Russell Scott Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Russell Scott 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 Russell Scott 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

Headteacher Steve Marsland
Direct action to improve the
Russell Scott Primary School prioritise health and wellbeing,
promoting both physical and mental health across the
school. In order to support the mental health of the
school community, they have introduced six mental health
ambassadors and hold mental health discussions every Friday.
They are also committed to encouraging an active lifestyle and
have won the Greater Manchester “School’s Commitment to PE
and Sport Award”. Headteacher Steve Marsland discusses their
provision and the importance of focusing on wellbeing.
While our progress and attainment scores are in a good place, and we have
consolidated our position as a centre of excellence for information technology
and computing, the pressure on children and teachers has never been so great.
Alongside budget pressures, unnecessary bureaucracy and excessive workloads,
we are also challenged to address the additional needs of children caused by the
extensive cuts to children’s social care and early intervention strategies.
With the aim of nurturing each child to their full potential, senior leaders
have a distinct vision and high expectations for the school, balanced with an
understanding of the need for a work-life balance. With mental health and
wellbeing increasingly having a detrimental effect on our children’s lives, our
response to it has become an integral part of our daily work.
Supporting mental wellbeing
Despite funding pressures, we have heavily invested in the amount of staff training
around wellbeing and our extended links with social care and medical teams.
»Headteacher: Steve Marsland
»Founded in 1882
»Based in Denton, Tameside
»Type of school: Community
School with a resource
base for eight children with
moderate learning difficulties
»No. of pupils: 466
»Pupil premium: 28 per cent
»Ofsted: “Good”
»Apple Regional Training Centre
»National Leader of Education
and National Support School
Russell Scott Primary
Highlighting best practice
Asthe arts get squeezed in schools,
the creative release and togetherness
that it provides will diminish and
mental wellbeing will suffer. That is
why creativity and the arts are woven
throughout our curriculum, enhanced
by large collaborative projects where
children work together from across
the school. This supports creative flair,
emotional release and enjoyment while
developing interpersonal and motor
skills, providing a balance with the core
curriculum. Nothing epitomises that
shared creative outcome more than
our iconic Bee Mad About Denton
sculpture, part of the Manchester Bee
in the City art installations following
the arena bombing.
Together with providing creative
opportunities, we are harnessing the
power of relationships. To engender
pupil voice and nurture their emotional
intellect through awareness of their
own mental wellbeing, we have six
mental health ambassadors looking
out for pupils and promoting positive
strategies for wellbeing. For 30
minutes every Friday, teachers cover
aspects of mental health based around
discussion, encouraging children
to talk and share how they feel
while thinking about their emotions
and how to manage them. There
is a lunchtime “Drop in and Chat”
available for all children every other
day and “connect” sessions where all
year groups engage with partnering
classes and groups of children across
the school. Our pastoral care systems
receive great acclaim from the
Supporting all members of
the school community
If our teachers’ wellbeing is positive
and well managed, then our children’s
will be too. Therefore, staff wellbeing
initiatives, designed to minimise stress
and pressure, are an integral part
of our effort to achieve a healthy
work-life balance. Practical steps,
such as “brew time”, where we
make time for each other and talk, a
“shout out” board and no emails at
weekends or evenings have involved
the whole staff. All is overseen and
consolidated by the staff wellness team
who offer suggestions and feedback
Awareness of mental health and the
wellbeing of children and adults are
integral to our work as a healthy
living school. We have a professional
school counsellor from Place2B who
works with children around stress and
anxiety, while our art therapists work
with selected children with identified
mental health concerns. The needs of
these children are reviewed at weekly
inclusion team meetings where worries
and concerns about children’s mental
health are signposted to either internal
or external resources.
A sense of place,
community and
We have six
mental health
looking out
for pupils
Promoting physical wellbeing
We live and breathe sport, encouraging
everyone to lead a healthy, active
lifestyle in the broadest sense. We work
hard to promote the wider aspects of
children’s health, fitness and wellbeing
but this can be undermined because
they are inhaling harmful toxins and
emissions on their way to and from
school. Vehicle exhausts are a major
cause of air pollution and we are
all affected as we walk along roads
that currently suffer illegal levels of
air pollution. Environmental issues
that are affecting children’s health
and wellbeing are influencing the
curriculum intent and its content.
We are doing our bit to show that
communities can help solve their
own problems by taking direct action
and involving children. The school’s
response to this was our junior PCSO
scheme and it has been a revelation
in raising awareness, reducing vehicle
emissions and inconsiderate parking
around our school. Similar schemes
are now being rolled out across
Tameside, Greater Manchester and the
UK. The junior PCSOs have appeared
on national radio and TV and were
invited to the Greater Manchester
Green Summit by Andy Burnham. They
have also promoted Clean Air Day for
Greater Manchester’s mayor by closing
off the streets and having a street
party where there would normally be
speeding and polluting cars. We are
now working with The University of
Manchester on a study to determine
health quality through a phone app
and to develop curriculum materials for
schools about clean air and the cost to
health of pollution.
Our work on health and wellbeing
has led to the school being awarded
the first Gold in the Tameside schools’
Food4Life award. A daily 20-minute
exercise session and the daily mile are
undertaken by all children and staff as
a healthy start to each day.
A good food culture can offer benefits
to all those who are part of your
immediate and wider community, so
our PE lead teacher holds an annual
health forum to discuss parents’
thoughts on how healthy our school
is and to help develop and consolidate
our food policy.
Our PSHE curriculum is designed to
promote the benefits of a positive
mindset and an active lifestyle as well
as to raise awareness of the dangers
of drugs and alcohol. Our curriculum
model for all children reflects healthy
eating, health and fitness, healthy
minds and relationships.
This commitment to healthy living,
wellness and the promotion of
creativity, sport and fitness resulted
in the school receiving the Greater
Manchester Sports “School
Commitment to PE and Sport Award”
in 2019. We were also shortlisted in
the 2019 Greater Manchester Health
Care Awards for our innovative
approach to health and wellbeing,
of which we are very proud. We are
committed to living healthily and will
continue to work to achieve this.
The junior
PCSOs have
appeared on
national radio
and TV and
were invited
to the Greater
Green Summit
by Andy
Strength of vision,
depth of experience,
memorable outcomes

This article was sponsored by Russell Scott 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