Time columnist and local resident, Matthew Parris, visited us recently to find out more about our wonderful school.
"At their invitation I visited last week a state primary school I’ve walked past a thousand times on our street in Limehouse, east London. The Cyril Jackson school’s head teacher, Hodo Dirir, took me from class to class where the school’s 500-odd children, often disadvantaged, some with intensely demanding educational needs and from every ethnic background, worked, played and learnt. I was so impressed. The individualised attention these children get from enthusiastic and loving teachers and classroom assistants is amazing. Year 6 were getting ready for a farm visit and I showed one little boy photos of my llamas. I shall never forget his anxious but inquiring little face.
I draw three conclusions from the visit, doubtless obvious to educationalists but striking to me. First, small is good. Hodo seemed to know most of the children and their histories. Second, leadership is so important: without it, all the facilities in the world won’t make a good school. But third, even the skinflint old Tory in me could see how much resources matter. Rooms and spaces were light and warm and packed with amazing teaching materials. Everywhere there were books and displays about books: language at the centre of the teaching.
The skyscrapers of Canary Wharf tower over the school, and big business there has been generous. Hodo told me Barclays were sympathetic. Well now, Barclays, I banked with you for 40 years. The school minibus is on its last legs..."