The Cornelius Vermuyden School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by The Cornelius Vermuyden 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 The Cornelius Vermuyden 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 Mr Ian Hockey
A school where students
are at the centre of all we
Cornelius Vermuyden School is a mixed comprehensive
academy for 907 pupils aged 11 to 16 years in Canvey
Island, Essex. The school was newly built in 2012 as a PFI
build under the Building Schools for the Future scheme, with the
school receiving an “excellence” grading from the Chartered
Association of Building Engineers and being shortlisted for
a Royal Institute of British Architects award. The new build
replaced the majority of the school’s first buildings, which were
opened in the early 1970s. Headteacher Ian Hockey explains that
it is a school underpinned by traditional values, which, combined
with modern-day thinking, creates well-rounded individuals who
excel academically, in the arts and in the sporting arena.
Respect, resilience and responsibility
At the heart of our vision is a desire to transform the life chances of our students and
ensure opportunities for social mobility. We insist upon full inclusivity – all students,
regardless of their starting points and educational needs, will be encouraged to
develop an uncompromising drive for excellence, coupled with creativity and self-
confidence, ensuring that they can contribute meaningfully to society. Our school
ethos is expressed in three words: respect, resilience and responsibility.
We are a school that has learning and excellence at the heart of all we do. We seek
to provide an education where achievement is celebrated and all children have
every chance of success – an education that stretches and supports students of all
abilities and values each child as anindividual.
»Headteacher: Mr Ian Hockey
»Founded in 1972
»Based in Canvey Island, Essex
»Type: 11-16 mixed secondary
school and converter academy
»No. of students: 907
»No. of staff: 59 teachers and
38 support staff
»Cornelius Vermuyden School
opened in September 1972
with 13 staff and 196 pupils
The Cornelius
Vermuyden School
Highlighting best practice
Raising aspirations
Every school leader strives to develop
intelligent, articulate, well-rounded
young people who are ready to meet
the demands of the 21st century. We
do this by providing a challenging
yet personalised curriculum that
prepares young people for both
further education and the rapidly
evolving world of work and a broad
extracurricular experience, including
educational travel, career experiences
and a lively, competitive house system.
This is supplemented by opportunities
to develop “soft” skills such as
independent learning, organisation,
presentation, problem-solving and
leadership skills.
Education is not just about measurable
outcomes, although we never lose
sight of this; it is also about fostering a
genuine passion to learn, an insatiable
curiosity and a boundless imagination.
In an educational climate of increased
testing and more-challenging GCSEs,
there is a temptation for schools to
create lessons that are tailored entirely
to passing examinations and that
suppress creativity.
Our curriculum provision has had a
radical overhaul. The “one size fits
all” curriculum that once existed has
been replaced with an ambitious
curriculum strategy that allows both
equity and achievement to be attained
for all groups of students. Catch-
up students access a differentiated
curriculum in maths and English,
while a pathway system enables the
most able to be accelerated. We have
created a curriculum and a teaching
and learning framework that envelop
the challenge needed for GCSEs
within an immersive and imaginative
setting. Theoutcome is rapid progress
and students who love learning. This
teaching and learning framework is
underpinned by intelligently formed,
outward-facing partnerships and a
commitment from all staff to underpin
their classroom practice with evidence-
based research.
Science has been given parity with
English and maths in terms of
allocation, and we continue to address
the historic shortfall in teaching hours.
Furthermore, additional curriculum
time has been given to drama,
music, and design and technology
to reinstate their importance. We
have not neglected the creative
aspects of a student’s experience.
Furthermore, we have introduced a
year 9 “broadening horizons” carousel
of learning in classical civilisation,
media studies, performing arts and
psychology, focused on enriching all
students’ minds in terms of general
interest while developing the relevant
skills so that the demands and rigour
required to study the courses at GCSE
Nine core teaching and
learning principles
Academic achievement is driven
by outstanding teaching from
highly qualified subject specialists.
Our exceptional teaching staff,
Outdoor learning in
beautiful surroundings
The core values
of ‘respect,
resilience and
are at the heart
of day-to-day
life in the
school. Pupils
develop good
personal and
social skills,
readily taking
on age-
leadership roles
Ofsted, November 2018
many of whom hold postgraduate
qualifications, are uniquely placed
not only to support students through
to examination success but also
to develop their scholarship and
passion for their chosen disciplines
well beyond the confines of
Our success as an institution is
also due to our investment in staff
development. We take the time to
develop the skills of our staff so
that our creative and aspirational
curriculum is achievable for all. Our
bespoke CPD programme focuses on
the followingareas:
1. Creating challenge
2. Setting clear success criteria
3. Planning for progress
4. Questioning
5. Promoting literacy
6. Marking and feedback
7. Effective use of additional adults
8. Establishing a positive climate for
9. Homework
A sense of community, pride
and belonging
Parents have always valued our school,
yet, when I arrived, there were few
opportunities for parents to engage
truly in school life. A supportive parent
body who were keen to get involved
meant that engaging parents through
surveys,a half-termly parents’ forum
and a “parental drop-in” opportunity
has already paid dividends in growing
a sense of community.
There is a sense of purpose and
pride within our school, and visitors
comment on the welcoming
atmosphere. Staff are professional
in their approach, and students are
courteous, confident and willing to
do their best. They work well with
teachers and appreciate their support,
many of whom provide extra revision
classes and holiday workshops.
Getting the pastoral wellbeing and
welfare support right for students
has been the most important aspect
of this journey: it’s what binds us
together. Our school ethos has allowed
us to focus on high attainment and
progress and become a centre for
Looking ahead
Reflecting on the last four years, the
school finds itself at the next point
of its development. All that has been
achieved over this time has been
down to every member of staff, both
teaching and associate, going the extra
mile and always believing that what
we do can be done better.
Our strong work ethic, coupled with
a relentless growth mindset, means
that our team will continue to look
for the opportunity in every challenge
and do whatever is required to give
our young people the best possible
education long into thefuture. A
history of excellence underpins the
progressive nature of this school, and
I am looking forward to sharing our
successes and learning from others at
every opportunity.
middle leaders’
role in
improving the
performance of
pupils in their
subjects and so
increased their
contribution to
Ofsted, November 2018
Engagement and
enjoyment are keys to

This article was sponsored by The Cornelius Vermuyden 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