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


Headteacher Li-Juan Ellerton
Children dressed up in red clothes
and had great fun learning all about
the Chinese New Year
Waltham St Lawrence Primary School is located in rural
Berkshire, where everyone works collaboratively to
‘inspire and achieve together’, as our motto says. With
a total of 140 children, from the ages of four to 11, it prides
itself on its ability to give pupils the individual attention that
they need to flourish. It follows an active learning approach and
adapts learning styles in accordance with different age groups.
Headteacher Li-Juan Ellerton goes into more detail about what
makes the school successful.
The school is tucked away in a remote part of Berkshire, and both its location and
quality of staff offer a space for children to learn and grow. Character building and
holistic development are just as important as learning to read and write. Therefore,
our school system is entirely transparent and we encourage the active involvement
of parents in their children’s education.
Our motto, ‘Together We Inspire and Achieve’, is embedded throughout the school
and in order to further exemplify our best practice, in consultation with our governors,
pupils, parents and teachers, we have ‘unpacked’ this motto by creating an acrostic
that we believe summarises our educational intention. It reads as follows: Willingness,
Aspiration, Love, Trust, Happiness, Achievement, Motivation (Waltham); Success,
Teamwork (St); Loyalty, Appreciation, Working hard, Responsibility, Empathy, Non-
judgemental, Caring, Enthusiasm (Lawrence); Confidence, Honesty, Independence,
Learning, Determination (Child).
Values-based education
At Waltham St Lawrence we teach children from a range of backgrounds and
pride ourselves upon this diversity and our inclusive practice. The core values of
» Headteacher: Li-Juan Ellerton
» Founded in 1910
» Location: Waltham
StLawrence, Berkshire
» Type of school: Primary
» No. of pupils: 140
» www.wslprimary.org
Waltham St Lawrence
Primary School
Highlighting best practice
Love, Truth, Peace, Responsibility and
Community underpin everything that
we do. While these are broad values
on the surface, we dig into each one in
forensic detail and allow the children
to understand the actions and thought
processes included in each. These lessons
encompass the importance of teamwork,
honesty, self-reliance, resilience, inclusion,
citizenship and conservation. This has
been a central part of our provision since
2013, supported by the Human Values
Foundation, and it has become a defining
area of strength. We are currently
following The Big Think SMSC updated
programme which covers all aspects of
the new RSHE curriculum. Instilling these
values in children from an early age
inspires them to lay solid foundations
that will prepare them for their next
stage of education and empowers them
to achieve their full potential and live a
fulfilling adult life as responsiblecitizens.
Character building is central to our
educational approach and the way
we teach and learn is defined by our
philosophy to educate the Whole
Child. We foster each child’s character
strengths, develop good habits in
children and improve wellbeing by
supporting the rising numbers of young
children with mental health issues. This
includes tackling childhood anxiety and
unhappiness, and supporting learning
behaviour strategies. We promote
whole-school unity by our focus
on strengthening the relationships
between staff, children, and parents
and we have a broader impact on local
and wider communities through our
emphasis on social action.
We often take an active role in
community events, whether to raise
funds for good causes or simply to
engage with people in the local village.
We also broaden our children’s life
experiences by organising visits in the
local area. Although we are not a church
school, we hold a number of events in
the parish church as a way of enhancing
our relationship with the community and
engaging with parents. For example,
each year we team up with the church in
making donations to a local food bank.
Children at the heart
The pupils are the most important
people in our school, while our staff
are the most important resource.
Working with my staff team, we have
developed a broad, coherent and
enriching curriculum that is inclusive
and personalised wherever possible.
This is particularly important in the
current circumstances of the Covid-19
pandemic, with pupils out of the
classroom for a large part of the
academic year. We have been innovative
and embraced new technologies to
ensure the success of our remote
There is no limit to
learning, we make sure
children are challenged
to fulfil their potential
Through daily Silent
Sitting Practice, children
learn to relate positively
to themselves, their
peers, their teachers,
their families and the
world around them
building is
central to our
learning. We have put in place a detailed
support programme for children with
specific barriers to learning, backed up
by high expectations and outstanding
teaching using metacognition strategies.
Thanks to this approach, those children
were able to make accelerated progress
incredibly quickly – testament to our
Quality First Teaching philosophy.
Parents are our school’s most important
partnership. During the pandemic, we
have made special efforts and specific
provisions to pass on knowledge and
skills to our parents to assist them during
lockdown. This has involved regular
input, online courses and resources for
the parents so that they can deliver high
standards at home, without confusing
their children or leading to significant
disruption. We are in constant pursuit
of excellence and despite the difficulties
of 2020, we have doubled-down on this
goal. Not only do we have the Growth
Mindset, but we also constantly move
forward by researching, developing and
adapting the latest teaching pedagogy
and resources to ensure we remain on
the right tracks, always improving what
we teach and how we teach it.
We are a forward-thinking school
and offer children the opportunity to
learn Mandarin as part of our broad
and enriching curriculum. Mandarin
is one of the most vital languages
internationally and the enthusiasm for
it has grown year on year. Teaching
children another language from the
age of four allows us to further develop
our own methods of teaching, using
a range of visual, stimulating, formal
and informal language learning styles
as age appropriate. We also explain
culture differences to our children,
contributing to a holistic education.
Learning Mandarin not only increases
our children’s cultural awareness but
also prepares them as global citizens.
In recent years we have been twinned
with a school in China which I visited
as part of our Exchange Programme
with my deputy head and English
subject leader. We welcomed teachers
from our sister school for a week-long
visit when teachers from both schools
collaborated, sharing good practice and
learning from each other. Additionally
we have developed a partnership
with Reading University to support
their training programme for Chinese
teachers of English by offering them
teaching experience at our school to
further their teaching skills. We are very
proud to be able to play a vital part
in training overseas teachers, which is
testament of our own best practice.
Ready for next steps
Despite the unprecedented nature
of Covid-19, we have taken every
measure possible to keep our pupils
on the right track, whether that means
embracing technology or abiding by
social distancing. Our parents have
played a valuable part during the
enforced lockdown and helped us to
manage this difficult time.
Training our staff in how to get the
most out of the technology at their
disposal has been crucial, and it fills
me with confidence that we are now
better equipped than ever to handle
the challenges that we may face in
the future. We have learned which
techniques work effectively and which
do not, and it is this constant pursuit
of knowledge and improvement that
will continue to stand us in goodstead.
Parents are
our school’s
Values underpin
everything we do. We
engage all stakeholders in
our school community to
explore together the role
of values in our school, at
homes, in the community
and the world


This article was sponsored by Waltham St Lawrence Primary School. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy