Worplesdon Primary School

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


Headteacher Kareen O’Brien
Developing a love for
learning and life
Worplesdon Primary School is a large community
primary school and is part of the Guildford Schools
Confederation. They are committed to supplementing
their curriculum with extracurricular activities, supported by their
collective budget. This has allowed them to offer their students
the experience of a developed woodland area, vegetable plots,
well-equipped classrooms and a variety of ICT equipment.
Headteacher Kareen O’Brien joined the school after working for
a multi-academy trust in Bookham and tells
The Parliamentary
about their efforts to widen their curriculum and the
barriers that academisation can put in place of collaboration.
In September 2017, I became the headteacher at Worplesdon Primary School,
having previously worked as head of Eastwick School in Bookham. I was taking
over from an experienced headteacher who had been in the post for over 20 years,
and I wanted to build upon my predecessor’s success.
In my first term, I focused on our collective vision of developing a love for learning.
We adopted a coaching style to facilitate the staffing team to identify the actions
we needed to take to achieve our vision. Together, the team agreed to focus on
developing teamwork and independence, inspiring curiosity, building resilience and
instilling empathy.
Staff and governors share this vision and want the best possible education for each
and every child at our school. Our teachers are modern in their thinking and aim to
be at the cutting edge of educational thinking to bring the very best practice to the
»Headteacher: Kareen O’Brien
»Founded in 1966
»Based in Worplesdon, Surrey
»Type: Community primary
»No. of pupils: 470 and rising
to 540 by 2020
»Ofsted: “Good”
Worplesdon Primary
Highlighting best practice
classroom. Our committed and highly
skilled support team is an integral and
invaluable part of our school. While
we are the experts in education, we
believe that parents are the experts in
the hopes, dreams and needs of their
own children. Every effort is made to
run an open and caring school, and we
are very fortunate that our parents play
a full part in their children’s education.
A large school with a
personalised approach
We are a large school that benefits
from a larger budget. This enables
children to access a wider variety of
resources, such as our developed
woodland area, vegetable plots,
pond, large sports field, well-equipped
playgrounds and classrooms, two
libraries, music room and rich array
of ICT equipment. Our staff have
a variety of specialisms, such as
sport, music, languages and the
arts. By planning collaboratively,
staff are able to share their areas
of expertise across the school. We
offer a wide range of extracurricular
music, sport and language activities,
supported by popular breakfast and
afterschool clubs. This also acts as an
affordable childcare facility, helping to
supplement the school budget, which
is becoming increasingly necessary.
While we value our size, we also
treasure every child and know
the importance of delivering a
Careful financial management focused
on increasing our income has enabled
us to maintain teaching assistants in
every classroom with a non-teaching
SEN co-ordinator and home–school
link worker. Our high staff–child ratio
in each class, combined with specialist
support, enables us to offer an
inclusive curriculum and programmes
to ensure the best possible progress for
all children. All teaching is planned to
meet the same national requirements,
but the pace of work and strategies
may be different, with each child
following a plan to meet their specific
needs. We believe that diversity is a
strength that should be celebrated
by all those who are associated with
A creative curriculum
underpinned by basic skills
To ensure our children are the most
effective learners they can be and are
well equipped for the future, we have
designed a vibrant curriculum that
stimulates children’s natural curiosity
and enthusiasm, making learning
relevant and purposeful through
a broad and balanced curriculum.
Our teachers skilfully blend discrete
teaching with a highly creative topic-
based approach that incorporates our
drive to inspire, enrich and challenge
each child. We place strong emphasis
on active learning through first-hand
experience, discovery and problem-
solving. An enriching programme
of creative activities and day and
residential visits immerse children in
their learning while complementing
each topic.
We have high aspirations for every
child and constantly strive to achieve
consistently high academic standards.
Inspiring engagement
and curiosity
While we are
the experts in
parents are
experts in the
hopes, dreams
and needs of
their children
Focused teaching in the basic skills of
English, maths and science ensures
that children acquire essential skills
for life, and we were proud to see an
increase in the proportion of children
achieving the expected standard in
reading, writing and maths from
64 per cent in 2017 to 73 per cent
Developing the whole child
With a creative and personalised
approach, we pride ourselves on
finding each child’s hidden talents. For
some children, these talents will be
discovered in our day-to-day teaching,
such as a love for reading, a creative
approach to writing, wonderful detail
in their drawings or being a natural
leader. For others, their brilliance will
shine in areas such as sport, languages
and the arts. Sport is an important
part of school life, and children have
opportunities to experience a wide
range of sporting activities in lessons,
extracurricular clubs and competitive
inter-house and inter-school events.
French is taught during the school day
from year 3 to year 6 by a specialist
teacher, and this is supplemented
by French afterschool clubs. The
arts have a central place in school
life, with specialist teaching, events,
highly popular clubs and memorable
productions. Many children sing in the
choir, learn an instrument or play in
the orchestra.
While celebrating and developing
children’s hidden talents, we also
emphasise the importance of
developing the whole child. Professional
development has been extensive and
has included a focus on developing
growth mindsets and supporting
children’s emotionalwellbeing.
The challenges of
We also aim to promote collaboration
with other schools – something
that I feel can be threatened
by academisation. There are
many successful academies, but
academisation can often hinder inter-
school co-operation. Prior to arriving
at Worplesdon Primary School, which
is part of a successful confederation,
I worked as part of a multi-academy
trust. My experience is that
confederations can often be splintered
by increased academisation. Schools
may be part of the same trust but are
geographically distant. This can dilute
the benefits of effective collaboration.
To achieve an “outstanding” Ofsted
judgement, it is essential that schools
work and learn from each other.
However, with a diverse mix academic,
budgetary and professional demands,
academisation can often divide rather
than unite.
We aspire for every child to be a
confident and independent individual
who will have a love of life and
learning and will be ready to move
into their next phase of education. If I
were to ask myself one thing I would
share with a Newly Qualified Teacher,
I would emphasise our intended
legacy: we want our children to leave
Worplesdon Primary School with happy
Our legacy is
that children
Primary School
with happy
We aim to instil empathy
in all of our students


This article was sponsored by Worplesdon 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 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