Masefield Primary School: From attainment struggles, to top 3% in the country

Masefield Primary School, in the village of Little Lever in Bolton, is one of two schools that make up BASE Academy Trust.

The school supports 278 pupils, aged 3 to 11 years, and prides itself on developing the ‘whole child’ – helping them to progress both academically and socially.

Masefield introduced Thrive in 2021 after grappling with academic achievement, low-level disruptive behaviour, and an increasing number of children struggling socially and emotionally. Faced with long waiting lists for external services and a lack of knowledge around emotional wellbeing among staff, Head of School, Andy Done, decided to explore the benefits of Thrive.


Embedding Thrive – from curriculum to coffee mornings

With little understanding of Thrive and concerns it would generate additional work for teachers, introducing the Approach was met with some scepticism from staff. However, at Masefield, Thrive is anything but an add on. From re-written policies, to half-termly coffee mornings with families, Thrive is a thread that runs through the whole school, fully integrated into practice and the curriculum.

The school has two Thrive Licensed Practitioners and a Course Leader for Family Thrive, and all staff, including the leadership team, have been trained in Thrive theory and practice.

All pupils’ social and emotional development needs are reviewed half-termly using behaviour and skills surveys in Thrive-Online – Thrive’s assessment, action-planning and progress monitoring tool.

Following Thrive-Online assessments, ‘The Nest’ provides a dedicated space for Thrive support to be delivered one-to-one or in groups. Key Stages 1 and 2 have a Thrive enrichment programme and the school has introduced sessions for siblings that help to nurture positive relationships.

Quote from Andy Done, Head of School at Masefield Primary School



Well above average in all subjects

Now an oversubscribed school, Masefield has been transformed. Not only are pupils happy and confident, they’re developing their emotional intelligence and can understand and deal with how they feel. They also know that if things get too much, there’s a supportive adult on hand to help them.

This shift in culture has had a knock-on effect on attendance and learning outcomes too. Masefield is in the top 3% in the country for reading, writing and maths, and in January 2024, the school received a letter of congratulations from the Minister for Schools, Damian Hinds, for its outstanding results.


Arthur’s story 

One pupil that Thrive has had a profound impact on is Arthur. Following a Thrive-Online assessment and work with a Thrive Licensed Practitioner, it was discovered that Arthur was struggling to manage his emotions. Regular outbursts and a lack of communication skills meant he didn’t have many friends and he often fought with his brother at home.

Arthur felt like an outsider. His attendance was poor, his attainment and progress were low, and his self-esteem was at rock bottom – he felt worthless and didn’t think he could achieve anything.

After identifying that Arthur was struggling, the team at Masefield could put a plan in place to support him. He had daily check-ins with a Thrive Licensed Practitioner and group sessions twice a week, one of which his brother attended too. These sessions proved life-changing for Arthur. Now a much happier boy who is able to engage with learning and his peers, Arthur’s attendance, attainment and progress have vastly improved thanks to Thrive support.

Quote from the parent of a child at Masefield Primary School


100% of parents would recommend

In a recent parent survey, 100% of parents said they would recommend Masefield to other families. They also feel more confident speaking to school staff if they are worried about their children.

One parent shared the ‘incredible difference’ Thrive has made to her son: “Thrive has become an extremely welcome and important part of Bobby’s week at school and is definitely one of his favourite things to do. We believe that it has helped him massively and couldn’t imagine it not being a part of Bobby’s school week. Long may it continue and hopefully help lots of other children too!”.


Thrive School of Excellence


To add to their list of successes, Masefield has been recognised as a Thrive School of Excellence. The award recognises extraordinary schools that are making a positive impact on their pupils, and on the wider community, by prioritising emotional wellbeing.

Head of School, Andy Done, is delighted with the award and said: “We feel extremely proud to be given this award. It has made a positive difference to pupils at Masefield and given them tools to support them not just now, but for the rest of their lives. We ensure all pupils receive an excellent education delivered by experts and Thrive supports us to ensure pupils have the foundations to learn. Our journey has been exciting as we are the first in the area to receive this award – it has allowed us to explore that opportunities are endless and there is no set route to enabling all children to regulate their emotional state and being self-secure!”

Pupils and staff at Masefield Primary School with their Thrive School of Excellence award


Sign up to a FREE Thrive in Practice webinar with Masefield Primary School

If you’ve been inspired by Masefield’s story and would like to hear about their Thrive journey first-hand, you’re in the right place.

On Wednesday, 24th April, Andy Done, Head of School at Masefield, will be joining us for a free Thrive in Practice webinar. Andy will share his experience of introducing and embedding Thrive, explore the impact it has had, and be ready to answer your questions.

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Take a tour of Thrive-Online

Ready to ensure no pupil gets left behind at your setting, and transform your school like Masefield Primary? Take a tour of Thrive-Online, our award-winning assessment tool. Use it to evaluate all of your pupils’ social and emotional skills, create targeted action plans to support mental health, and track progress over time. We have some exciting new features landing soon, so sign up now to be one of the first to benefit. Or, if you're ready for a conversation, book a zero-obligation Discovery Call.

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