St Mary's RC Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by St Mary's RC 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 St Mary's RC 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

www.stmaryslevenshulme.org.uk

BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
52 | RICHARD AVENUE PRIMARY SCHOOL
There is a positive safeguarding culture
in our school. We pride ourselves in
ensuring we go the extra mile, to
enable children to feel safe, confident
and have positive relationships with
peers and adults. Children make an
exceptional contribution to a safe
and positive learning environment.
They make every effort to ensure
that others learn and thrive in an
atmosphere of dignity and respect.
The well designed curriculum embeds
their learning and prepares them for
the next stage of their education.
Staffing, the learning environment and
resources are all planned to ensure
that children of all abilities access the
best possible curriculum to suit their
needs and that they have the support
to progress rapidly in their learning.
Additional teachers allow for ability
groupings from an early stage, highly
skilled HLTAs have supported in
developing intervention programmes
for a wide range of children. The
impact is very positive and children
thrive. Children who have English as
an additional language, with targeted
school support and parental support
achieve well.
The behaviour and attitudes of all
children make a powerful contribution
to their own learning and is crucial to
the progress they make as they move
through school. They are encouraged
to take responsibility and support
eachother.
We believe we are an influential setting
and can contribute to improving the
health and wellbeing of pupils. We
believe that a good mental wellbeing
impacts significantly on a child’s
ability to learn and how they live their
lives. Our school’s councillor plays a
major role in helping us to identify
what is needed for our children, as
individuals, small groups and whole
class curriculum based learning. The
children love it.
Caring community
A wide range of very effective
partnerships and specialist agencies,
ensure pupils and their families are
well supported. School are exceptional
at being proactive in identifying
where support is needed and offering
school early support or multi agency
support. This is co-ordinated by our
Family Liaison Officer, a role that is
based on trust, compassion and a ‘we
care’approach.
Our relationship with parents is further
extended by their desire to start or
further their own learning. With
weekly adult ESOL, maths, English,
phonics and writing sessions parents
can raise their own aspirations and
have a positive impact upon their
children’s learning.
At Richard Avenue Primary School our
motto is: “If you want to see the view,
you have to climb the mountain”.
This reinforces to everyone who is
part of the school community, to aim
high, work hard and you can achieve.
The school is on a journey to being
outstanding, although the main aim
is to make it a great place for children
tolearn.
Our
relationship
with parents is
further
extended by
their desire to
start or further
their own
learning
Engaging parents in their
own learning encourages
aspirations for all
53ST MARY’S RC PRIMARY SCHOOL |
PRIMARY EDUCATION
Engaging with nature and each
other
Co-operative learning
St Mary’s RC Primary is an inner-city primary school in the
Levenshulme area of Manchester. The school is a vibrant,
developing community with a happy, family-orientated
environment. It also serves a large number of SEND students.
It has a commitment to learning outdoors and, as part of this
philosophy, provides a rich curriculum offering an inclusive and
diverse education. Headteacher Mylene McGuire discusses the
progress the school has made since she arrived in 2011.
St Mary’s School has been a great story of improvement, with the curriculum,
environment and standards witnessed today a far cry from those in 2011. When
appointed as head, I quickly saw that radical changes needed to be made. The
school was essentially offering just maths, English and RE, and pupils were leaving
with a very narrow understanding of the world that we live in.
We cater for a large number of children with autism and SEND, and our priority
is to give all pupils a high-quality, engaging and challenging education. Thirty-
five of our pupils are in receipt of element two funding, with a further group
having an education and health care plan. Many of our SEND pupils have social
communication issues. The backgrounds our students come from are fairly varied,
with the number of students receiving free school meals at the national average.
We are based in one of the top 20 per cent most deprived areas in the UK, but
as a Catholic school we pull from a wide geographical area, meaning this is not
necessarily reflected in the annual intake each year.
When I arrived, the curriculum was dull, children were not excited about their
learning and behaviours for learning were not consistently good. The resources
REPORT CARD
ST MARY’S RC PRIMARY
SCHOOL
»Headteacher: Mylene McGuire
»Founded in 1898
»Based in Levenshulme,
Manchester
»Type of school: Catholic
primary
»No. of students: 465
»No. of staff: 62
St Mary’s RC Primary
School
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
54 | ST MARY’S RC PRIMARY SCHOOL
available to pupils were limited and
while results had been reasonable, this
had come at the expense of a rounded
education that embraced the arts,
drama, sport and music as well as core
academic learning. With the support
of a newly constituted leadership team
we set the ball rolling on a significant
period of change, creating a rich
and wide curriculum and improving
both the standards of teaching and
the quality of learning experiences
forpupils.
Creating focused aims
As we began the process of making
improvements, we set about creating
three priorities: high standards in the
basics, inclusive practice and a rich
and diverse curriculum. To achieve
these goals, we introduced innovative
reforms, placing an emphasis on
personalised learning, mental health
and wellbeing and care for the future
of our world. These are issues that
are now coming to the fore more
widely in education, but we have been
championing them here since 2011.
These changes were part of a full
curriculum overhaul, which included
more time for subjects that had
previously been neglected and a
commitment to at least ten per cent
of all learning taking place outdoors.
During our most recent Section
8 Ofsted inspection in November
2018, the inspector remarked on the
positive way in which the children
were learning and their high levels of
independence.
Learning to learn
For our children, a big part of this has
been our learning to learn programme.
This teaches children the skills and
personal qualities that are necessary
to take on new challenges and ideas,
which is of course a huge part of any
learning. Five years ago, as a result of
a staff-led action research group, we
created our “learning powers”, which
are the central qualities at the heart of
the “learning to learn” programme.
These powers are resilience, personal
challenge, curiosity, self-improvement,
creativity, self-review and co-operation.
Each power has a story to explain it
and we make the characteristics of
every power clear to the pupils. This
gives them an accessible way of seeing
the learning behaviours that exemplify
each power and as a result they know
what they are trying to aim for. Our
approach has been an integral part
of the successful implementation and
evaluation of the new curriculum. We
now facilitate lessons that focus on
how we can engage, challenge and
personalise learning.
Pupils learn in mixed-ability groups
and are encouraged to develop
independent learning through
peer discussion. Teachers set
learning challenges and children are
encouraged to select activities that are
challenging. Once completed, learning
is reviewed alongside peers as well as
the teacher. The expectation is that
they are responsible for their learning
as much as we are, ensuring that as
they move on to the next phase of
their education they are self-motivated
and independent learners.
Heritage crafts and skills
revived
An emphasis
on
personalised
learning,
mental health
and wellbeing
and care for
the future of
our world
55ST MARY’S RC PRIMARY SCHOOL |
PRIMARY EDUCATION
Meeting the needs of the
learners
Our curriculum itself is organised
thematically and is focused on oracy,
skills development and a core body
of knowledge, all underpinned by a
commitment to a growth mindset and
learning to learn through our learning
powers. We start by analysing our
pupils’ wider needs; for example, one
of our priorities is oracy, as many of
our children have speech and language
needs on entry to the school. As a
result, we plan themed units of work,
which ensures that oracy is accounted
for alongside the skills and knowledge
elements. We also balance this with
the national curriculum and the
Catholic schools’ curriculum, which has
a strong focus on caring for our world
and ourselves.
We try and offer as much outdoor
learning as possible, with every year
group having blocks of outdoor learning
allocated to social communication
through forest school and outdoor
education. Teaching is planned to take
place outdoors in lots of subjects. In
2011, we had bland outdoor spaces.
These have been transformed over
time and we now have a wide variety
of experience on our doorstep.
Thisincludes a forest school, peace
garden, giant tipi tent, outdoor First
World War memorial classroom,
pond area, orchard, growing garden,
amphitheatre and AstroTurf. Using these
innovative on-site facilities, we can
teach forgotten crafts such as weaving
and spoon-making, plan immersive first-
hand learning experiences and teach a
variety of sports.
This commitment to a rich experiential
curriculum allows us to find out what
switches each pupil on and helps
them to learn. When we find out
where their talent and interests lie,
we can help them with every aspect
of their learning and in turn build
their self-confidence and resilience.
In our last inspection, one parent told
the inspector that our school was
a place of peace and happiness, an
aura that our varied provision has
no doubt created. Moving forward,
we want to continue to develop our
links with other schools so that they
can access our amazing facilities and
share practice. We are confident we
can continue to offer an engaging,
challenging and varied education for
pupils of all abilities.
We now
facilitate lessons
that focus on
how we can
engage,
challenge and
personalise
learning
» RESEARCH-BASED APPROACH
Threaded through everything we do, both
in and out of the classroom, is a focus on
research-based practice. We have utilised
theories such as growth mindset and
built on the ideas and practice of Shirley
Clarke, John Hattie and Carol Dweck. We
actively encourage our staff to pursue
areas of interest and regularly have small
action research-based projects in place to
help us to further improve what we do.
As part of these small groups, teachers
can look closely at theory trial ideas in
the classroom and examine how pupils
respond. This helps us as a school to be
continually focused on improvements that
are based on what works for our children. Learning to learn
together
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
54 | ST MARY’S RC PRIMARY SCHOOL
available to pupils were limited and
while results had been reasonable, this
had come at the expense of a rounded
education that embraced the arts,
drama, sport and music as well as core
academic learning. With the support
of a newly constituted leadership team
we set the ball rolling on a significant
period of change, creating a rich
and wide curriculum and improving
both the standards of teaching and
the quality of learning experiences
forpupils.
Creating focused aims
As we began the process of making
improvements, we set about creating
three priorities: high standards in the
basics, inclusive practice and a rich
and diverse curriculum. To achieve
these goals, we introduced innovative
reforms, placing an emphasis on
personalised learning, mental health
and wellbeing and care for the future
of our world. These are issues that
are now coming to the fore more
widely in education, but we have been
championing them here since 2011.
These changes were part of a full
curriculum overhaul, which included
more time for subjects that had
previously been neglected and a
commitment to at least ten per cent
of all learning taking place outdoors.
During our most recent Section
8 Ofsted inspection in November
2018, the inspector remarked on the
positive way in which the children
were learning and their high levels of
independence.
Learning to learn
For our children, a big part of this has
been our learning to learn programme.
This teaches children the skills and
personal qualities that are necessary
to take on new challenges and ideas,
which is of course a huge part of any
learning. Five years ago, as a result of
a staff-led action research group, we
created our “learning powers”, which
are the central qualities at the heart of
the “learning to learn” programme.
These powers are resilience, personal
challenge, curiosity, self-improvement,
creativity, self-review and co-operation.
Each power has a story to explain it
and we make the characteristics of
every power clear to the pupils. This
gives them an accessible way of seeing
the learning behaviours that exemplify
each power and as a result they know
what they are trying to aim for. Our
approach has been an integral part
of the successful implementation and
evaluation of the new curriculum. We
now facilitate lessons that focus on
how we can engage, challenge and
personalise learning.
Pupils learn in mixed-ability groups
and are encouraged to develop
independent learning through
peer discussion. Teachers set
learning challenges and children are
encouraged to select activities that are
challenging. Once completed, learning
is reviewed alongside peers as well as
the teacher. The expectation is that
they are responsible for their learning
as much as we are, ensuring that as
they move on to the next phase of
their education they are self-motivated
and independent learners.
Heritage crafts and skills
revived
An emphasis
on
personalised
learning,
mental health
and wellbeing
and care for
the future of
our world
55ST MARY’S RC PRIMARY SCHOOL |
PRIMARY EDUCATION
Meeting the needs of the
learners
Our curriculum itself is organised
thematically and is focused on oracy,
skills development and a core body
of knowledge, all underpinned by a
commitment to a growth mindset and
learning to learn through our learning
powers. We start by analysing our
pupils’ wider needs; for example, one
of our priorities is oracy, as many of
our children have speech and language
needs on entry to the school. As a
result, we plan themed units of work,
which ensures that oracy is accounted
for alongside the skills and knowledge
elements. We also balance this with
the national curriculum and the
Catholic schools’ curriculum, which has
a strong focus on caring for our world
and ourselves.
We try and offer as much outdoor
learning as possible, with every year
group having blocks of outdoor learning
allocated to social communication
through forest school and outdoor
education. Teaching is planned to take
place outdoors in lots of subjects. In
2011, we had bland outdoor spaces.
These have been transformed over
time and we now have a wide variety
of experience on our doorstep.
Thisincludes a forest school, peace
garden, giant tipi tent, outdoor First
World War memorial classroom,
pond area, orchard, growing garden,
amphitheatre and AstroTurf. Using these
innovative on-site facilities, we can
teach forgotten crafts such as weaving
and spoon-making, plan immersive first-
hand learning experiences and teach a
variety of sports.
This commitment to a rich experiential
curriculum allows us to find out what
switches each pupil on and helps
them to learn. When we find out
where their talent and interests lie,
we can help them with every aspect
of their learning and in turn build
their self-confidence and resilience.
In our last inspection, one parent told
the inspector that our school was
a place of peace and happiness, an
aura that our varied provision has
no doubt created. Moving forward,
we want to continue to develop our
links with other schools so that they
can access our amazing facilities and
share practice. We are confident we
can continue to offer an engaging,
challenging and varied education for
pupils of all abilities.
We now
facilitate lessons
that focus on
how we can
engage,
challenge and
personalise
learning
» RESEARCH-BASED APPROACH
Threaded through everything we do, both
in and out of the classroom, is a focus on
research-based practice. We have utilised
theories such as growth mindset and
built on the ideas and practice of Shirley
Clarke, John Hattie and Carol Dweck. We
actively encourage our staff to pursue
areas of interest and regularly have small
action research-based projects in place to
help us to further improve what we do.
As part of these small groups, teachers
can look closely at theory trial ideas in
the classroom and examine how pupils
respond. This helps us as a school to be
continually focused on improvements that
are based on what works for our children. Learning to learn
together

www.stmaryslevenshulme.org.uk

This article was sponsored by St Mary's RC 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