He was a governor before the 1944 Education Act ... and he's still one now

2nd April 2010 at 01:00
Honour for 69 years' service at same school

The landscape of English education in 1941 would be unrecognisable to almost all teachers, governors and educationalists today.

Most secondaries were fee-charging, comprehensive schools were unheard of, and headteachers would have looked blank if you mentioned "national curriculum".

Indeed, the 1944 Education Reform Act was not even a twinkle in Rab Butler's eye.

But it was in that momentous year - as the bombs rained down on Liverpool's docks and the Japanese fleet prepared to attack Pearl Harbor - that Edward Burke became a governor at what is now All Saints Catholic Primary in Anfield.

Now, after 69 continuous years of service at the same school, he has been honoured with an award by the lord mayor of Liverpool. He is believed to be the country's longest-serving governor.

Mr Burke, 87, began serving as a school governor aged 18 while working as a fire watchman.

He fought in the war and was wounded in Italy, but has continuously served on the school's governing body.

Describing how education has changed since the 1940s, he said: "In those days, teachers did not change schools as often and did not have the same stresses that they have today.

"There is a lot of extra work they have to do. Then, it was just running the football team or the cricket team, but that was voluntary.

"Now, they have all this other stuff to do, and the same goes for school governors as well."

All Saints head Jeremy Barnes said: "He's a great friend of everyone at All Saints and an extremely loyal and interested governor."


- Clothes rationing introduced

- Orson Welles' film Citizen Kane premieres in New York

- Enigma machine captured by British Royal Navy from German submarine

- Germany invades Russia

- Disney film Dumbo is released

- Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.

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