Victoria School

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

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 Victoria School is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Executive Headteacher
Pauline Robertson
Learning through life
Based in Workington, Cumbria, Victoria School is a
federation that offers nursery, infant and junior provision.
Executive Head Pauline Robertson tells
The Parliamentary
of the school’s passionate drive to ensure that the
personal development of all pupils, from two to 11 years old,
underpins their educational journey. In 2018 the Federation of
Victoria Infant and Nursery with Victoria Junior School
provided the opportunity to embed their vision – “Children
are our future”. Together they promote high achievement and
lifelong learning for all.
Our belief that every child deserves the best start in life and the right to a better
future provides us with the commitment to support the needs of our most
vulnerable pupils, as we raise the standards for all at Victoria School.
I was appointed as headteacher of the infant and nursery school in 1995, and then
as a school improvement partner to Victoria Junior School in 2010. The federation
has created a strong leadership team with an outstanding head teacher-associate in
Vicki Hepburn-Fish. Supported by dedicated, highly skilled, committed staff and
governors, we aim to ensure that all our pupils have access to the best possible
opportunities and experiences.
We help all our pupils foster aspiration to reach their full potential. The infant and
nursery phase has been rated “outstanding” three times by Ofsted, and the juniors
were rated “good” in our last two inspections. This is evidence of our commitment
to providing high-quality resources and quality-first teaching and learning, driven by
the development of a strong senior and middle leadership team.
Victoria School are founding members of Cumbria Teacher Training and award the
QTS to all trainees as partners with the University of Cumbria. We promote high
»Executive Headteacher: Pauline
»Headteacher Associate: Vicki
»Current school built in 2001
on the site of the original
school, founded in 1885
»Location: Workington,
»Type of school:Federation
of nursery, infant and junior
»No. of students:554 aged two
to 11
»Gold Standard in Learning
Quality Framework
»eTwinning school
»SCITT provider through
Cumbria Teacher Training
Victoria School
Highlighting best practice
achievement and lifelong learning,
developing and celebrating pupils as
individuals. Every child, regardless of
ability, deserves a first-class education
with hidden talents to be uncovered
and nurtured. We strongly believe
that together, with the support of our
parents, our pupils can aspire to be the
best that they can be.
After identifying the impacting barriers
to learning in the juniors, the lack of
pupil aspiration and personal drive to
achieve, Building Learning Power was
implemented and has transformed
the attitude of our pupils. In 2019 the
infant and nursery phase achieved
Gold Standard in Learning Quality
Framework Award and the Juniors
Silver Standard. The impact of our work
has given ownership to the children of
their learning journey, preparing them
for a life beyond the school gate.
Maximising every learning
At the heart of all we do are our
children. As they develop a belief in
themselves and a respect for others, this
strengthens a positive image, allowing
them to grow and make informed
choices, strengthening an aspiration to
be the best that they can be.
As we nurture their potential we get to
know them well. We provide individual
opportunities that lead to developing
strong relationships, furthering positive
attitudes, leading to a mastery of
academic skills. We challenge pupils
to become confident collaborative
learners through an active, healthy,
creative, technological, global and
relevant curriculum.
Exciting, active and varied
Our staff work hard to ensure that
the highest academic standards are
achieved and provide a curriculum
that offers the opportunities to gain
confidence and reflect on progress.
In turn, this has created a sense of
resilience within our pupils, which
gives them the determination and skills
to take on any setback.
In order to balance attainment with
personal development, we provide as
broad a curriculum as possible. This
means that while reading, writing and
maths are emphasised heavily, we
place a significant importance on the
teaching of creative arts, health and
fitness, computing and technology.
Within reading and maths we have
used specialist programmes such
as Accelerated Reader and Maths
No Problem. Victoria School is very
lucky to have a Teaching for Mastery
Specialist who, as well as supporting
other schools, leads the mastery
approach within our schools.
Music and dance are provided, offering
pupils the opportunity to perform in
the theatre, sing in our choirs, learn
to play an instrument, including an
opportunity to play in the school brass
One of our significant strengths is the
shared collaborative approach that is
evident throughout the federation.
Pupils remain with us from age two
until 11, and this enables us to have
an early impact on their development,
while providing a personalised plan
for each child. Our belief is that, if
a child arrives with us at age two,
the outcome at the end of year 6
has the potential to be significantly
better. Therefore, phonics, reading
and writing are taught from entry to
school, while we implement a routine
and structure that becomes embedded
over time.
Inclusion for all
At Victoria we recognise that children
can be marginalised by their religion,
race, disability and even gender.
However, we also recognise the
underlining importance of a strong,
consistent focus on the needs of
all pupils, but particularly the most
vulnerable and disadvantaged.
Global learning and
British values link learning
to the world around them
We challenge
pupils to
through an
active, healthy,
global and
Underachievement continues to be
measured using performance data.
While this has resulted in a strengthened
focus on delivering quality teaching and
learning with high expectations, the
impact of narrowing or closing the gap
has not always been met, with success
often seen to be cohort-specific and
reactionary to each year group.
Poverty proofing; protecting
our most vulnerable
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown
us that the academic gap for children
from vulnerable backgrounds has
increased, and as a result we have
re-affirmed how we “poverty proof”
our school. We have identified our
most vulnerable and more importantly
what makes them more vulnerable.
Narrowing the gap for the children
who fall into more than one vulnerable
category can prove to be quite a
challenge; however, Covid-19 has
allowed us to increase our focus on
supporting these families and gain a
clearer understanding of the negative
impact upon their lives.
The work of our safeguarding team
has enabled us to focus on making a
»The social and emotional impact of
home life.
»The lack of access to good nutrition
and nourishment, FSM and
additional food.
»Poor or no access to technology that
is now playing such an increased and
vital role in direct learning and access
to learning.
»The crucial role of the parents
and why in some cases this role
diminishes as the child moves
through the key stages.
Looking to the future
Our target is simply to continue to
offer the highest standard of care,
education and personal support to
all. At the heart of all we do is a
drive to continue to close the gap
between the majority of our children
and our children from challenging
Like any school, things cannot always
be perfect, but with the staff at
Victoria School, and I refer to the
contributions made by all, we have
a genuine drive to give all our pupils
the best possible start in life. On a
daily basis we strive to make a positive
impact on their learning journey and
prepare them well for life beyond the
school gate.
One of our
strengths is
the shared
approach that
is evident
the federation
Active healthy lifestyles
support learning
Preparing for the technological
world we live in
Developing a love for the
performing arts

This article was sponsored by Victoria School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.