Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Harton and Jarrow Schools Partnership

Harton has always been an excellent school. Once the Boys Grammar School in South Shields former pupils include Malcolm Barbour, of Barbour clothing, Hollywood Director, Ridley Scott and my own father!

http://www.boyshighschool.co.uk/people/boys/index.htm

I was at Harton from 1990-1995 and I remember very clearly the dedication of the teachers, which was manifested in a variety of after school clubs and societies - drama, public speaking and various musical instruments were the activities I remember best, having been involved in them. When I left Harton to do my 'A' Levels, I remember my new music teacher being astonished my teacher at Harton had given up lunchtimes, without any sort of charge, to give me piano lessons and my form tutor gave up time after school to teach me German as an additional GCSE. Many of these truly dedicated teacher I know are still at the school and certainly have contributed to making it the success it is today.

Ken Gibson was my maths teacher and also my mentor for the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Even as a teenager I remember his drive and flair for teaching, so when I read the Gazette on Friday:

http://www.shieldsgazette.com/news/High-hopes-for-schools-merger.5923847.jp

I thought if anyone can run two schools he can. What is also very important to remember is Ken has an excellent team around him. The SLT (the executive made up of Senior Leading Teachers) is made up of extremely talented and experienced teachers (many of whom have been at the school for 15+ years - I know because they were my teachers!) A good school is run by a strong head teacher who has respect and authority to make decisions with a team of equally strong staff supporting.

As Harton is now truly excelling - it's one of the best schools in the country - I would fully support the move for Harton to partner with Jarrow, a school which was deemed "indequate" and on "notice to improve" from OFSTED inspectors. Good governance, aspirational teaching and hard work from staff at Harton, I am sure will provide the support Jarrow needs to recover academically and to give the Borough another good school - we need to remember not all of the schools are as good as Harton and all of our children deserve the best education possible.

I wish Ken and Harton Technology College the very best for 2010.

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