Leechpool Primary School

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

www.leechpoolprimaryschool.co.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | LEECHPOOL PRIMARY SCHOOL
Headteacher Nicola Davenport
Our engaging learning
environment
The team at Sussex-based Leechpool Primary School have
focused in recent years on making sure that children and
staff are proud to be a part of the school. Having worked
with parents to foster an encouraging, caring culture they turned
their attention to improving pupils’ progress, achievement and
attainment, reinforcing their ethos and making much-needed
upgrades to the school’s physical environment. Headteacher Nicola
Davenport shares their journey with the
The Parliamentary Review
Addressing so many issues – including pupil behaviour, curriculum change,
teaching quality, the learning culture, staffing structure, quality assurance and
assessment processes – while bringing everyone and everything together and
resolving major infrastructure issues has proved demanding.
Our school environment is of integral importance to our pupils’ view of the school
and its stan dards, so infrastructure is always a priority. We have made sustainability
and value for money key criteria for any improvement we undertake; this approach
and the assistance of our local authority have allowed us to develop a school fit for
the 21st century.
Governance and pupil voice
Determination and our governors’ professional support have enabled us to construct
a completely new early years learning environment. Alongside that, funds raised by
our supportive parents have allowed us to create a purpose-built music room and
install a vast range of outdoor equipment. The entire school environment – including
working walls and displays to celebrate achievement – now reflect excellence and
highexpectations.
REPORT CARD
LEECHPOOL PRIMARY SCHOOL
»Headteacher: Nicola Davenport
»Established in 1973
»Based in Horsham, West Sussex
»Type of school: Community
primary with a nursery
»No. of pupils: 420 with a
nursery class of 24
»No. of staff: 54
»Pupil premium: 14 per cent
»EAL: 4 per cent
»SEND: 12 per cent
Leechpool Primary
School
31LEECHPOOL PRIMARY SCHOOL |
PRIMARY EDUCATION
The pupils’ voice was an essential part
of driving this change and, working
together, we have introduced a
reward system for good behaviour
and high standards. Our overriding
value of “respect” and the learning
skills embedded in our six “Rs” –
relationships, reflective, resilient,
resourceful, responsible and risk-taking
– were integrated into every aspect of
school life. We introduced a “Golden
Book” for individual achievements
and, day by day, strived to model all
the values of the school. Finally, we
took our existing vision of “breathing
life into learning” and added the key
aspiration “to be the best we can be”.
Academically, our immediate focus
has been on developing reading skills
and improving maths teaching. To
achieve this, we shared examples of
best practice, held regular progress
meetings to address every aspect of
the curriculum and evaluated impact
every half-term.
Our 2015 Ofsted inspection
Our improvements were recognised in
our 2015 Ofsted inspection, but that
acknowledgement was accompanied
by criticisms highlighting the demands
of simultaneously addressing so many
major issues. The inspectors told us
that we had developed the right
strategies and that our teachers fully
understood them but did not always
work in accordance with our policies,
standards and objectives. Ofsted’s
judgment was that not all staff were
“on board” and therefore the quality
of some teaching was failing to
improve; they judged the school with a
grade of “requiresimprovement”.
My immediate response was to
implement key non-negotiables in our
teaching and learning strategy. These
established that colleagues had to be
fully committed to, and accountable
for, their role within the team.
The school’s vision had to be owned
by each one of us, and it had to inspire
every aspect of our engagement
with our pupils, parents and the
widercommunity.
Together, we agreed ways in
which we could be more rigorously
disciplined, focused and creative.
We developed a more robust team
structure to improve leadership and
accountability. We supported those we
appointed to key posts and therefore
enabled them to deliver on their
challengingresponsibilities.
Throughout this process, we refused to
compromise on our broad curriculum
in which music, modern foreign
languages, art, PE and sport add
to our children’s energy, fun and
understanding. Education is about
preparing our children for a fulfilling
life beyond school.
Continued training
To help us achieve all-round excellence
while also addressing specific
challenges, including significantly
improving pupils’ writing skills, we
invested in CPD with provider TT
Education. Their support helped
us to assess and develop children’s
communication skills, with a particular
Key Stage 2 trim trail
We agreed
ways in which
we could be
more
rigorously
disciplined,
focused and
creative
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | LEECHPOOL PRIMARY SCHOOL
Headteacher Nicola Davenport
Our engaging learning
environment
The team at Sussex-based Leechpool Primary School have
focused in recent years on making sure that children and
staff are proud to be a part of the school. Having worked
with parents to foster an encouraging, caring culture they turned
their attention to improving pupils’ progress, achievement and
attainment, reinforcing their ethos and making much-needed
upgrades to the school’s physical environment. Headteacher Nicola
Davenport shares their journey with the
The Parliamentary Review
Addressing so many issues – including pupil behaviour, curriculum change,
teaching quality, the learning culture, staffing structure, quality assurance and
assessment processes – while bringing everyone and everything together and
resolving major infrastructure issues has proved demanding.
Our school environment is of integral importance to our pupils’ view of the school
and its stan dards, so infrastructure is always a priority. We have made sustainability
and value for money key criteria for any improvement we undertake; this approach
and the assistance of our local authority have allowed us to develop a school fit for
the 21st century.
Governance and pupil voice
Determination and our governors’ professional support have enabled us to construct
a completely new early years learning environment. Alongside that, funds raised by
our supportive parents have allowed us to create a purpose-built music room and
install a vast range of outdoor equipment. The entire school environment – including
working walls and displays to celebrate achievement – now reflect excellence and
highexpectations.
REPORT CARD
LEECHPOOL PRIMARY SCHOOL
»Headteacher: Nicola Davenport
»Established in 1973
»Based in Horsham, West Sussex
»Type of school: Community
primary with a nursery
»No. of pupils: 420 with a
nursery class of 24
»No. of staff: 54
»Pupil premium: 14 per cent
»EAL: 4 per cent
»SEND: 12 per cent
Leechpool Primary
School
31LEECHPOOL PRIMARY SCHOOL |
PRIMARY EDUCATION
The pupils’ voice was an essential part
of driving this change and, working
together, we have introduced a
reward system for good behaviour
and high standards. Our overriding
value of “respect” and the learning
skills embedded in our six “Rs” –
relationships, reflective, resilient,
resourceful, responsible and risk-taking
– were integrated into every aspect of
school life. We introduced a “Golden
Book” for individual achievements
and, day by day, strived to model all
the values of the school. Finally, we
took our existing vision of “breathing
life into learning” and added the key
aspiration “to be the best we can be”.
Academically, our immediate focus
has been on developing reading skills
and improving maths teaching. To
achieve this, we shared examples of
best practice, held regular progress
meetings to address every aspect of
the curriculum and evaluated impact
every half-term.
Our 2015 Ofsted inspection
Our improvements were recognised in
our 2015 Ofsted inspection, but that
acknowledgement was accompanied
by criticisms highlighting the demands
of simultaneously addressing so many
major issues. The inspectors told us
that we had developed the right
strategies and that our teachers fully
understood them but did not always
work in accordance with our policies,
standards and objectives. Ofsted’s
judgment was that not all staff were
“on board” and therefore the quality
of some teaching was failing to
improve; they judged the school with a
grade of “requiresimprovement”.
My immediate response was to
implement key non-negotiables in our
teaching and learning strategy. These
established that colleagues had to be
fully committed to, and accountable
for, their role within the team.
The school’s vision had to be owned
by each one of us, and it had to inspire
every aspect of our engagement
with our pupils, parents and the
widercommunity.
Together, we agreed ways in
which we could be more rigorously
disciplined, focused and creative.
We developed a more robust team
structure to improve leadership and
accountability. We supported those we
appointed to key posts and therefore
enabled them to deliver on their
challengingresponsibilities.
Throughout this process, we refused to
compromise on our broad curriculum
in which music, modern foreign
languages, art, PE and sport add
to our children’s energy, fun and
understanding. Education is about
preparing our children for a fulfilling
life beyond school.
Continued training
To help us achieve all-round excellence
while also addressing specific
challenges, including significantly
improving pupils’ writing skills, we
invested in CPD with provider TT
Education. Their support helped
us to assess and develop children’s
communication skills, with a particular
Key Stage 2 trim trail
We agreed
ways in which
we could be
more
rigorously
disciplined,
focused and
creative
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | LEECHPOOL PRIMARY SCHOOL
focus on enabling them to reach
higher levels of achievement in writing.
Today, we continue to work with TT as
a partner school.
When Ofsted returned in summer
2017, they were greatly impressed
by the progress we had made across
the curriculum. We were judged to be
a high-level “good”, but the report
advised that while our children had
made excellent progress with their
writing, there remained room for
improvement. We are confident that
the trajectory we are maintaining will
enable us to achieve this soon.
Our children enjoy writing; they find
it rewarding and are proud to use it
to demonstrate their learning. We
introduce every new topic with poems,
through which we explore and enjoy
wonderful topic-related concepts and
vocabulary. Sharing creative texts and
delving into the meaning of words
helps all our children – particularly
those who have language and
communication needs – to build their
vocabulary as well as their confidence
in expressing themselves at school,
home and beyond.
The budgetary landscape of
modern education
All of our improvement processes
are underpinned by rigorous budget
control. We have a clear picture of
our current commitments and of the
cost of completing key improvements
over the next three years. Successive
reductions in our grant funding have
forced us to cut all non-academic costs
in order to maintain the truly desirable
elements of our offer. We thrive
only because we pursue imaginative
solutions that secure value for money
and long-term sustainability.
Staff costs are the central challenge.
Succession planning is vital if we are
to ensure that we continue to achieve
the appropriate balance between
outstanding experienced teachers and
more recent entrants who bring fresh
energy and ideas to the community.
This mix requires extraordinarily rigorous
performance management to ensure
that everyone fulfils every obligation
of their role to the highest standard.
As a result, staff sometimes experience
real pressure, and we maintain strong
enabling systems to support them.
Leadership has its challenges, but it is
also incredibly rewarding. It requires
focus and commitment to respond to
the intense demands of the day while
also remaining open-minded, being
available and maintaining a healthy
presence around the school. Tight and
effective time management makes this
possible. It’s a privilege to be available
to work alongside and support
colleagues while always being there for
our children and their parents.
Today, we are a happy, thriving school.
Pupils and staff alike are enthusiastic
learners. Our children are caring,
courteous, curious and ambitious. We
will never be “the perfect school” but
will nonetheless never cease striving to
be better day by day.
Education is
about
preparing our
children for a
fulfilling life
beyond
Our new exciting EYFS
outside learning area
33LANGAFEL CE PRIMARY SCHOOL |
PRIMARY EDUCATION
Headteacher Katie Maynard
Excellent maths and English
teaching is key
Six years ago, Langafel had been graded as “requires
improvement” in its past two Ofsted inspections and
twice as “satisfactory” in the inspections before that. Its
results were hovering just above the government floor targets,
expectations were low and children were not achieving well.
The new Headteacher Katie Maynard recognised that while
results were poor, staff and children were working hard, and
she set about assembling a new leadership team with the
determination to turn fortunes around. In October 2018 it
received a second “good” Ofsted inspection grading and 2018
Key Stage 2 results were 19 per cent above national figure s
with 83 per cent of children achieving the expected grade for
reading, writing and maths.
At Langafel CE Primary school we believe in the potential of every child regardless
of background or individual needs. We are committed to providing an emotionally
supportive environment, where pupils flourish, growing both spiritually and
academically. We secure the foundations for each child to understand who
they are and the unique qualities they bring to the world: this is our vision and
ourpassion.
Make the change that will have the most impact
Langafel has been through significant change to reach these results, always
taking the approach of implementing the change that will have the most impact.
REPORT CARD
LANGAFEL CE PRIMARY
SCHOOL
»Headteacher: Katie Maynard
»Founded in 1995
»Based in Longfield, Kent
»Type of school: Primary with a
resourced provision
»No. of students: 320
»No. of staff: 60
»www.langafel.kent.sch.uk
Langafel CE Primary
School

www.leechpoolprimaryschool.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Leechpool 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 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