I worked there as school librarian from 1992-1995, when it was identified as a failing school. Our issues were lack of good facilities and resources, our socio economic base and the fact that 40% of our final year students had not been in the country at the beginning of the school year. Our success in improving these students did not count against our GCSE results which were poor. It is interesting to be part of the staff at a publicly identified failure in the rankings.
If fact we did a great result at raising our students abilities but we started from a low base, and in an area where education was not valued by large numbers of parents.
I lived in Islington and saw students every day, I also had the pleasure of seeing many of them studying still at City and Islington College where I worked before returning to Australia.
Those kids were tough, damaged and survivors and I learned to navigate this with humour and common sense and as always managed a popular library. I will never be confronted again as I was working here. They were still great kids who needed the support that money can buy and that I discovered when I returned to teaching in Melbourne.
I had taught in schools without resources and where education was not valued and in moving to Melbourne I wanted to work in schools that could provide resources and an effective learning culture… and so I did
Those kids at George Orwell then would have done very nicely with some of those resources and support