Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Dear Debs, I'm sending you a letter

Let me explain. In August, my dear friend, Debs tore herself away from her newly-made academy of a school, South Leeds Academy, South Leeds Community High School as was, Merlyn Rees High and Matthew Murray High as were

- it was only four or five years ago that you, Debs, were battling to induct an endless succession of new Science teachers into the newly merged riot of a school, and you succeeded. Against all the odds, you, as Head of Science, and all of the rest of you who saw it through, you at the newly-merged school, you finally convinced Ofsted that you could win,

- and from largely white Belle Isle, you all also fell in love with the enrichment of culture that the large Asian population from Matthew Murray School brought into the mix.

Well, “the last thing” that the Ofsted inspectors told your school as it fought its way back to sanity and a stable work-force, “The last thing you need now is to be made into an academy” But it was the first thing that Education Leeds, our uncaring private education firm [and wrongly-named on both counts], and Education Secretary, Ed Balls, had on their minds.

So, jumping forward in time, it is hardly surprising that the love of a lovely West Indian man weighed against the contempt in which our education leaders held the above-average working teacher was, as they now say, a no-brainer. And somewhere on a West Indian island the children now will get the benefits of Debs’ learning, hard work and experience.

But Debs, you were/are also a key member of my Foxwood Steel Bandits, and, unusually for us, would practise between gigs, whereas, on the whole, most Foxwood players regard every other gig as a practice.

So, that’s it. Debs is 3,000 miles away, somewhere hot, and we’ve just played Leeds West Indian Carnival, and it was still quite hot, even in the UK. And accidentally I included Debs in the email circulation list telling all the players what time to be on stage and all that. When she replied hoping that it had gone well, I in turn replied, how insensitive of me [bonkers] to leave her on the list. And you, Debs said no, keep me on it. Let me stay in touch, gig by gig. And that’s when I decided to write my letter to Carriacou.

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