Lucy Rose Parton

23rd November 2012 at 00:00
The singer songwriter gets lyrical about an English teacher who helped her find a way with words

I only had my best teacher for one year at school and we did not have a close relationship. She was just a teacher I really liked. Mrs Andrews was Scottish, in her fifties and had a wicked laugh and I had her for my English GCSE.

I don't think she would remember me, in all honesty; I don't think I made a massive impact. Some people seem to have these relationships with their teachers where they have an equal love for each other, a special teacher-pupil relationship, but it wasn't like that.

I enjoyed English a lot, but I was not very good at it. I was good with numbers and good at chemistry, but when it came to words, for whatever reason, I really struggled. It was only when I left school I developed a love of books and now I'm the biggest bookworm ever.

I had a real problem with reading aloud. I would really stumble over my words and say the words wrongly. When I was reading aloud, there would be sniggering around the classroom. It was really bad and I felt like I was making a fool of myself. In my mind I could read a book but when it came to saying the words out loud, there was a gap. Now it's fine, but when I was 15 or 16 it was really difficult.

With all my other English teachers I was bottom of the class and Mrs Andrews was the first one that made me feel I was average at it. I felt like she was the only teacher that ever helped me make any progress. The other teachers were resigned and it was a case of, "Oh well, you're not so good at this." Mrs Andrews was the first teacher that gave me a chance and encouraged me.

Writing songs and English were totally unrelated in my mind - I just didn't think that process had anything to do with English. In my head it was music I was good at.

I was a bit cheeky and a bit too talkative at school. I got told off a lot, that's for sure, but I never felt I was doing anything wrong. I remember a teacher saying my parents were angels for not putting me up for adoption.

Mrs Andrews' class was the only one I was pretty silent in. I actually listened and tried to concentrate. I wanted her to like me because I liked her - I had a bit of a teacher crush on her.

I remember her teaching Romeo and Juliet and I loved it. We went through the whole play in detail. It was the first bit of literature I had read that I really understood. I handed in an essay on Romeo and Juliet and got my best grade ever. I got a bloody A - I was so proud.

People knew I wanted to play music, but I don't think anyone took me seriously - it was a bit of a joke. But I just felt like I had a chance - I don't know why - and I just kept wanting to take it. I just kept thinking, "I have to try."

After three-and-a-half years I was still working in a horrible high-street store, my sisters had got degrees from university and I had a place at UCL to study geography that I'd never taken up. I was playing open mic nights every night and my parents were going, "Do you think you're ever going to make a living at this?" I just knew, though, that it would be the best job in the world and it would make me so happy if I managed it.

Lucy Rose recently played Dollar Academy in Clackmannanshire after being invited to the school by S6 pupil Alex Knapman. Almost 500 pupils attended the concert, raising #163;1,000 for Cancer Research UK. Lucy Rose's debut album, Like I Used To, is out now. She was talking to Emma Seith.


Born: Frimley, 1989

Education: Warwick Preparatory School and King's High, both Warwick

Career: Singer songwriter.

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