The Department has decided…

I have to wonder what exactly it takes to make a government department think twice about a decision it has taken. You’d think that an inspiring story like this one in today’s Education Guardian would be just the thing to make Department for Children, Schools and Families  wonder whether it was doing the right thing by closing the school at the centre of the story, St Edward’s Roman Catholic primary school in Manchester,  down. 

Ofsted reports have to be formal and impersonal. But sometimes the official mask slips, as it did when the inspectors wrote their letter to pupils at St Edward’s Roman Catholic primary school in Manchester after a visit in 2005. “We think your music lessons are super,” they said.

Those lessons were conducted by Liz Warde, who trained to be both a nurse and a teacher, has an Open University degree in maths and music, plays the violin in an orchestra, was led back to the piano by a plastic surgeon, and tries to improve her own playing skills with a bit of after-midnight practice on her electronic baby grand. Under the direction of the headteacher, Paddy Heneghan, she has used music to fulfil the school’s aim of boosting confidence and raising aspirations among its 240 pupils……. 

Not a bit of it.  

As in all good musicals, there ought to be a happy ending. But St Edward’s closes in 2009 and will merge with a nearby school on a new site.


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