaching within the
system has improved rates of progress
Our school crest and
This is a
school. There
are people of
all faiths and
none and the
prepares us
well for life in a
diverse society.
No matter who
you are at this
school, you
Year 11 girl. Ofsted,
December 2017
and led to a significant reduction
in low-level disruption within the
classroom. The school has developed
strong practices in supporting a large
number of EAL pupils. A custom
transition programme supports pupils
who are newly arrived in the country.
An “access” provision with a separate
and tailored curriculum, running
alongside the mainstream curriculum,
is available to support those with the
highest levels of need. This is further
supported by a dedicated specialist
team of EAL and SEND support.
Integration to mainstream curriculum
for them is the aspiration, but decisions
are individual, with pupils given the
time needed toflourish.
Reading is an essential part of our
curriculum. Two external online
providers are used to support pupil
progress in reading. Pupils read in tutor
time, assembly and across a range of
lessons with further initiatives such as
“DEEP days” or special days like World
Book Day. Most recently, the latter
saw teachers dress up as characters
from famous books to further ignite
a passion among our pupils. Pupil
premium and catch-up funding is used
to ensure that our wonderful library
is plentifully stocked. Ofsted spoke
praisingly in 2017 about our library
resources and further commented
that “many are becoming prolific and
The curriculum is reviewed annually
with decisions on KS4 choices
dependent upon the needs of
individuals and that of the cohort.
Pupils can choose from traditional and
academic EBacc subjects, but they also
have access to a rich array of other
subjects/courses in areas such as the
arts and social communication. The
school’s curriculum is supported by
a rapidly improving extracurricular
programme. Year 8 pupils, for
example, have recently taken a leading
role in performing at a Citizens UK
General Assembly in Birmingham in
preparation for the Commonwealth
Games in2022.
All schools face great challenges,
which makes work difficult but also
extremely rewarding when positive
impacts are evident. The school
was rated “good” by Ofsted in
all categories in December 2017.
The challenge now is to maintain
improvements and further push
forward in pursuit of providing a
world-class education forour pupils.
The curriculum
for safeguarding
It takes into
risks that are
particular to the
local area. The
pupils are and
feel safe
Ofsted, December 2017
Learn to love. Love to


This article was sponsored by Holy Trinity Catholic Media Arts College. 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 Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy