It is all too easy for us in the media to report only bad news, especially after the horrific events of two days ago. Some think it is my duty to comment on the attack in Woolwich, but as I have alluded to in previous letters, our reporters are in a much better position to get to the bottom of the story.
So when I heard of some good news, it was important for me to share it with you. Completely coincidentally, just around the corner from Wednesday’s attack, is Woolwich Polytechnic, a school which last year achieved its best-ever GCSE results. From a year 7 intake of extraordinary diversity and social problems, 99 per cent of pupils achieved 5 or more grades A* to C.
But why bring this up now? The school has just been nominated for the Secondary School of the Year category in the Times Educational Supplement’s Schools Awards. It is a tremendous achievement, especially given that it was classed as struggling not long ago.
You may remember the school from previous coverage of it taking 600 copies of i for pupils. Of course, we would like to take some credit for its success, but I feel it is much more down to the sense of purpose from staff and pupils. I was not present when the previous incumbent of this slot visited, but from the way he discussed his day, you could not fault the enthusiasm and dedication of everyone.
People often write in calling for us to recognise achievements of teachers, NHS staff, doctors and others, despite politicians endlessly reorganising their working days. So this is for those staff – and the best of luck to all nominated schools, especially Woolwich Poly. A coincidence that pupils read i as part of their day? You be the judge.