Express & Star

New book aims to show how pupils can take the lead in turning schools around

On his first day at new school, Lee Taylor left the building at lunchtime and cried – and he was one of the teachers.

Scene of a pupil-led transformation – the Sutherland Co-operative Academy (now demolished).

When he went to take his music class, the room was deserted. That was until he discovered four boys sitting in an instrument storage space smoking and playing cards.

Lee, a Black Country lad who now enjoys life living in Telford, went on to discover some girls and informed them he had a music lesson to give them. "What do we need music for? I aye gunna be a nopra singa, am I?" one replied.

It was a tough start to his teaching career but also the start of a bumpy learning curve. By June, wild horses would not have dragged him away from that school in a deprived area of north Walsall.

Within a year it had a choir with nearly 100 members, and before long they did what previously had been unthinkable and put on a show, Grease, which was a rip-roaring success. Eventually some pupils were performing music from The Messiah.

Lee was to teach in schools for 35 years and now he is sharing his knowledge and experience in a book called Learners Leading Learning.

Its theme is that given the chance, young learners can take a lead in their own education.