March 14 1986

ALTHOUGH its days are numbered, a Wanstead school is far from doomed, says the headmaster.
Micheal Wootton, head of Nightingale High School, spoke with pride of the school’s achievements at the certificate presentation evening on Wednesday.
He promised:”I want everyone conected with the school to understand that we shall continue our full programme of education until the last lesson on the last day.”
Nightingale and Fairlop High Schools will close next year , victims of falling school rolls in Redbridge.
Mr Wootton said that in spite of all the difficulties schools had experienced this year , more than half Nightingale’s fifth year pupils gained five or more O-Levels or their equivalent. There were 700 subject passes at O-Level.
He gave encouragement to those who were not successful , asking them not to confuse cleverness with common sense or wisdom.
Mr Wootton’s recipe for a happy school life has stability as the first ingredient.
Second , he asked administrators to remember that education was a “human” service and should take account of human feelings at times of change.
And third, said Mr Wootton , education had to be organised by consent.
“Nothing can be more disastrous for a school than to have parents or pupils or teachers believe that the system is somehow failing them.”

“But if you thinkeducation is expensive,” he reminded parents , “think of the cost of ignorance.”
Mr Wootton quoted Somerset Maugham and HG Wells as having died making quips.
Wells told his Doctor: “ Do go away - I’m quite alright.”
And Maugham said :”Dying is a very dull and dreary affair.My advice is to have nothing to do with it.”
Such advice could well be applied to the school said the Headmaster.
Even Stalins words “One death is a tradgedy , but if you have many deaths; they dissapear into the statistics” , could be food for thought he said.
Mr Wootton concluded: “In a little more than a year Nightingale will close.

“The school is only young and it wanted to thrive. But I’m not prepared to mour, either now or later.”
Echoing the last words of Lord Palmerston , Mr Wooton said: “Die? Thats the last thing we intend to do.”

Guests of honour at the presentation evening were Redbride Mayor and Mayoress Councillor and Mrs Roland Smith and Redbridge education Director Keith Ratcliffe. Chairman of the school governors Councillor Bert Hamilton , also spoke to the pupils , former pupils and parents.

N .H .S

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