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 Prince of Wales Primary School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
Prince of Wales Primary School
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | PRINCE OF WALES PRIMARY SCHOOL
Mr Bless, head teacher, with
pupils Amari Lee Boyaram and
Friendly interaction during
On arrival at Prince of Wales in September 2012, Jan
Bless noticed a wide range of challenges that needed to
be addressed, including pupil behaviour, the quality of
teaching and aspects of leadership. With a willing and trusting
school community and two open-minded deputies with 50 years of
shared experience, Prince of Wales has transformed into a school
which is valued and praised both within and beyond the localarea.
During my first staff meeting, I focused predominantly on the importance of
building positive relationships with pupils and their families. I explained my
plan for improvement, inspired by the London Olympics, that every pupil could
be a “gold medal” learner. Another key task was to identify emerging leaders
who shared my vision. The next step involved a staff restructure and a middle
New assistant head teachers (AHTs) emerged from within the existing team and
through careful recruitment. This leadership team had a varied skills set, ranging
from finance, inclusion, data, training, communicating with parents and the early
years foundation stage (EYFS). Their ability to problem-solve and commitment
to improve pupils’ learning experiences allowed me to focus on other strategic
matters, including a five-year school expansion programme. Recruiting additional
outstanding subject leaders moved the bar higher. Gradually, the competencies of
good leadership cascaded down to all staff, with the core purpose of improving
outcomes for all pupils.
Issues around behaviour and attitudes to learning were the most pressing
concerns. Over the last ten years, the needs of the local community had become
PRINCE OF WALES PRIMARY
»Head teacher: Jan Bless
»Founded in 1950
»Based in Enfield
»Type of school: State primary
»Work with Westminster
University and SACRE on
developing an RE programme
of study contributed to the
recognition of Alevism as a
religion in Britain in 2015
»Prince of Wales won the
Enfield in Bloom gold medal in
2017 for the second time
Prince of Wales
29PRINCE OF WALES PRIMARY SCHOOL |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
more challenging and the school
had adopted a reactive approach.
A range of initiatives built around a
new positive behaviour strategy were
introduced that supported pupils in
»Pupils, staff and parents jointly
devised shared principles for our
school community. These were
exemplified in our Learners’ Values
– listen, excellence, attitude, respect,
negotiate, enjoy, responsibility
and support. These values were
communicated at every opportunity,
such as during assemblies, meetings,
through the school website and in
»Initially focused on the Olympic
and Paralympic values, a two-year
programme of values was introduced
that incorporated British values. In
the weekly achievement assembly,
pupils look forward to a ceremony,
unique to the school, where selected
pupils are awarded with an engraved
baton. These batons are passed on
every week to the next gold medal
»Five years of leading two thought-
provoking assemblies every week
have been an integral pillar to the
initiation of our ethos for a shared-
values culture. They can talk about
resilience, that learning is hard and
that mistakes must be made in order
to make progress.
»A new head teacher award system
was introduced where pupils could
earn a pencil, star, wristband, book
or a cinema ticket after 20 days of
“staying on gold”. All pupils start
the day with their names on a large
gold medal. Simply by following
all the school rules and values and
allowing learning to take place,
pupils earn a tick if they remain
there by the end of the day. A
simple traffic light system is triggered
when behaviour does not meet our
standards. A range of sanctions may
»Replacing the cloakrooms with
intervention spaces offered new
areas for small group work and
installing lockers outside the
classrooms maximised lesson time
and reduced lost property.
»Various climbing structures were
installed for each key stage in order
to stimulate physical development
and as a source of enjoyment.
Playleaders received training on how
to engage the children.
»The profile of year 6 pupils was
raised by identifying positive role
models such as a head girl, a head
boy and school prefects, while
allowing pupils to earn black
uniform jumpers for commendable
»CCTV cameras were installed
in strategic places around the
playground and in corridors.
Since then, pupils regulate their
choices better as there are clear
consequences to their behaviour.
»We have turned very high mobility
into an opportunity and strength.
Pupils are used to forging new
friendships and pass on our values
and expectations. A lot of thought
goes into changing all classes each
year so that there is a balance of
abilities and needs.
communication are key
Over the last ten
years, the needs
of the local
the school had
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
30 | PRINCE OF WALES PRIMARY SCHOOL
A relevant and exciting curriculum
reflects the community we serve and
engages pupils. Reading takes centre
stage and the Power of Reading is key
to much of the learning. Opportunities
are seized to enhance learning such
as local archaeological digs, Royal
Opera House visits or the Women’s
Cricket World Cup at Lord’s. We offer
a rich outdoor curriculum through our
school grounds and utilise our local
environment and Londonitself.
Good relationships with our families
are vital. Our school community
is a kaleidoscope of different
backgrounds, experiences and
expectations and this has at times
presented significant challenges. As
a school we understand that there
are sometimes substantial barriers to
learning, and knowing our families
There are an increasing number
of vulnerable families who require
different forms of support. The
school provides services such as
Place 2 Be, music therapy, a sensory
room, learning mentors and a parent
support adviser. Parents can attend
ESOL (English for Speakers of Other
Languages) or parenting classes
and have access to a wide range of
children’s centre services.
Through regular workshops such as
phonics, bar modelling or reading,
we demonstrate to parents how they
can help at home. We now have
new and active parent governors, a
reborn Friends’ association and a well-
attended Parent Forum.
Staff development has evolved over
the past years. The focus has shifted
from what a good lesson looks like to
effective questioning, giving relevant
feedback and more recently to teacher
efficacy and Lesson Study.
Staff have worked very hard to improve
the school and regular inspection visits
confirmed we were on the right track.
Good partnerships with the governors
and LA improvement service offered
the right amount of support and
challenge. Identifying talented people
whom I can trust and delegate to has
been an essential part of my leadership.
The past five years have confirmed that
change doesn’t take place overnight.
By being positive, building good
relationships, empowering staff and
getting children to work hard and do
their best, we now have a school of
which everybody can be proud.
The past five
Left: Annual school
Right: Baton ceremony
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
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.