St Richard's R.C. Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by St Richard's R.C. 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 Richard's R.C. 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
Co-head teachers Sharon Sesnan
and John Keyworth
St Richard’s school council –
who always have great ideas
St Richard’s is a large, voluntary-aided Roman Catholic
primary school in Manchester which serves a significant
number of disadvantaged children and families. Sharon
Sesnan, who has been the head teacher for 11 years, explains
that the school’s main purpose had been to provide a high-
quality education for the Catholic population of the area but
has embraced that it is important that the school reflects the
mixture of faiths and ethnic groups in the local community. For
this reason, St Richard’s teach and model key values that are
crucial for the children to operate as citizens in a multi-cultural
Britain and world. These values include tolerance, understanding
of different people’s views, respect regardless of faith or
background, and justice and respect of law.
I have worked closely with the deputy head teacher, John Keyworth, who has
been at the school for 20 years and has also been head teacher for two days a
week during the past year. We have a determination that every child can succeed
no matter what their individual circumstances are. During my period as head the
school has been judged to be outstanding by Ofsted in a mathematical survey
report and was selected in 2010 by Ofsted to be one of ten schools to take part
in “The Reading by Six” report – how the best schools do it. In 2012 we were
judged to be “outstanding” in all categories by Ofsted and in our Section 48
Religious Education inspection we were also graded as “outstanding”. We have
also achieved the Geography and Science Quality Marks and in September 2017
we were awarded the 360 degree safe Online Safety Mark.
»Co-head teachers: Sharon
Sesnan and John Keyworth
»Founded in 1969
»Based in Longsight,
»Type of school: Roman
Catholic primary school
»Percentage of pupils eligible
for pupil premium: 35 per cent
»English as an additional
language: 45 per cent with
34 different first languages
»Percentage of pupils eligible
for free school meals (FSM):
20 per cent
»SEND: 20 per cent
»Ofsted: “Outstanding”
»Diocese rating: “Outstanding”
St Richard’s RC
Primary School
The curriculum
iswell crafted to
give pupils a
range of
experiences. It
strives to excite
and inspire pupils
to enjoy learning
Local Authority Quality
Assurance report 2017
The senior leadership team has a clear
vision for the school, across all aspects
of school life and learning. While,
by its nature, the responsibilities of
the position of classroom teacher are
work-intensive, the senior leadership
team does not introduce any initiative
haphazardly and always makes sure
that any new enterprises are well
thought through, well resourced and
guaranteed to have meaningful impact.
Staff are given time to integrate new
expectations into their practice, while
being given the freedom to bring
their own creativity and ideas to the
classroom. Teachers feel supported in
their teaching and behaviour.
The consistent outstanding results of
our children have led to the school
being invited by the DfE to take part
in a national programme of qualitative
research on school performance and
disadvantage. Sharing good practice
is an important aspect of St Richard’s.
In 2015 we hosted twelve of Her
Majesty’s Inspectors (HMIs) from the
Midlands led by senior HMI Angela
Westington. As a result of that visit we
have been visited by 23 schools, which
has enabled us to share good practice
across a range of schools.
The senior leadership team was invited
to a conference in Stoke to speak to
a large audience of teachers, advisers
and HMIs from the Midlands about the
teaching and learning at St Richard’s.
Tristram Hunt, then shadow education
minister, also spoke at the conference
as well as representatives from Ofsted.
It provided the senior leadership team
with a platform from which to share
our philosophy, as set out below.
There is a culture of high expectations
in the school, which goes a far way
towards mitigating the social and
economic factors that might otherwise
inhibit progress for pupils in a similar
catchment (31 per cent of pupils are
eligible for pupil premium). While the
school is sensitive to economic, social,
financial and developmental matters,
these potentially limiting factors are not
used as justification for expecting or
accepting anything less than excellence
from every pupil. Every member of
staff – at all levels of the school – has
high expectations in terms of respect,
behaviour, work and manners, and it is
this culture of excellence that helps to
create a solid foundation for effective
learning. Pupils are encouraged to
realise that all dreams are possible if
they are backed up by determination,
hard work and education. In other
words, we always encourage them to
aim as high as possible.
Staff training
To ensure children receive consistent
high-quality teaching and learning,
staff training is an important priority
within the school and supports the
culture of excellence.
We believe healthy
eating is a prerequisite
for children to learn
The senior leadership
team with our two
assistant head teachers,
Andrea Toal and Kathryn
Highlighting best practice
The school community is acutely
aware that our standards and
reputation often fall under scrutiny.
Because of the recognition of our
role by HMI as a system leader, we
must always maintain the highest
possible standards as far as the
professionalism of the staff and the
work and behaviour of the children
are concerned. The frequent visitors
to school learn from our practice;
this ensures that we never take
quality assurance for granted and
that we look at the school from
outside perspectives and with fresh
eyes. Governors also welcome the
significant scrutiny from outside and
value the external evidence of school
performance which corroborates
internal self-evaluation judgments.
A broad, balanced curriculum
has been developed with
many cross-curricular links. The
curriculum is enhanced by a
wide range of extra-curricular
activities and inter-school sport
is given a high priority. External
consultants are used to provide
expertise in the delivery of
certain subjects whilst ensuring
good CPD opportunities
Outcomes at St Richard’s
remain outstanding. From
low starting points, there is
rapid progress throughout the
school and overall, pupils leave
with attainment well above
national figures. School leaders
have robust self-evaluation
procedures and their judgement
on outcomes is backed up by
data and work scrutiny.”
– Local Authority Quality
Assurance report
October 2017
We have a
that every child
can succeed no
matter their
Three good examples of the way we challenge
ourselves are:
»the commissioning of the services of an independent
quality assurance professional to undertake a review
of pupils’ attainment and progress, focusing on the
summer end of key stage results;
»the commissioning of work with another
independent consultant to ensure that our self-
evaluation and improvement planning systems are
robust and tested against external benchmarks; and
»significant investment in bringing inspiration and
excellence models into school to enhance the
curriculum, e.g. the regular input from professional
artists who work with all age ranges.
We work hard and play
Eager to learn

This article was sponsored by St Richard's R.C. 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