Head's widow to advise ailing school
BY JOE JENKINS
, FRANCES LAWRENCE, the campaigning widow of headmaster Philip Lawrence, has been called in to advise his school after it failed an Ofsted inspection in May. The London school faces closure within two years if standards do not improve.
She told The Catholic Herald this week: "It was awful when the school failed its inspection.
"There is now such a contrast from when Philip was there."
It is hoped that Mrs Lawrence will suggest ways in which St George's, in Maida Vale, can recapture some of the spirit injected into the school by her husband before he was fatally stabbed defending his pupils during a gang attack in December 1995.
While an Ofsted report in May praised Mr Lawrence's successor Margaret Ryan for her efforts to "identify the weaknesses and move the school forward", inspectors concluded that the school was failing to give pupils at the ' Catholic secondary school an 1 adequate education.
! When Mr Lawrence was I killed he was hailed as a model headmaster who had begun the difficult process of transforming a failing school plagued by bullying and truancy.
Now Westminster Council, the Archdiocese of Westmin ster and the school 's governors are working to ensure that further improvements to St George's bring the school up to the standard required by Ofsted. The alternative is closure.
Mrs Lawrence is expected to work in an unofficial consultative capacity with Mrs Ryan, her teaching staff, the school's governors and parents.
In an interview with The Catholic Herald las year. Mrs Lawrence indicated the sort of education she believes would encourage schoolchildren — in particular teenage boys — to behave in a more considerate aid less antisocial way.
"I sometimes think I'd like to walk into one of those arcades where those boys spend so much time, pull them out of there and for. e than to read Yeats," she said.
Mrs Lawrence, herself a teacher. has woilced with home Secretary Jack Straw an proposals to introluce citizenship classes into the national curriculum.