Barbara last week praised the hard work done by teachers and pupils across Salford in achieving increasingly impressive GCSE results during a question session with Treasury Ministers in the House of Commons, and singled out St George's for special praise.
“The number of pupils achieving good results in Salford has increased from 30% ten years ago to 50% now. Among those schools is St George's, which achieved a 10% increase last between 2005 and 2006. Will my Right Honourable Friend underline his and the Treasury's commitment to continuing to provide that level of resources, so that our pupils and teachers can continue to make such improvements?”
Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, echoed Barbara’s praise and pledged to maintain the level of funding that has helped to make this improvement possible:
“I very much welcome the success in my Honourable Friend's constituency and, indeed, across the country. Of course, that is a consequence of the fact that, whereas our education spending was among the lowest in the developed world 10 years ago, today it is among the highest. That is very good news for the future of our economy, and yes, I can confirm that we will maintain that priority in the years ahead."
(updated 31 January 2007)
16 January 2007:
Commenting on the announcement that GCSE results including English and Maths put the school in the top five for Salford, Barbara expressed her dismay at the proposed closure and promised to fight to keep St George’s open.
“I fully support the council’s desire to improve educational standards in Salford, but I do not believe that closing St George’s will help achieve that. The school is part of a family of schools serving Walkden, Little Hulton, Boothstown and Worsley, and thanks to the continued hard work of the staff and pupils it has rapidly progressed to one of the best schools in Salford.
“St George’s achieved a magnificent improvement of 10% in GSCE passes last year, has excellent attendance levels and a proven track record of high quality provision for pupils with special educational needs. It has a strong values system and good discipline. The award of specialist status for technology is testament to the quality of the school.
“It is a popular choice for parents who want their children to have a good education and naturally their reaction to the proposed closure of St George’s has been uniformly negative.
“I want local parents to feel that their children are receiving the best possible education. I want local parents to have the choice among local schools of faith and non faith schools, and of different specialisms.
“As one year 10 pupil at the school wrote in a letter to me, ‘St George’s is not just a school it is a community within itself, and it’s closure will kill that sense of community.’ I fully agree with that sentiment and it is my job as local MP to promote the views of local people.
“I firmly believe that closing St George’s is the wrong decision and I will stand with my constituents on this and campaign to keep it open.”