Upper Batley High School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Upper Batley High 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 Upper Batley High 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, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP


Sam Vickers, head teacher
The school of choice for
high-achieving boys
The Batley buzz” – that’s the slogan of the eponymous
Upper Batley High School (UBHS), whose presence in the
region is unique in that they are the only all-boys school
in their local authority. They are an aspirational and forward-
thinking learning community dedicated to educational success.
While striving for excellence in everything they do, they are
committed to securing great futures and the best life chances
for every young man in their care, no matter their background.
To describe this school’s goals and modus operandi in greater
detail, the following article is written by its head teacher,
Samantha Vickers.
Key areas
We know that every learner, with their different talents, skills and ambitions, has
the potential to excel. It’s vital that we act on this, so as to help in promoting
economic development and enabling our community to contribute successfully to
society as a whole. Tackling the poverty of aspiration, therefore, is an essential part
of our work.
Respect, too, is at the heart of all that we do. Mastering this area is key to
becoming a successful young adult, ready to face the opportunities and challenges
of today’s world. Respect for learning, respect for self and respect for others – all of
this shapes who we are, and we are particularly proud of our commitment to, and
celebration of, community cohesion.
»Head teacher: Sam Vickers
»Founded in 1959
»Based in Batley, West
»Type of school: Boys’
secondary academy
»No. of students: 643
»We effectively educate
tomorrow’s successful men
Upper Batley High
Highlighting best practice
Since October 2014 we have been
through some rapid changes. With a
new head teacher, a revised staff team
and a rapid transformation in terms of
Ofsted success has come great GCSE
outcomes for our learners and a vastly
improved community perception of
our school. Our numbers have risen
significantly, as has the number of
parents listing us as their first choice.
We are now the first choice school for
high-achieving boys. We are highly
ambitious about what we can achieve
here. We believe in a “can-do” culture
and in every member of our learning
community being the best that they
can be.
We have a clear, shared vision for our
school, and our great team of staff,
governors and parents work hard to
ensure our vision becomes a reality as
we “educate tomorrow’s successful
men”. We develop leadership
opportunities at all levels, with staff
actively contributing their ideas in
developing new ways of working to
continually move our school forward. It
is a real team effort here at UBHS.
A broad but focused education
We deliver a great educational
experience for our learners, and
we have some of the best pastoral
care there is in Kirklees, if not the
country. Our learners come from a
local, tightly knit community which
deserves a school that is outstanding
in every way. Our shared goal is to
deliver this over the coming years. We
are committed to developing skills,
independence and resilience in our
learners, so that they will be successful
both academically and personally.
Good learners know what to do, even
– so to speak – when they don’t know
what to do! As has been wisely said
before: Education is the most powerful
weapon you can use to change
In 2017 we have achieved strong
results under the new measures (9-1
grading system) and achieved the
PSHCE charter mark for our excellent
work in PSHCE (personal, social, health
and citizen education), as well as
receiving local and national recognition
for our work on careers education.
In 2016 we were afforded the title
of a “beacon of success” school for
the excellent progress our learners
made, and we are proud to be listed
in the northern powerhouse report.
We have seen rapid improvements in
Bespoke, engaging
Cutting-edge careers
A beacon of
our GCSE results over the past three
years, achieving Progress8 above the
national average in 2016; indeed, we
were included in the “Top100Most
Improved Schools in the UK” for
our rapid progress. Many of our
departments now achieve above the
national averages.
Our career pathways programme is
cutting edge and runs across all five
year groups. We were awarded the
careers charter mark award in2017.
We are immensely proud of the
high calibre of staff we have on our
team with one LLE (local leader of
education) and eight SLEs (specialised
leaders of education) – all accredited
by the National College for Teaching
and Leadership. I am the education
leader for the More In Common
#Yorkshire group, established
following the tragic murder of our late
MP, Jo Cox.
Teaching for the real world
The purpose of this group is to
continue the great work that Jo started
and to ensure that our area continues
to grow and thrive as part of her
legacy. We organise major community
events such as The Great Get Together,
the Big Iftar, the Step Into The Future
Walk and also participate in the Run
for Jo and the Jo Cox Way cycle ride.
Additionally, some of our boys have
trained as “dementia friends” to
support people who need help, or who
are lonely within our community. Most
recently, a group of boys raised their
own funds in order to travel to India
to teach STEM in two schools. The
institutions at which they taught were
schools for the visually and hearing
impaired, and the trip was a huge
success and constituted a life-changing
experience for our learners. One of
the Ofsted comments we are most
proud of goes as follows: “the school
is a harmonious community in which
The young men at UBHS are a joy to
work with. They are creative, lively,
energetic and have a lot to say; they
inspire our staff team each and every
day. Learners say they feel safe at our
school and enjoy coming here. Parents
are very supportive of our work and
would recommend our school to
others. We work together to ensure
our learners achieve and succeed. A
parent recently said: “My son would
not have become the person he is
today if it wasn’t for the excellent
support he received at UBHS.” Our
school is like a good family, where we
all support each other, and all push
each other to be our best every day.
We offer an open invitation to visit our
school and see first-hand the passion,
dedication, drive and determination
our whole school community shares
in our pursuit of excellence. If one
were to visit, an ethos of hard work,
ambition and high aspiration would
immediately become apparent. You
can really feel the Batley buzz.
The school is a
community in
which to learn
Parents highly
recommend our school
to others


This article was sponsored by Upper Batley High 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