Windwhistle Primary School

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Windwhistle 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 Windwhistle 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

Lyn Hunt, head teacher
Children on the year 6
residential trip
Windwhistle School is a unique place. The whole
school community has one aim – to support children
and families to improve pupils’ life chances both
academically and pastorally. Windwhistle’s ethos means that
staff are passionate about their work and proud of their school,
which contributes strongly to the school’s success. Everyone
in the school, whatever their role, has their part to play. Head
teacher Lyn Hunt discusses the school’s pastoral support, quality
teaching, the staff team and challenges and solutions.
I have been head teacher at Windwhistle Primary School for 13 years, and I love
every minute of it. We always say that every day is different. Although there are
challenging times at Windwhistle, these are more than offset by the times when
great things happen.
I strongly believe in a holistic approach to education, and the changes I have
made over the years have kept this in mind. Working closely with the supportive
governing body has enabled me to allocate funding to our wider pastoral support
team to ensure that children are ready to learn. I have created a wider senior
leadership team with greater capacity, introducing a shared leadership approach
that has led to a high level of professional collaboration.
Pastoral support
When I took up my role as head, staff were being diverted from their key roles
to deal with behaviour issues but were not able to commit the time to these to
fully resolve them, and so there were frequent recurrences. The way the whole
»Head teacher: Lyn Hunt
»Founded in 1958
»Based in Weston-super-Mare,
north Somerset
»Type of school: Primary
»No. of pupils: 400
»Pupil premium: 56 per cent
»Deprivation index: Lowest 0.5
per cent nationally
Windwhistle Primary
Highlighting best practice
school is now organised and run
has been intentionally designed to
provide holistic support for children
and families, giving children the most
conducive environment in which to
learn. We run a heavily subsidised
breakfast club and after school
club. In addition to having a healthy
meal, children can play in a safe,
We share our site with a community
nursery for babies and young children.
The school nursery class shares a
building with them, which facilitates
essential dialogue between the
professionals and parents. From an
early age, we can identify children
and families who may be at risk and
provide timely and effective support.
Our highly skilled staff build up trust
with children and families, providing a
family-centred approach to our support
involving outside agencies when
appropriate. Their work helps us to
ensure that children’s basic needs are
met. Along with this, we develop their
resilience, independence and a growth
mindset through nurturing them and
valuing them while at the same time
providing clear, firm boundaries to
keep them safe.
Quality first teaching
We are passionate about providing
quality first teaching (QFT) and, thanks
to the wider pastoral support that we
provide, children are ready to learn. To
develop and maintain QFT, the senior
leaders work collaboratively with staff
through monitoring and evaluation to
further improve their practice.
We have high expectations and
constantly strive to give our pupils the
best. Termly pupil progress meetings
allow us to identify pupils at risk of
not meeting their targets and identify
prompt action to address this.
The culmination of all this work means
that children leave Windwhistle as
confident, independent young people
who have made fantastic progress.
Year 6 outcomes in 2017
»Mathematics progress was
in the top 15 per cent for the
last two years for all pupils and
disadvantaged pupils nationally and
was the best in North Somerset
» Reading progress was above
» Writing progress was significantly
above average and in the highest
six per cent in the country and the
best in North Somerset
Some of our children have not had many experiences of the wider
world and we aim to provide these opportunities for them. We don’t
ask for contributions from parents for children’s day trips, which the
governors agreed to support from the budget:
»Annual residential trip to the Isle of Wight, which offers children
the opportunity to experience a family-style holiday. It is an
experience that children never forget
»Day trips, e.g. “Wild Place”, Westonbirt Arboretum, Blitz Café, Life
Skills Centre
»Year 6 take part in the annual Christmas performance at the
Colston Hall in Bristol
»Visits to Sidcot Independent School (one of our multi-academy trust
(MAT) partners) to see performances
»All classes visit a local farm for a range of activities
»Visitors in classes, e.g. our reading patron, Andy Seed; a Roman
soldier; a giant electronic dinosaur; and Weston Museum.
Children building trust
and developing team
work skills in the woods
at the farm
We have high
and constantly
give our pupils
the best
The staff team
Staff are amazing at supporting
children and families and not just in
their official work role. For example,
when families or children need a
new bed or some clothes for a new
baby, staff will often donate these to
The staff team work tirelessly,
overcoming many challenges and I
am unwavering in my determination
to value them as individuals and
safeguard their wellbeing. I created a
wellbeing team comprising a range of
staff who identify small but powerful
initiatives to improve staff wellbeing.
Last academic year, it became
apparent that teachers’ workloads
were becoming a serious issue.
Icarried out research on teachers’
workloads and what was effective.
Iset up a working party of teachers,
who reviewed this research and
applied it to our practice. Their
proposals were presented to the senior
leadership team and now are integral
to our school policies.
Challenges and solutions
When I came to the school, there
was a serious issue with behaviour
disrupting learning. Now, there is a
highly effective, clear policy that all
staff follow, which the children also
understand and respect. This also
includes a merit system leading to a
gold award, culminating in a much-
coveted trip out with me as thehead
We have embedded the “Thrive”
approach throughout the school,
which helps us to understand and
develop a child’s emotional resilience
and social skills – a lifelong benefit.
We also run a Thrive programme for
parents so that they can mirror the
strategies at home.
We know that when many children
enter Windwhistle Nursery, their
skills are much lower than expected,
especially in communication and
language. Our skilled staff team,
however, works hard to develop these
key skills. These skill sets continue to
develop during their school life with
our focus on oracy.
The future
Since October 2017, we have become
part of a group of six primary schools
that set up our own multi-academy
trust “Extend Learning Academies
Network”. We share good practice,
carry out joint observations, run
joint training and provide wider
opportunities for our pupils.
We know that challenges will always
be present, but we are skilled at
solving these creatively and will
continue to do so. This year, our
challenge has been to accelerate
progress in reading across the school
and this is already well under way.
Our aim is to be “outstanding” at
our next Ofsted inspection as an
affirmation of the work of all staff,
pupils and governors and the support
of their families.
We know that
challenges will
always be
present, but
we are skilled
at solving
creatively and
will continue
to do so
A hall of year 3 children
and their parents working
on a joint activity

This article was sponsored by Windwhistle 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