Friday, 6 July 2012

Southport Learning Partnership

Yesterday I was very pleased to attend a meeting of the Southport Learning Partnership which brings together most of the schools in the town. It is an excellent initiative that has achieved much in its short life. It was a delight to see presentations of the various projects that the partnership have promoted.  I was particularly pleased to learn more about the 'Hillside Helpers' in which Farnborough Rd Schools are involved  . Like all the other project teams it is a co-operative venture between various schools-High Schools, Infants and Juniors etc and together they have adopted Hillside Station. Anyone using the station cannot help but be impressed. I understand that they are now preparing to enter the station in the Britain in Bloom contest. I shall take some photos for the blog.

The three other projects are: 'You can Dig' with King's Meadow, Shoreside, Ainsdale St John's, Merefield,, Birkdale High and Presfield High, 'Traffic Stoppers'  with St John's Crossens, Marshside, Bishop David Sheppard and St Patrick's, 'The Green Machine' with Holy Trinity, Holy Family, Larkfield, Meols Cop, Norwood, an St Philip's whose strapline is 'The Green Machine is quick and snappy and makes our community clean and happy!'

I learnt that my colleague Richard Hands had been approached and met with the team at Hillside Helpers and they reported that he gave them good advice! The students-of all ages -on the school councils had also met with John Pugh MP at the Town Hall (he had also met with one of the other teams)and had clearly 'activley listened'  them. I should be recorded that most of the local politicians that the students had come across had been helpful-there was one exception, a pompous windbag who spoke over the children's heads, but we shall draw a veil over that.

I met the new Head from Birkdale Primary. Richard Hands is his Chair of Governors. I know many in the local community have been impressed with the progress Birkdale Primary has made. As the school's website says: 'Birkdale Primary was built in the 19th Century during the reign of Queen Victoria, the foundation stone gives the date of 1885. The school has a very important place in the history of education in this country, as it was one of the first 'School Board' schools to be opened' What I didn't know was that the first teachers' strike happened at Birkdale  Board School. I really must look into that in a bit more detail. Apparently the strike was over school discipline-the teachers felt the Headteacher was too harsh!

Readers of this blog will be aware of some of the history of the Birkdale Board School from previous postings. Most of these featured Kate Riley :

The first women to serve on any public body in Southport was a Birkdale Liberal, Kate Ryley, way back in 1889. In those days there was a separate local authority in Birkdale and it had its own education board to oversee Board Schools set up by the 1870 Education Act. Unless my memory is faulty the Birkdale Primary School in Bury Rd was a Board School. Miss Ryley was appointed to the Birkdale Education Board in 1889 and when it was abolished she was appointed to Lancashire County Council Education Committee until she resigned in 1925.

Kate Ryley was an active the Women's Liberal Federation and in the movement for women's sufferage in the town being a prominent member of the local Women's Sufferage Society. Her list of activities promoting both women and education is impressive. I particularly liked her initiative to help teachers get access to the books they needed by starting the 'Pedagogue Library'. Following her parents example she was closely involved with the work begun by Josephine Butler who did so much to reform the law as it impacted on prostitutes and worked with the delightfully named Moral and Social Hygiene Association.

She even stopped paying her local taxes as a protest against the failure to provide proper educational facilities for 'underprivileged' children' She would clearly be delighted with the Pupil Premium which has brought in several million pounds to Sefton targeted on the most disadvantaged pupils

It was a great event held at the Southport Ramada Hotel. I was genuinely impressed with all I saw and David Atkin's and his team can be justifiably proud of the work they have done

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