Jolly Super's just saving schools

19th November 2004 at 00:00
While thoroughly enjoying and occasionally appearing in Diary, I must protest very strongly about the suggestion that I have the "Midas touch" in reverse and that my presence closes down schools (TES, November 5). I am writing a novel about a heroic young headmistress who tries to save her school from being closed.

In the course of my research, I spent time with Virginia Freyer of The Angel school, Islington and Katherine Eckersley, head of Village high school in Derby. Two inspirational heads who battled heroically to stop their schools being closed. Mrs Eckersley's achievement in persuading the education authority to give her a building to see her Year 11s through their GCSE year was beautifully chronicled by Wendy Wallace (TES, February 1, 2002).

As another part of my research, I have visted a marvellous all-girls comprehensive, Barnwood Park in Gloucester, where I have been privileged to take a lesson and open a building. As the 11th most improved school in the country last year, I and scores of others were flabbergasted when it was threatened with closure. As a result we are fighting for its survival and nearly 4,000 signatures have been handed in to Downing Street in protest.

I would hate this to be interpreted as my bringing bad luck to a wonderful school.

Jilly Cooper

The Chantry

Bisley, Gloucester

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