Ormiston Park Academy

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Ormiston Park Academy'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 Ormiston Park Academy 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


Highlighting best practice
Huw Derrick, head teacher
Team Ormiston Park
Located in the small town of Aveley, Thurrock, is Ormiston
Park Academy, whose improvements and successes are
built on the development of an unfaltering belief among its
students that they can achieve as highly as any other students
anywhere in the world. Though he has been the principal since
September 2014, Huw Derrick’s work is far from complete; the
academy is still improving on its previous self-evaluated status
as an “inadequate” school and looks toward becoming an
outstanding provider of education for its local community – a
matter on which he elaborates.
Our Ofsted inspection in April 2017 graded all aspects of provision as “good” and
stated: “Leaders, including governors and the Ormiston Academies Trust, have
created a culture of high expectations and rapid, sustainable improvement.”
I am very proud to have witnessed first-hand the growing culture of success that is
beginning to take hold among our student body. Our belief in them is leading to a
belief in themselves. The hard work and efforts of all members of the community
in raising standards are finally beginning to see an erosion of the stubborn
reputational disadvantage that lay with the previous school.
A change of circumstance
The academy conversion afforded students the obvious benefits from a move
out of an old, dilapidated, run-down building into an impressive and stunning
new build. The bold and obvious statement that the conversion made concerning
»Head teacher: Huw Derrick
»Founded in 2009
»Based in Thurrock, Essex
»Type of school: Mixed
secondary school
»No. of students: 550
»No. of staff: 42 teaching staff
and 40 support staff
»Ofsted: “Good”, April 2017
»NEET figure in 2017 was 0 per
Ormiston Park
the value of education triggered a
realisation in parents – namely that
their children really do matter to us,
and that we really do mean business.
This necessary change meant tackling
all the obvious challenges quickly, such
as getting the right staff; focusing
on improving teaching and learning;
improving behaviour and attitudes
to learning; and near-forensic data
tracking. Our report stated that
“inspection evidence, including a
scrutiny of pupils’ work and analysis
of the school’s externally moderated
assessment information, demonstrates
that pupils make good progress from
their individual starting points”.
Raising expectations
We thought our new uniform, in which
students wore a smart polo shirt,
would be popular with our students.
Our raising expectations agenda,
however, offered an unexpected
outcome. It was not long before the
students themselves were asking for
an even smarter uniform. Our student
leaders designed their own braided
blazers and wore them with shirts
and ties voluntarily. Likewise, it was
not much longer before other parents
were asking after changes in the same
vein. Before long, around 90 per cent
of students voluntarily opted and
asked for further formal dress within
school hours, and so we resolved to
make the shirt, tie and blazer uniform
compulsory forall.
As principal, I believe I have the
responsibility to provide every student
with the vehicle, provision and
resources necessary to evidence their
excellence. Remarkably, our mantra
of “believe and achieve” quickly
uncovered the world-class level of
performance that it was designed to
promote within our student body.
Two of our Key Stage 4 students,
through engaging enthusiastically in
developing Microsoft Office expertise
in one of our extracurricular STEM
clubs, soon gained “specialist” status.
They were invited by Microsoft to
compete in the UK championships,
and in two consecutive years (2015
and 2016) both have been crowned
UK champion. They then went on
to compete at an international level,
representing the country in the MOS
World Championships in Dallas
and Orlando in the United States.
In a global competition comprised
of university students from around
the world, a year 10 student from
Ormiston Park placed seventh.
Engagement and enjoyment
are the keys to success
The widely
supported well
by his senior
team, has
developed the
distinctive ethos
of ‘Believe and
Achieve’ which is
at the heart of
each aspect of
the school’s
Highlighting best practice
Our Ofsted report further stated that
“pupils generally behave in a calm
and orderly way around the school
site. They show respect for each other
and this is reflected in their conduct.
Inspectors noted the politeness of
pupils and their pride when speaking
about their school.”
Local challenges and our
Thurrock is a small unitary authority
undergoing unprecedented growth;
this, naturally, comes with a degree
of turbulence. Ormiston Park has
had to find its place in a competitive
arena, in which over 90 per cent of
secondary schools are now academies.
Wonderfully aspirational parents
and carers are ever demanding an
increasingly high quality of education
for their children. We have not faced
this challenge alone. The support of
a large and successful multi-academy
trust, the Ormiston Academies
Trust, has been crucial in navigating
the perilous waters of budgetary
constraints and freedoms, modes
of governance and accountability,
recruitment difficulties, and curriculum
and performance measures changes.
In addition, we have worked hard to
continue a strong partnership with
the nearby South Essex College; are
now developing strong links with the
University of East London; and have
more recently established ourselves
as a sports hub school as part of
the West Ham United Foundation’s
Among all these exciting
developments, the fundamental values
we share with our sponsors have not
been forgotten. We have worked in
collaboration with the local authority
to establish excellent provision for
the most vulnerable students in the
area. Our specialist resource base for
students suffering social, emotional
and mental health difficulties,
supported with educational healthcare
plans, is providing successful
progression routes for those young
people in the most challenging of
As the principal, I feel optimistic and
look forward to continuing on our
mission to be the academy of choice
for local parents. Our increasing
engagement with the local community
is blossoming, and we have the added
benefit of lettings income trebling
over three years. Our student numbers
have increased by over 20 per cent
in two years, and we predict further
growth. The achievements of our most
able students are now as good as any;
2017 saw our first student with a full
suite of the highest grades. Finally,
we can say demonstrably that those
students leaving us are continuing
prosperous journeys into education or
employment, with our NEET figure for
2017 being 0 per cent.
I am pleased
and very
proud to
announce that
Logan Cooper
was crowned
Champion for
PowerPoint at
yesterday. He
will now take
part in the
World Finals in
Orlando this
The Students 4 Solutions
(S4S) team


This article was sponsored by Ormiston Park Academy. 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