Stories + Views
Given fair funding allocation unbelievable things can happen.
Some twenty ago I became Chair of Governors of a small Primary located in one of the most deprived inner city areas in the UK – opponents of state education would consider the school to be the typical ‘failing school’; budget deficit out of control (LA operated a ‘No redundancy Policy), SATS scores in the first year were for English and Maths were 12 and 11 respectively and due to the Major governments ‘Parental Choice’ legislation we had pupil drainage. To say that the future of our school was bleak would not be an overstatement, we were a heartbeat away from closure – in the intervening years the have tried twice to effect closure. That was then, now it is a different story.
My frst task was to replace the Head Teacher who took early retirement. I asked the then Deputy Head to do the job for a year, or until the future of the school was decided, he agreed although he was looking for another position – he still runs the school with us some twenty years later. I think the gods smiled on us when 1997 there was a change in government whose attitude to state education was vastly different to the previous administration – they gave us money.
Today that same school serving the same community is in terms of performance one of the most successful, last years SATS for we exceeded 90% for English and 80% for Maths; we operate a budget surplus and ‘House Full’ notices are hung on the school gates with parents are even going to tribunal to gain admission. Once when there was exclusions were the norm, now they are a rarity. Not only are we successful in the curriculum the school has a national reputation for the children,s art – in 2007 at an exhibition held at the Royal Academy our children provided two of the paintings exhibited.
The story goes on and on today there is every chance that we will take on the responsibility of running a new build school, a most exciting prospect. It would be wrong of me to say that money was the sole reason for our success, most of the teaching and support staff (they are highly respected by both management and teachers) governors who don’t take prisoners when it come to the welfare of the school and most have been with us since the dark days when the powers that be considered state education an unfortunate responsibility of government and of course a Head Teacher who is as good as it gets and so much more.
For myself every time I go into school. especially in the staff room,it is real a joy to experience the shared optimism for the future and knowing that we are at the heart of the community