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School's Out! [Paperback]

Jack Sheffield
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
RRP: £5.99
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Book Description

26 Sep 2013

As the new school year begins, Jack Sheffield prepares for an even more eventful year than usual. A new teacher is appointed, and before long tongues start to wag.

Meanwhile, five-year old Madona Fazackerly makes her mark in an unexpected way, life changes dramatically for Ruby the caretaker and, in the village Coffee Shop, Dorothy Humpleby plans a dirty weekend.

It’s 1983 - the era of the new CD player, Microsoft Word, the McDonalds McNugget, cabbage patch dolls, the threat of a miners’ strike and a final farewell to the halfpenny piece.

Jack has to manage a year of triumph and tragedy…

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi (26 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552167037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552167031
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,722 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jack Sheffield was born in 1945 and grew up in the tough environment of Gipton Estate, in North East Leeds. After a job as a 'pitch boy', repairing roofs, he became a Corona Pop Man before going to St John's College, York, and training to be a teacher. In the late 70s and 80s, he was a headteacher of two schools in North Yorkshire before becoming Senior Lecturer in primary education at Bretton Hall near Wakefield. It was at this time he began to record his many amusing stories of village life. He lives in York and Hampshire.

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Product Description


"School and village life is painted with compassion and an exquisite sense of detail, deftly balancing humour and tragedy." (Choice magazine)

"A wonderful, nostalgic trip to the era of Cabbage Patch dolls and the introduction of CD players." (Good Book Guide)

Book Description

Jack Sheffield delights with the ups and downs of village life in another year at Ragley-on-the-Forest school

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I've read all Jack Sheffield's books and enjoyed them all immensely so I was really looking forward to this but in the end I was a bit underwhelmed.

I was disappointed to see the Jack/Laura thing rear its head again - I thought that ship really had sailed about 3 books ago so to see it coming back felt a bit odd - it's almost as it he's wanting to inject a bit of will they/won't they soap-style drama into proceedings which is unnecessary.

Apart from that however the rest of the book was much as expected - the school year and its ups and downs is always nicely done - the `tragedy' referred to in the blurb is really quite striking and well dealt with. I always like Jack's sad and sombre passages - I feel in some ways his writing is at its best with a touch of melancholy.

My only other minor niggle would be that where in previous books the references to songs etc were very much part of the background, here they seem to be being pushed - there are passages where these references seem to be leading the story, rather than just accompanying it. If this were a film or TV series, then it would smack of product placement.

Overall though, still a good read and I still enjoyed it and still look forward to the next book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful! 5 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another great chapter in the saga of Ragley school and what a cliff hanger! Jack you have done it again , wrote a wonderful and fascinating insight into the loves and lives of a small Yorkshire village and school. Isn't it about time that Yorkshire TV started to think about a series, the eighties music would be a great background especially as the eighties fashions are having a revival. Jack please keep writing and I am looking forward to the next chapter with bated breath!
Will Laura get her wicked way?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 26 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved reading this book, poor Ruby my heart broke for her. Plus children can be so funny,they are saying something very serious, but the words they say have you in fits off laughter.

Another part of the book, had an unpopular character run for his life, I would have loved to have seen that!!

I'm already waiting for the next instalment, to find out about Laura, I don' t like her one bit.
This book is a must read, I highly recommend it.
Thank you Jack Sheffield for writing another fantastic book.
Janet Davies
Falmouth, Cornwall
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful nostalgia and humour 21 Jan 2013
By Parents in Touch TOP 500 REVIEWER
Once again, we are transported to the world of Yorkshire and a small village school in the 1980s. We are reunited with the familiar cast of characters, and there are some new faces to get to know as well' including in Jack's very own family. As ever, the nostalgia factor is high - I love being reminded about such things as the introduction of Sucron and the opening of the Jorvik Viking Centre - and My Little Pony is the number one choice for little girls' Christmas presents. The historical background is unerringly accurate (I know 'Jack' spends many hours doing meticulous research, and it shows!) and brings back many mermories. There is lots of joy, especially in the wonderful things the children say and do, but an element of sadness too, as the years take their toll. The feeling of a close-knit community is perfectly conveyed, the observation is spot-on and the book is another excellent and very amusing read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As Good As Ever 3 Oct 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
No. 7 in Jack Sheffield’s „Teacher”-series remains true to the style, form and atmosphere of its predecessors: Once again, the book starts with Jack making the first entry of a new school year in the school’s log book; once again, the reader accompanies Ragley-on-the-Forest and its inhabitants through an entire year, and once again, what happens during that year is a mixture of the dramatic and the funny, of ups and downs in the lives of Jack, his colleagues at the school, the children and everybody else in the village.

Although this well-known outer frame provides stability to the reader (making the book very recognizably part of a series) just like a time table and special events at set intervals provide stability for the children at the school, it is not boring. No two days, let alone weeks, months or years, are ever the same. It is all very much like real life, and from what I know about the author, he uses a lot of his own experience as a (head)teacher in village schools, often describing events that have actually taken place, only making slight changes so as not to offend any of the people involved.

Descriptions of the beautiful countryside, changing along with the seasons, are as beautiful as in the other six books. The characters are as familiar as they should be, but of course there are some new introductions, last but not least a new teacher who makes for some interesting developments that leave plenty of room for book 8 and beyond.

In his first book, Jack Sheffield started as Head Teacher in the year 1977. By now, we have reached 1983/84, and there have been considerable changes in the lives of many characters, while some others have remained pretty much as they were.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Below Average 3 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the seventh book in the series which Jack Sheffield started with Teacher Teacher, then it was 1977, it is now 1983 and to be honest I felt that perhaps with this book we are going over old ground. The structure is of course in line with the school year as you would expect and that is fine. However I felt that the majority of the book was full of anecdotes piled into each chapter and the references to what was going on in the world; the Miners Strike, Boy George, halfpenny pieces and the price of stamps, were in a lot of cases contrived and rather forced.

Jack is settled with his wife, Beth and they have a new baby to now factor into their lives. Beth though is not settled, despite wanting to spend time with her new son, she knows that she wants to go back to work eventually and that perhaps she needs some fresh challenges. Jack seems too settled at Ragley-on-the-Forest Village School as headmaster and is not willing to change or move. Jack is becoming a weak character for me and I was finding it a bit of a bore.

Regular characters are obviously featured in the book, Vera the school secretary, her brother Joseph the vicar, Sally still trying to fight the flab and get her husband to become interested in something other than woodwork. Of course there is the delightful Ruby who for me in this book far outshone any of the others. Life changes for her in an instant and we see how she copes. This is handled beautifully and really gives a sense of community to the place of Ragley.

Of course there are changes which is what is moving these books forward, and the reason I have concluded that I keep returning to these books to read is that I remember so much of the nostalgia of the time. This series of books is of my time, therefore it feels like I am reading about growing up. However, I am not sure how much longer these books are sustainable for?

This wishy-washy review reflects that I found the book a bit wishy-washy.
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