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My boys go to a state primary school round the corner from our house in North West London. It’s a big hulking Victorian manse, like something out of a period gothic or a Roald Dahl adaptation. When we moved to Kensal Rise almost a decade ago even the estate agents described it as a no go zone. ‘Around here it’s pay or pray’ is how one of them put it to me. But this turned out to be nonsense.
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As a rule I try to avoid the topic of schooling in London because, as a mother, surrounded by breeder friends and colleagues, I am beyond sick to death of it. People in these parts tend to be as collectively anxious about education as they are about property values. Both subjects are tedious and both induce a palpable wave of social stress at any dinner party (yet another reason to avoid dinner parties). But when it comes to my boys’ school and so many other London state schools like it (I’ve written about the success of the so-called ‘academy revolution’ on here before), the hype is real. It’s the staff, obviously, who are nothing short of awesome.
Exhibit A (and B,C,D, ad infinitum): Miss Simpson and her uke on Britain’s Got Talent.
She’s Solly’s year six maths teacher. (He also had her in year three.) She doesn’t even teach music! I fear she’s unlikely be Frank’s teacher, however, given her overnight stardom and rumoured 847 bazillion follows on TikTok. A couple of days before this was broadcast the Godfather Simon Cowell himself came to the school and Solly’s year joined her in a taped performance, which I will make sure to post here when the time comes.
But it’s not just Miss Simpson. Almost all teachers I’ve encountered at the school from nursery right through are truly exceptional. In seven years at the school, my boys have been taught by former barristers and academics, young artists, athletes, scientists, all of them patient and nurturing to a fault. They tend to be young like Miss Simpson and get paid next to nothing in exchange for their tireless labour and lengthy rail commutes in from the suburbs. They’re on strike today, so I I’m posting Miss Simpson and her anthem as my little show of parent support. If you can watch it the whole way through without crying, you’re made of tougher stuff than I am.