Short Wood Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Short Wood 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 Short Wood 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


The senior leadership team
Making the most of
our outdoor facilities
Short Wood Primary School aims to offer all children
opportunities to shine and be the very best that they can
be. Everyone at Short Wood is important, and all members
of the school community bring their individual talents and skills
to the team. Each and every Short Wood student – or “Short
Woody” – has their part to play in making the school a great
place to learn and succeed.
Our school was founded ten years ago as part of the Building Schools for the
Future programme and was formed from the amalgamation of Barn Farm Infant
and The Ercall Junior Schools. We were so fortunate to have been provided with an
award-winning building on the most amazing grounds, which we have developed
to provide quality Forest School opportunities, along with outdoor learning and
sports facilities.
In 2012, we formed a co-operative trust along with another local primary school,
which enabled us to link with several other local groups and services. In turn, this
helped embed the school at the heart of the community.
The Short Wood philosophy
Our governing body is a strong and challenging group who bring a wealth of
expertise to the leadership team. We stand by a firm commitment to provide
the very best education for our children. We aim to create learners who become
both inquisitive and resilient, while also enjoying their school experience. They all
understand their place in our school community and the responsibilities of being a
good Short Woody. From this they develop an understanding of how to be a model
»Head teacher: Sue Harris
»Founded in 2006, moved into
new premises in 2007
»Location: Wellington, Telford,
»Type of school: Primary school
»No. of pupils: 552
Short Wood Primary
Highlighting best practice
citizen, what it means to be part of a
team, supporting each other, and how
best to work towards a happy and
harmonious society.
We want all children to know that
they are good at something, and to
develop, utilise and celebrate their
talents. As part of this target, we
employ a full-time sports coach who
has enabled our teams to achieve
success, but we are also always ready
to try new pursuits: we recently
discovered New Age Kurling, and our
archery team have recently achieved
silver medals in a local competition.
We have just introduced the Short
Wood Daily Mile to help children to
stay fit and healthy, and work towards
that every day.
One of the delights of working at
our school is that it is a melting pot
of cultures, ethnicities, religions
and backgrounds.It delivers its
own challenges, but it provides our
pupils with amazing opportunities to
understand each other, build trust
across communities and embrace
difference. Pupils recognise that, deep
down, we are all the same; this is not
simply a display on a wall, it is a central
part of being a Short Woody and an
expression of what it means to be a
member of our community.
We always strive to find the best
possible ways of engaging all of our
learners – young and old alike. In
order to do this, we have invested in
exploring approaches from around
the world to inspire our own practice.
Funded by the Erasmus programme,
staff from our early years department
have visited Italy to see first-hand the
Reggio Emilia approach. Many of these
practices we have introduced back at
school, including employing our very
own atelierista, an art graduate, to
work with our youngest pupils. Senior
leaders have visited schools in Finland
to identify aspects of their approach
that yields positive results, and other
teachers have spent time experiencing
Forest School in Sweden.
Accolades and awards
We have achieved the Sainsbury’s Gold
Sports Award for the last four years,
which celebrates our commitment
to providing a wealth of sporting
experiences and enabling children
to take part in competitive and non-
competitive activities.
In 2014, we achieved the Platinum
Artsmark by engaging with the pilot
programme. This highlights the range
of opportunities we offer across a
number of arts activities – another
chance for Short Woodies to shine.
Left: Early years children
having fun at Forest
Right: We strive to make
learning more exciting
and engaging
Our school
motto is
“Aiming High,
Ofsted performance
By 2015, we secured our “good”
rating with Ofsted. They noted that the
“pupils’ behaviour is good, they have
a tremendous pride in their work and
their school” and that “they are clearly
very proud to be Short Woodies”. It has
been a long, tough journey that has
been well supported by Her Majesty’s
Inspectors (HMI), other consultants and
our local authority advisor. The process
has strengthened our resolve and we
are just as determined to continue
providing a creative approach to
teaching and learning.
Ofsted’s response was overwhelmingly
positive in one area: “Outstanding
spiritual, moral, social and cultural
development ensures that pupils are
growing up in a culture of tolerance of
different backgrounds and respect of
each other.”
Challenges past, present and
Our main challenge every year is to
accelerate the progress made by the
children, as many start in our early
years well below expected levels. We
plan a vibrant creative curriculum to
provide many hands-on, language-rich
experiences. This equips the children
with the vocabulary, the context and
the purpose for writing, along with
opportunities for problem-solving and
reasoning in mathematics.
We have also sought out methods
of ensuring continuing professional
development (CPD), so that all
staff can develop our educational
approaches and ethos. This will be
achieved through equipping teachers
and other adults in school with the
relevant skills to make a difference.
As a result of our visits abroad, and
CPD at our school, we have shared
practice with other schools and
providers and forged useful links with
other professionals. We have been
involved in a research project with the
University of Cambridge, which was
funded by the LEGO Foundation, and
focused on educational resilience and
This challenged us to really look at
how we deliver learning to our pupils,
exploring how they experience it and
analyse what is and isn’t effective.
These practices, grounded in evidence,
have prompted professional curiosity
and personal development for all staff
and this has subsequently led on to
new and exciting ventures.
Moving forward
In 2016, we reviewed our school vision
and recognised the progress we had
made. Our new mission statement
reflects our current aspirations for
the pupils to “aim high and grow
dreams” – we want to broaden
horizons and open up a world of
opportunities. As part of our ten-year
birthday celebrations this year we are
inviting Short Wood alumni back to
school to share their stories, including
academic successes, attendance at
university, sporting triumphs and other
achievements. Hopefully, this will go
towards inspiring and broadening
horizons for this generation of
moral, social
and cultural
ensures that
pupils are
growing up in
a culture of
tolerance of
and respect of
each other
Everyone brings their
individual skills and
talents to create an
amazing team


This article was sponsored by Short Wood 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