Letters extra: Education Action Zones

9th February 2001 at 00:00
Big business and education

In recent weeks you have printed a number of articles and letters about the education action zones. I am convinced of the key role of business in raising standards of education - especially at local level where I believe that the action zone is an excellent investment.

In Wythenshawe, where I am chair of a zone action forum, companies such as British Airways, Shell and ICL are pleased to offer their help and advice, and fully support the programme. Unless big business does more to co-operate with the education sector in this way, instead of remaining on the outskirts, it will lose its right to complain about the people who might one day work to build its prosperity.

Geoff Muirhead
Chair of Wythenshawe EAZChief Executive of Manchester Airport Plc

EAZ-y does it

It is with a degree of bewilderment that I write to you having read your front-page article ("Action zones frozen out", TES , January 5).

I am a Year 5 class teacher and education action zone co-ordinator in a wonderful, caring and successful primary school. Our school is in the heart of inner-city Manchester and is a hard-working member of the East Manchester EAZ. Thanks to the zone, our already established cluster of after-school clubs has grown to include sewing, parent-and-pupil IT, keep-fit, art and folk-dancing. Of course, if you measure everything in percentages and exam results you won't be able to see the smiles on children's faces as they gain wonderful new life experiences.

Every two weeks the Zone co-ordinators gather and ask ourselves how we can improve the education and opportunities of our children. I'll give you two examples of how this has come to tangible fruition.

One of my pupils has been struggling with maths since September. She has been receiving one-to-one and small-group teaching from a very good core skills development assistant. She has recently shown a marked improvement in results culminating in her best maths score yet, but much more importantly has visibly grown in confidence. She now tackles any maths problem with determination.

Last summer, after a Shakespeare 4 Kidz workshop, my Year 5 class put on a marvellous production of MacBeth. We studied the play right across the national curriculum in EVERY single subject. The children were completely engrossed by the play. I would love the author of the "Action Zones Frozen Out" article to come and see, hear and experience our fabulous children quoting the Bard and debating whether Lady MacBeth was the real villain of the piece, and now my current Year 5 class getting to grips with Romeo and Juliet. If you are looking for instant results (and should we be ?) come and see the improvement in our school.

Those of us who are not obsessed by percentages and exam results, those of us who see the day-to-day merits of enriching our children's lives will ignore the ill-informed and crass comments of this article and will continue to work together to provide the best for the future generation.

A Herniman
St Brigid's R C Primary School
Grey Mare Lane

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