Four Pillars of Excellence

Four Pillars of Excellence

At Shiplake Primary School we aim to provide the best possible educational and life experience to each and every pupil. Our values of Truthfulness, Compassion, Wisdom, Peace, Equality and Friendship are woven throughout our school life and thinking.

Leading by Example – We want to live up to the standards set by our 4 Pillars of Excellence. Learning – whether it be academia, sport or the arts we always deliver a high calibre rounded, educational experience to all our children. In the classroom we’re actively seeking and promoting Innovation to keep our children’s love of learning alive and our methods current. In the Community my team and I provide leadership to our wider community and actively encourage respect and a strong community spirit in school. Our fourth and final pillar is Faith, pastoral care, practical faith, living our values, we take time out for reflection resulting in a meaningful and inclusive spirituality for all our pupils.



  • In the TOP 2 % of ALL primary schools in the country for Year 1 phonics.
  • Top 10% nationally for reading and writing – Key Stage 2 2018 results
  • Consistently working above Oxfordshire and National results (3-year profile) across the whole school – Foundation stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 results
  • The monitoring of standards that takes place in school shows consistently good learning behaviours across all year groups and an eagerness to learn
  • The whole school is above the national average in it’s writing abilities which puts it in the top 20 % of all schools last year.
  • Bringing education to life through a range of trips linked to curriculum areas and Year 4 and Year 6 residential trips


  • Specialist sports teacher
  • Daily physical energiser
  • Weekly running club where a 1/4 of the school starts the day with a cross country run and a number of children go on to compete in cross country competitions.
  • Part of the Henley Schools partnership programme for Sports competitions
  • Weekly swimming lessons in Year 3 and Year 4
  • Inter-house sports competitions each term
  • Whole school sports day at Shiplake College
  • Extra-curricular clubs such as netball, strength and conditioning, dance and fitness
  • Years 3 and 4 children are County tennis finalists


  • Extra Curricular activities include I-Rock – children have the opportunity to learn an instrument,  be in their own rock band and get to perform in front of parents and the whole school 
  • Drum lessons, woodwind, brass and piano lessons are all available for children who want to learn an instrument.
  • We have a school choir that performs not only in our school church services, but also at PTFA events such as the Christmas Fair and seasonally at a local care home.
  • Year 5 children get to perform at the Wembley in front of thousands as part of Young Voices Concert. It’s an invaluable opportunity to be part of  largest school choir in the world and is a much talked about in the playground.  

Other Extra-curricular Activities

  • Spanish, Cookery, Lego and Arts and Crafts are some of the clubs we put on to reinforce the school ethos, ensuring all our pupils needs and interests are actively catered for. In Speech and Drama children have the opportunity to work towards their LAMDA certificates.
  • The School Library is organised by the children to promote a love of reading. It’s well stocked and packed with modern authors. Last year £1,500 was spent updating our collection.  We try and buy sets of the same books so children can read together and discuss together as a class, which they seem to enjoy and benefit from.
  • Times Tables Rockstars is enormously popular and improves children’s numeracy particularly multiplication and division.
  • We encourage our children to give talks to their class on a huge range of subjects from hobbies to heroes.


  • The school actively seeks innovative ways of moving the school forward and is continually looking at new ways to keep children’s love of learning alive.
  • We encourage teachers to take risks in the way they deliver the curriculum.
  • This year they’ve come up with their own projects for their year groups, either to enhance the curriculum or improve the way children learn across the board. There are 7 this year
  • We’re asking if classroom seating impacts upon learning, if assessment grids improve children’s writing and finding out if child initiated activities can be used to improve writing amongst other things.
  • Teachers feel they have a stake in future developments and are trusted to seize the initiative in their classrooms. Once all the projects are complete, we’ll assess the successes and roll out new strategies across the school.
  • Library : Its run by and for the children. In our school Year 6 are in charge. It’s a hub of learning and inspiration and one of ‘the places’ to go in school to hear about new books and authors. This year every child in the school will get to meet an author on a visit to Henley Literary Festival.
  • Pupil Power is at the forefront of our school. We’ve an active School Parliament and Eco Council, Anti Bullying Ambassadors and Sports Ambassadors. All hold invaluable roles in the school and makes sure children’s voices are listened to and encouraged. Our School Parliament and Eco Councillors meet with our Governing Body at least once a year to update them on the initiatives they have been working on and to ensure their vision is realised.
  • Weekly visit from Pets as Therapy dog.


  • The Headteacher has achieved Local Leader of Education status working with other schools to support their development.
  • Katherine Page-Howie has represented Oxfordshire Primary Schools on the Schools Strategic Partnership Board – a board which works together to develop all aspects of education across all years –
  • The school is part of a network of state schools in Henley called the Henley Schools Partnership. The Headteachers share practice, support one another and commission training to improve teaching as well as services such as school counsellors and Educational Psychologists.
  • The school merged with Shiplake Village Nursery in April 2018. The Governors and Headteacher now lead the Nursery to give parents high quality education from 2 years until 11. Children at the nursery visit school every week and our Assistant Headteacher visits Nursery once a week as part of their timetable.
  • There is an active PTFA.
  • We’ve an engaged, skilled Governing Body who work behind the scenes to ensure the school runs as effectively, efficiently and smoothly as possible.
  • Mental health is key in our school – children support each other through the buddy scheme.  As soon as children arrive they have a year 6 Buddy who steers and supports them through their first year in school. We have designated areas in the school where children can be calm and quiet.  A daily mindfulness session is enjoyed by the children to help them feel calm and focused following their lunchtime break, so they are ready to learn.
  • The school holds an All Together Gold School Award– having been awarded a Gold award for the work on anti-bullying and developing the well being of pupils,  through the anti-bullying alliance.


  • We really believe in looking after our children and in giving them the best pastoral care. We live our Christian valuesfriendship, equality, compassion, truthfulness, peace and wisdom and take children’s mental and spiritual health really seriously.
  • In 2016 our SIAMS Inspection (Statutory Inspection for Anglican and Methodist Schools) graded us  ‘Outstanding’. The report stated that: ‘’the distinctive Christian character impacts on every aspect of school life, creating a family like learning situation where all work together. Relationships, behaviour and attitudes are excellent. Children are confident and articulate. Their contributions and discussion show how they engage with issues because of their deeper thinking processes and reflective skills”. You can read the full report here: SIAMS Inspection – December 2016
  • And, OFSTED in the same year said: The School’s ethos and values of  ‘mutual respect, good behaviour and high academic standards within a Christian and moral culture’ are borne out in all aspects of your work.  Consequently, pupils are highly motivated, keen to learn and achieve well”. OFSTED Inspection – December 2016
  • We are a  Church of England Voluntary Aided school so have a close relationship with Oxford Diocese and our local church St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church. Children walk to attend regular church services . We hold daily Collective Worship which parents and Governors are always welcome to come along to.
  • We have frequent visits from Reverend Robert in school as he supports RE in classes and leads our Collective Worship once a week, and he’s also attending an ‘Understanding Christianity’ course so he can support our RE curriculum as it moves from examining the ‘ Big Questions to Understanding Christianity ‘.  He’s also one of our School Governors.
  • We encourage deeper thinking and the development of enquiring minds.  We positively encourage beliefs from other faiths to be included, for example the study of light includes Diwali and Hanukah, and is backed up by visits to Neasden Temple and Maidenhead synagogue, for example.
  • The children understand that Christian values ‘are not just for Christians but can be shared by other faiths.
  • All Collective Worship is now based entirely on each school value – one every half term and the children are encouraged to remember the appropriate Bible verse. Every child has written a prayer linked to value, and they read these at the end of collective worship.
  • Friday’s celebration assembly ends with a reflection time. Children are encouraged to offer ideas for reflection which they read to the rest of the school. We’ve also designated areas around the school that children can go to so that they may reflect and be peaceful.  These areas give the children a place to pray and consider the Christian values of our school.
  • Children take a lead role in planning and leading collective worship through each term.  We also link the focus of collective worship to British Values when appropriate.
  • Pupils at the school fundraise for local and international charities.
  • The school is a small primary school which means we all work together as a team to ensure all children’s needs are catered for. All adult’s working in school are first aid trained and a selection of staff are qualified in TEAM TEACH which is a behaviour management certificate.
  • We’re privileged to have a highly committed staff – where everyone is always prepared to do that bit extra if that’s what’s required. The children are very much at the centre of all we do here.
  • Click here to view St Peter’s and St Paul’s website.
  • Click here to view the Diocese of Oxford Religious Education webpage