New Horizons Seaside Primary

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by New Horizons Seaside Primary'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 New Horizons Seaside Primary 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

Lee Murley, head teacher
Year 6 on a residential trip in
In February 2012, the school was downgraded by Ofsted from
“good” to “satisfactory” because of low standards in English,
inconsistent teaching and learning, poor behaviour and a lack
of determined leadership from the very top. At that time, Lee
Murley was the deputy head at Seaside Primary. Following the
retirement of the head teacher around Christmas 2012, Lee was
appointed as head designate in the following June. Lee knew
the school well and says that the potential for improvement was
always there; it just needed realising. Over the course of the
following article, Lee expands on the journey that the school
and the trust have undertaken.
The journey
Following my appointment my first task was to focus on the key priorities:
»Establish an aspirational culture
»Improve teaching and learning, including eradicating inadequate teaching
»Improve attainment and achievement in English and maths
»Improve leadership and accountability at all levels
»Improve pupil attitudes and behaviours
»Develop an organisation that meets the needs of every child
The first thing I did as head was to look at why we were achieving such poor
outcomes at the end of seven years. The answer was simple: the teaching was not
»Head teacher: Lee Murley
»Based in South Lancing, West
»Type of school: Three-form
entry primary school
»No. of pupils: 568 and growing
»Free school meals: 25 per cent
»SEND: 16 per cent
»Two catchment areas of
massive deprivation
New Horizons
Seaside Primary
Highlighting best practice
good enough. This included teachers
focusing purely on attainment and
writing off at least a third of every
cohort on entry to the school. The
school was then organised around
those that could achieve, rather than
those that could not. This had to
change for our pupils to get what
Thus was born the motto: “Everybody
matters, everybody succeeds”.
What this meant in practice was
that every child was supported and
challenged to reach their full potential
– no one was ever given up on.
I immediately addressed teachers that
were consistently under-performing.
They were placed on detailed plans of
support to ensure they developed their
practice rapidly and delivered lessons
worth behaving for. This immediately
changed the culture in the school;
hitherto, it had been accepted that
some staff members were counting
down to retirement or their hearts
were just not in it. These teachers
either improved or they left.
We then set about ensuring that we
had a leadership structure that was fit
for purpose. I appointed a deputy who
shared an identical attitude regarding
the school achieving its mission, vision
and values. As an internal candidate
she was already heavily invested in the
school and community. The school
was undergoing expansion from 2FE
to 3FE, but staff deployment and
the leadership structure was historic
and still focused on the successful
amalgamation of schools in 2008.
We still had a vertically grouped class
in years 3 and 4 and class sizes in
excess of 30 in these year groups. I
appointed another experienced teacher
and made the school 2FE throughout,
growing to become 3FE from reception
through to year 6. We appointed a
new “phase leader” for years 3 and 4,
having taken each of these year groups
off a previous phase. We moved to
a position where we had four phase
leaders, a head teacher and a deputy
head. We then advertised externally
and successfully appointed an assistant
head teacher for inclusion and support.
For the stage we were at, our structure
met our children’s needs.
In the first few weeks I wanted to see
the teachers developing and enhancing
their relationships with the children. An
oft-used phrase was: “Children don’t
learn from people they don’t like!”
While some staff demanded respect,
they quickly learnt from our children
that respect must be earned. Once
this relationship was established,
possibilities expanded.
Behavioural changes
In the first six months we focused
heavily on improving behaviour with
the children. The school switched
overnight from a sanctions culture
to one of rewards. Clear routines
and procedures ensured that we
constantly focused on seeing that the
children were behaving well, while still
addressing those behaviours that were
harder to change.
Two Seaside children in
a beach hut
What this
meant in
practice was
that every
child was
supported and
challenged to
reach their full
From a teaching perspective we
focused heavily on ensuring that all
children were making progress in
every lesson over time. We looked
closely at what we felt was necessary
in every session and made these non-
negotiables – we called them the 3 Ps:
pitch, pace and productivity.
Ofsted inspected us again in October
2013. Already by this stage, behaviour
and safety were graded as “good”,
as was leadership and management.
Teaching was described as typically
good, but due to historic data the
school could not be judged as good
overall. Rather than seeing this
as a negative, we used it to drive
further improvements faster and
With such a positive culture growing
fast, we began to make bolder moves.
We introduced a new phonics scheme,
changed our residential visits, adding
two new ones and, not least, began
streaming across the whole of Key
Stage 2 for English and mathematics.
The Key Stage 2 outcomes for
2014 placed us in the top two per
cent nationally for attainment and
achievement. Our hard work was
paying off: the culture in the school
was transformed. Not only did our
children really start to believe in
themselves: so did the adults.
Pupil progress featured front and
central in every staff, SLT and
governors’ meeting. At Seaside we had
created a culture where every child
mattered and succeeded. The hard
work had just begun in real terms,
because we now had to sustain it.
In addition to being “requires
improvement” the school was also
undergoing a significant building
expansion so as to house the seven
extra classes. This was completed in
October 2014, enabling us to give
100 per cent attention to achieving
As it happened, it built to a crescendo
in July 2015. Our results again were in
the top 10 per cent nationally for Key
Stage 2, better than national in Key
Stage 1 and the phonics screening and
outcomes in EYFS had doubled in a
year. Progress in all other year groups
was outstanding.
The inspection validated our
judgments, and we received an
“outstanding” inspection in all areas.
I’m incredibly proud of everything we
have achieved as a school, but what I
am proudest of is the fact that we’ve
achieved great outcomes for our
children without sacrificing the rest of
the curriculum. We have well-rounded,
hard-working children who are willing
to push themselves to be their best.
Both children and staff at Seaside
demonstrate this. They’re always
willing to go the extra mile and never
fail to surprise me with their creativity
and dedication.
Although I’m head teacher, my job
would have been impossible without
the excellent team working with me.
I’m incredibly
proud of
everything we
have achieved
as a school,
but what I am
proudest of is
the fact that
achieved great
outcomes for
our children
Our school is a
welcoming, happy place

This article was sponsored by New Horizons Seaside Primary. 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