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4.0 out of 5 stars A warts and all picture of school life
I have now read this book twice, before and after my PGCE. I think that it does give a relatively grim but realistic picture of inner city teaching. It is tiring, stressful and at times you are more social worker than teacher, however, the reason many people keep teaching and the reason for hope at the end of the book is the progress and changes the children make...
Published on 30 Jun 2012 by Temeraire

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A social commentary instead of the life of a primary school
I felt a bit let down after reading this book. Maybe my expectations were too high. It's a documentary piece of writing with a lot of extra-curricular information about immigrant life and how tough it is to run a school in a catchment area near King's Cross in London.
It's well written, but as an aspiring teacher who has been working in two inner city...
Published on 30 Jan 2006 by Tjf Craven


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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A social commentary instead of the life of a primary school, 30 Jan 2006
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Tjf Craven "tomcraven99" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Oranges and Lemons: Life in an Inner City Primary School (Paperback)
I felt a bit let down after reading this book. Maybe my expectations were too high. It's a documentary piece of writing with a lot of extra-curricular information about immigrant life and how tough it is to run a school in a catchment area near King's Cross in London.
It's well written, but as an aspiring teacher who has been working in two inner city schools for over a year, the content seemed to focus too much on illnesses, parental problems, staff absences and funding issues, amongst other things. And all written in a 'the end is nigh' tone. I suppose that's the thing that got to me most - the overriding negative or downbeat tone the book is written in. Very little or none of the fun and joy of school life came through to me. Almost every paragraph (it seems) has at least one phrase describing children vomiting on buses, broken equipment, the violent neighbourhood, junk food, oversized shoes, parental strife, sick staff, and so on. It all happens in schools, but so does some good stuff!
Also, the book is mostly focussed on tales of the Nursery and Foundation years, so not so much for KS2 fans.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A warts and all picture of school life, 30 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Oranges and Lemons: Life in an Inner City Primary School (Paperback)
I have now read this book twice, before and after my PGCE. I think that it does give a relatively grim but realistic picture of inner city teaching. It is tiring, stressful and at times you are more social worker than teacher, however, the reason many people keep teaching and the reason for hope at the end of the book is the progress and changes the children make.

I have looked up the school and many of the staff are still there and the school is still outstanding so clearly their hard work is continuing to pay off.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Oranges and Lemons: The Truth, 24 Jan 2011
A Kid's Review
This review is from: Oranges and Lemons: Life in an Inner City Primary School (Paperback)
Oranges and Lemons are fruit, but a fruit that is so different from one another. She uses this analogy to explain the difference between the indigenous population and the ethnic population of Somers Town, an area of King's Cross in Camden London.

The book is written in documentary type language and leaves no room for doubt about the complexities of teaching in KS1 and highlights the role of the teacher extends far beyond the classroom and envelopes most aspects of social work.

At times the book could be depressing and demoralising and questions the recent Australasian influences within the British system. Surely in a predominantly ethnic school population attention should be focused on preparing the children for British society and integration? And is socio cultural planning and programming only worthwhile for ethnic children in pre dominantly white British schools. I could draw parallels with my own early years beginning and felt I was reading something that I already lived. I was taken aback with the realisation that my own early years was was probably 60/40 ethnic/white and that made a large difference. Towards the end of the book I was questioning the developmental and social concerns I felt for the children and families.

The book was very honest and it covered all areas of life at the school and left no stone unturned. It touched on housing, isolation, language deficits, social depravation, prostitution, drug addiction, alcoholism, religious obstacles, communication barriers, and the list is endless and exhaustive. It was written in tone that suggests the future is grim but, I suspect it is written to stop aspiring teachers with rose tinted glasses. The book has been criticised for being "down beat" and negative, but I believe the author did a good job in delivering reality. It is well written and the humour as well as the desperation comes across as a documentary not mockumentary, it is a serious academic piece of work, but it could translate into entertainment via the big screen.
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Oranges and Lemons: Life in an Inner City Primary School
Oranges and Lemons: Life in an Inner City Primary School by Wendy Wallace (Paperback - 9 Sep 2005)
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