Miers Court Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Miers Court 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 Miers Court 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

mierscourt.medway.sch.uk

1MIERS COURT PRIMARY SCHOOL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
Headteacher Lisa Lewis and Sue
Chapman on gate duty
Our pupil leadership team
Miers Court is a two-form entry primary school based
in Medway, Kent. It places a significant emphasis on
providing its children with a strong voice, delivered
through its school council and house captains systems. The
curriculum is aimed at sparking the children’s interest and
allowing their curiosity to grow, promoting lifelong learning
skills and building independence and resilience. Headteacher
Lisa Lewis tells
TheParliamentary Review
more.
I first came to Miers Court as a year 3 teacher, which was my first full-time post
following ten years as part of a successful job share. After a happy year, I moved
on to take promotion at another local school but returned in 2012 as deputy
headteacher, starting at the same time as the new headteacher. In April 2015,
shortly after our successful Ofsted inspection, the headteacher relocated and I
became acting and then substantive head. This was a challenging time following
significant staff turnover under the previous head and with a new leadership team
to put in place. My first appointment was of an experienced deputy headteacher,
Sue Chapman, an extremely talented and knowledgeable leadership partner who
shared my vision for the future.
Creating my vision
The school had enjoyed a longstanding reputation as a good school. The period of
change, however, had somewhat shaken parent and staff confidence. This needed
to be restored in order to move the school forward. The new leadership team was
recruited from existing members of staff and then, once the team was in place, we
REPORT CARD
MIERS COURT PRIMARY SCHOOL
»Headteacher: Lisa Lewis
»Founded in 1978
»Based in Medway, Kent
»Type of school: Mixed primary
academy
»No. of pupils: 402
»No. of staff: 51
Miers Court Primary
School
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
2| MIERS COURT PRIMARY SCHOOL
could begin to build the vision. We
created a culture where every decision
had the children and their love of
learning at its heart, where they could
be challenged and have people around
them who created the opportunities
and atmosphere for all children and
staff to be the best that they could. We
wanted the school to be a welcoming
place for its community, and for
its friendly, inclusive and successful
reputation to grow.
Our children are incredible – they
are hard working, happy, keen to
join in and always do us proud when
representing our school. We always
aim higher, however, and therefore
created “Learning Points”, a scheme
based on demonstrating whole-school
agreed learning skills. This has enabled
children and teachers to make the
most of opportunities to deepen
learning and make progress in every
lesson. Linking this to our conduct
policy emphasised the value of positive
behaviours for learning. Participation
in projects such as the Maximising
Impact of Teaching Assistants project
and a focus on empowering teachers
helped everyone to feel that they were
an important and valued part of the
improvement journey.
High expectations have been key, not
just in respect of outcomes but also
that all children will achieve, whatever
their starting points. Staff know their
children well and use their assessment
strategies to ensure planning and
teaching is responsive to the children’s
needs and interests. We are a school
very much committed to teacher
development; we pride ourselves on
our talent-spotting and always aim
to offer a wonderful opportunity
when potential is identified. Many
teachers have benefited from tailored
middle leader training developed by
the deputy headteacher. Coaching
and mentoring, whether from
leaders or peers, are features of staff
development, and our team of learning
support assistants are often part of
whole-school continuous professional
development.
We encourage a powerful pupil voice
through house captains, a school
council, young leaders promoting
positive play, lunchtime buddies,
sports organisers, nourish assistants,
digi-leaders and the new school life
mentors. Pupil voice contributes to
every monitoring cycle; our children
have a lot to say and there are many
ways in which they can influence life on
site. We also offer regular opportunities
for parent visits, where they can
celebrate and discuss learning. We seek
parent voice feedback, and this year we
have introduced parent forum evenings
to discuss the latest developments in
school. We also ensure that teachers
are out on the playgrounds at the end
of the day and that senior staff are
often at the gates.
Embarking on a new chapter
Following a lengthy period of
investigation, the governors and I
chose to become part of The Howard
Academy Trust in August 2017. We
chose THAT as it respected the vision
we were trying to achieve and would
allow us to retain our identity within
Some of the entries
in our family garden
decoration competition
We pride
ourselves on
our talent-
spotting and
always aim to
offer a
wonderful
opportunity
when
potential is
identified
3MIERS COURT PRIMARY SCHOOL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE
the group. Working with our fellow
primaries at all levels has further
enhanced our development.
The summer of 2018 delivered quite
a blow to our journey. Although our
EYFS and Key Stage 1 results were
above the national average, our
disappointing Key Stage 2 maths
results led to a drop in our combined
score. Although the outcomes were
much lower than anticipated, the
efforts of the children and their
teachers cannot be doubted; indeed,
the proportion of children achieving
the higher standard was improved.
Despite this, we and THAT have
remained committed to the principles
of our vision of how we want learning
to be at our school. Like many schools,
curriculum development has been our
focus this year. We have worked hard to
ensure that our curriculum is broad and
delivers the children’s full entitlement,
and we are committed to a topic and
cross-curricular approach, including the
use of our wonderful outside spaces,
which led to the creation of the Wild
About Miers Court themed lessons.
To enhance our curriculum and further
our aim of having children who are
happy, independent and critical
thinkers, we have introduced a number
of initiatives.
Our EYFS team and setting have been
transformed through immersion in
the Curiosity Approach, and year
1 has embarked on a challenging
transition project to replicate some
of aspects of EYFS learning. We
introduced Philosophy 4 Children
and the Global Learning Programme,
which have led to focus weeks on
refugees and Fairtrade. During book
week, the whole school shared
Where
The Wild Things Are
– a stimulus for
philosophical discussion.
Looking ahead
We are now very firmly in the Ofsted
window and our challenge is to clearly
demonstrate that despite our last set
of KS2 results, we are still a good
school. I am proud to have led a school
where visitors regularly talk about the
calm, focused and positive atmosphere
they find and how obvious it is that
we all share the same aims; about
how welcome they are made to feel
and how fantastic our children are. I
shall be leaving the school at the end
of this year to become the Executive
Headteacher of the primaries within
THAT, but I know the school will
continue to thrive with Mrs Chapman
as head of school and the incredible
team behind her.
Our children
are incredible
– they are
hard working,
happy, keen
to join in and
always do us
proud
Enjoying the library at
Miers Court

mierscourt.medway.sch.uk

This article was sponsored by Miers Court 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