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 The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister