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Springboard has been sabotaged

We in Barnsley read the piece about us (TES, Friday magazine, March 5) with considerable interest. We are one of the secondary schools referred to. We do indeed look forward with optimism to the developing circumstances in the town.

Yet there is an inherent irony in the talk of fine days ahead. Barnsley is rising again - using education as a springboard. Yet with such unfairness and imbalance between Barnsley and more favoured parts of Britain, what is easy for others is proving really hard for Barnsley.

Edward Sheerien school, named after a former mayor and freeman of Barnsley, is currently attempting to achieve performing arts college status. We have magnificent things happening here in music and the performing arts: next week we are leading a joint community musical with no fewer than 550 performers from 12 local schools, in a work specially written for us. Yet to bid for performing arts college status, with all the benefits this would bring our pupils, we have the impossible task of finding pledges of pound;50,000 in an area of massive social deprivation. We have approached more than 100 local and national companies with little success.

Someone must explain to us how Barnsley is expected to spring ahead with such an unlevel playing field. Maybe there is a philanthropist out there to help us?

Sue Hamby Headteacher Edward Sheerien school Barnsley

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