Shobnall Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Shobnall 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 Shobnall 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


Highlighting best practice
Those who read succeed
Happy children, inspired learners
Located in the brewing town of Burton-upon-Trent, Shobnall
Primary School has served a diverse catchment since its
inception in 1888, with pupils attending from the local area
and further afield. Head teacher Rob Cruise proudly describes
the dedicated staffing team’s huge emphasis on providing a
wealth of experience for its children, and their hearty provision
and delivery of an expansive and innovative curriculum which is
designed to motivate and enthuse all the children, as well as the
staff who plan and deliver it so effectively.
Teamwork and ethos
Taking over as head teacher in September 2016 was incredibly daunting, for the existing
standards and expectations were incredibly high. However, with the present staff and
focusing on the importance of effective recruitment, we have continued to maintain and
ultimately improve the core values of the school. Significant changes to the governing
body, alterations to the senior leadership team and the recruitment of highly valued
staff members have all contributed to the shared vision of improvement and success.
Why do what we do?
To promote a sense of togetherness among the entire school community, we
began rethinking and remodelling our aim. This allowed all our stakeholders –
governors, lunchtime staff, office staff and teaching staff – to work collaboratively
and consider:
“Why do what we do?”
This enabled the entire team to reflect on
their role and the purpose which it served, as well as consider the importance we
Shobnall Primary
»Head teacher: Rob Cruise
»Founded in 1888
»Based in Burton-upon-Trent,
»Type of school: Primary
»No. of pupils: 235, plus 26
nursery pupils
»No. of staff: 10 full time
teachers, 4 part-time teachers,
13 teaching assistants
»School Games Gold Award
»Dyslexia Friendly Status
»Healthy Schools Award
»Wellbeing Award for Schools
»Twitter: @shobnallprimary
placed on the care and nurture of
pupils and the curriculum – whose
focus was rising above and beyond the
core subjects. As a result of a shared
team day in which we considered our
day-to-day approach with our children,
a phrase was born:
“Happy children,
inspired learners”
We feel proud as a school of the
talents of the children in our care,
and understand and acknowledge
that such skills must be encouraged
and supported in every way possible.
Our extra-curricular provision, run by
staff for a considerable proportion of
the school year, provides our children
with free access to sports, music,
games and creative skills, which is
incredibly popular and leads to huge
success. We are also proud of our
ongoing sporting achievements as
a relatively small school within the
local area. Success in a wide range
of competitive and representative
sports is testimony to the hard work
and dedication of the children and
We recognise that a positive impact
on learning and relationships can
be achieved by offering additional
opportunities for children to showcase
their incredible talents. The sense of
pride that our children display after
singing at various concerts, such as
“Young Voices” 2017 and 2018, or
participating in design challenges
at the JCB Academy, has had a
significant impact on the individual
child. The children and members of
the local community are proud to
participate in our annual Key Stage
2 performance at the Brewhouse
Theatre, a fabulous local playhouse in
Burton. We believe in offering exciting
experiences for our children and
endeavour to do so.
Curriculum innovation is key
We recognised that through
providing an innovative and inclusive
curriculum, pupils were inspired in
their learning and behaviour, thus
developing positive attitudes which
were consistently displayed in and
around the school. Implementing a
completely new curriculum required
a highly motivated and creative staff
who believed in this vision. Additional
time, support and funding were
provided to ensure that staff had
the opportunities to create plans
and design progressive learning
opportunities around topical themes
and unique opportunities.
Outdoor learning in the
Taking learning into the
What was born
from a shared
team day in
which we
considered our
approach with
our children
was: “Happy
Highlighting best practice
Educational visits were completely
redesigned to enhance classroom
learning. Nowhere was this more
evident than our first ever international
field trip to Normandy in the autumn
of 2017. Our year 5 and 6 classes
experienced so much, including a First
World War-themed day where they
learned about the caves and tunnels
of Wellington Quarry, and visited the
Vimy Ridge memorial. We witnessed
the hustle and bustle of a French
market and spent an afternoon on
the beach – a first for some! We had
a fabulous day in Rouen and used our
spoken French in the old streets of
the city. All classroom-based French
learning prior to the trip was therefore
delivered with a purpose. This
experience was incredibly well received
through our social media channels by
the children and parents alike, and it is
consequently booked again for 2019!
Exploring and learning
through outdoor provision
As a previous Ofsted inspection
target, the school had embraced the
challenge of implementing the Forest
School initiative. Within the last 12
months we have begun to witness
exciting development in pupils’
outdoor experiences. A number of
staff completed Forest School training
and this has enabled all pupils across
the school to participate in the Forest
School curriculum. Planning and
provision has been adapted to ensure
progression and coverage, so that by
the time our children leave us in year
6 they will have been taught to use
many different tools and cook a variety
of foods on open fires!
With an exciting outdoor curriculum
comes the added incentive of
broadening the experiences presented
to, and relationships of, our children.
We are now able to evaluate the
provision that we offer, considering
the impact that outdoor learning is
having on the child and the benefits
it brings to the indoor classroom.
We are pleased that we review and
improve Forest School annually, and
the improvements continue to go from
strength to strength.
Considerations for the future
Integral to our success has been our
commitment to empowering staff
and governors through training
and development, combined with
our “school improvement plan”
of supporting staff and children in
mental and emotional well-being.
All stakeholders play a key role in
the success of our school, including
our positive and supportive parents.
Through listening and reacting, we
aim to develop and improve all aspects
of our provision. By creating inspiring
classrooms, designing inspirational
reading corners, providing exciting
learning opportunities, organising
awe-inspiring adventures and offering
a caring and nurturing environment
in which our children can flourish, we
hope that the successes at Shobnall
Primary School will continue into the
foreseeable future. The whole team
can take great pride in saying that
everyone makes our school what it is!
We recognise
that a positive
impact on
learning and
can be
achieved by
for children to
their incredible
Enrichment across the


This article was sponsored by Shobnall 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 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