A trip down memory lane, of sorts, with a ‘last day’ visit to a primary school in East London.
It’s just round the corner from where I grew up, though it wasn’t there when I started school; my mum helped out there for years and ever since, my dad has been giving a little money every year for book prizes. With his passing last Autumn, the family decided they wanted to continue this tradition and so, on a very warm July morning, I’m sitting in a school hall whilst little children and their mums and dads and teachers file in. The head is a friendly, decent chap, with a delightful, quiet manner and a twinkle in his eye. The event is relaxed, low-key and, for everyone concerned, mercifully short. I say a few words, hand out some books, the leavers sing something sentimental, a retiring deputy head is thanked, and we’re done.
Looking around, it’s hard not be impressed. The school is in an anonymous back street, its entrance guarded by fencing and an entry phone. Inside, the staff are friendly, the school clearly well-cared-for, the atmosphere calm and orderly. I checked in advance: apparently they got a ‘Good’ in OFSTED last year – no doubt under the new regime someone will find an excuse for them to ‘require improvement’ next time. For me, it’s exactly the sort of school I want to support and celebrate. It serves its diverse community well, with staff dedicated to doing the job they trained for to the best of their ability. Long may they stay under the radar and continue to get on with it.